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PhD Position – Algorithmic Fairness and Accuracy in Adaptive Populations – UvA, Netherlands

The Netherlands, University of Amsterdam (UvA)

The University of Amsterdam invites applications for a Ph.D position in Algorithmic Fairness and Accuracy in Adaptive Populations to work at the Socially Intelligent Artificial Systems (SIAS) group of the Informatics Institute, in collaboration with ING, The Netherlands. Opportunities for Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Computational Physics or expertise in Mathematical Modelling.

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General Info

Position: PhD Position
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: , , , , , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: 18 Months
Salary: 2,434 EURO/Month

Informatics Institute
Faculty of Science
University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Amsterdam, ,

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Qualification Details

  • A Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Computational Physics or a related field;
  • Strong interest in computational/mathematical modelling;
  • Background in machine learning and data science or interest in the fields;
  • Experience or ability to quickly gain knowledge in multiagent systems, (evolutionary or algorithmic) game theory, and/or complex networks analysis;
  • Good programming skills (e.g., Python, C/C++, Java, Mathematica);
  • Good knowledge in statistics, basic probability theory and linear algebra;
  • Strong communication, presentation and writing skills and an excellent command of English;
  • Socially engaged, highly motivated to understand social dynamics, creative.

Responsibilities/Job Description

The successful candidate will be integrated in a highly stimulating research environment, both multi-disciplinary and international. The student will interact with partners in academia and industry and will have the opportunity to contribute to concrete algorithmic changes and interventions that, when applied in the banking sector, aim at offering sustainable improvements in algorithmic fairness.

What are you going to do

This PhD position results from a collaboration of UvA and ING. This project will be conducted at the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam (Socially Intelligent Artificial Systems group, SIAS) under the supervision of Fernando P. Santos. The selected candidate is expected to:

  • Develop models combining adaptive agents, game theory and machine learning to formalize individuals’ adaptation to algorithmic decisions;
  • Investigate how adaptation impacts long-term performance and fairness of machine learning applications;
  • Collaborate with researchers within SIAS;
  • Present results at conferences and workshops, and publish them in proceedings and journals;
  • Assist in relevant teaching activities;
  • Participate in bi-annual meetings to report the project progress; interact with researchers at ING.
  • Complete and defend a PhD thesis within 4 years.

How to Apply?

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Documents Required

Then we look forward to receiving your application by 3 December 2021. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications,
  • a list of all Master-level courses you have taken, with an official transcript of grades
  • a link to a writing sample available online, such as a Master’s thesis, a term paper, or a publication (in case of joint authorship, please clearly indicate your own contribution);
  • the names, affiliations, and email addresses of two or (at most) three people who can act as references for you.

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

We will invite potential candidates for interviews on 13 December 2021.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

About the Research

Numerous decisions impacting society are, nowadays, taken by algorithms. How does that affect a population of adaptive agents? How to fine-tune algorithms to potentiate desirable social dynamics and promote equal opportunity in society? How to prevent discrimination both in the short- and the long-run?

Within the context of AI-ethics, we are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to work at the Socially Intelligent Artificial Systems (SIAS) group of the Informatics Institute, in collaboration with ING, to help us tackle these questions. We are looking for a profile combining a strong computational background with curiosity, passion for scientific research and eagerness to comprehend social dynamics in hybrid systems where AI and humans co-exist.

We are interested in both advancing fundamental research and developing concrete applications for the banking sector. As examples, Artificial Intelligence has been applied to automatically detect fraud, support credit decisions and compute insurance risk metrics. In such contexts, anticipating potential harms and benefits of AI applications, while guaranteeing that their outcomes are accurate, fair and do not discriminate based on protected characteristics raises important scientific and implementation challenges. Machine learning algorithms can affect the behavior of agents within networked complex systems in ways often hard to foresee. The specific goal of this project is to develop new computational models to assess the consequences of AI in contexts where individuals may have heterogeneous preferences and strategically adapt over time.

This PhD position results from a collaboration with ING. You can find more general information about ING Group at To know more about research at ING please contact Flavia Barsotti, Research Coordinator, ING, or Kerem Tomak, Chief Analytics Officer, ING,

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000 as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

About the Informatics Institute

The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterized by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society. Here you can read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

About the Employer:


A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The gross monthly salary based on full-time employment (38 hours per week) ranges from €2,434 to a maximum of €3,111 (salary scale P). This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. The starting salary will be based on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The profile doctoral candidate is applicable in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

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Contact details

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:   Dr. Fernando P. Santos, assistant professor, email

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