PhD Position in Conversational Artificial Intelligence for Business

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Economics and Business

PhD Candidate in Conversational Artificial Intelligence for Business

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Economics and Business
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  15 June 2022
Vacancy number:  8905

The Amsterdam Business School (ABS) is looking for a PhD candidate in an interdisciplinary project, at the cross-section of computer science and business.

Conversational search has emerged as an effective means of providing users access to large collections of data, by facilitating a user-system dialogue. As such it is increasingly replacing conventional search and recommendation paradigms. Commercial conversational agents, such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana perform reasonably well on simple “factoid queries” but fail to address complex information needs of the users. Integrating knowledge from different business domains, including marketing and leadership, will substantially improve conversational search approaches to understand user needs and effectively communicate result to change behavior. This research project therefore combines our extensive expertise in multimedia information retrieval and interactive multimodal learning (user in the loop learning - active learning and user relevance feedback) with relevant business theories to develop better conversational systems.

For this project we are looking for PhD candidates on the topic of neural information retrieval techniques for multimodal conversational search. The project will involve analysis of heterogeneous data ranging from text, images and videos to GIS data and open data statistics at different aggregation levels. The student will be supervised by Stevan Rudinac (multimedia analytics), Joris Demmers (marketing), Evangelos Kanoulas (information retrieval) and Deanne den Hartog (leadership).

The PhD candidate will be employed by the Business Analytics Section of the University of Amsterdam Business School.

What are you going to do

  • Develop novel multimodal conversational search approaches, informed by the relevant business theories, that will significantly advance the fields of multimedia and information retrieval as well as marketing and leadership;
  • actively collaborate with the researchers from Amsterdam Business School and Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam;
  • present research findings at prestigious management science and computer science conferences and journals;
  • pursue and complete a PhD thesis within the appointed duration of four years;
  • assist in teaching activities, such as laptop labs and MSc thesis supervision.

What do we require

  • Master’s degree in computer science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, data science or a closely related area;
  • background in multimedia, computer vision, information retrieval, machine learning and information visualization;
  • keen interest in testing business theories with large-scale real-world data;
  • excellent programming skills in one or more of the following languages: Python, C, C++;
  • experience with deep learning libraries, such as PyTorch or TensorFlow;
  • excellent communication skills in English, both oral and written;
  • good teamwork skills.

Our offer

The employment contract will be for an initial period of 18 months, with an intermediate evaluation after 18 months with a possibility to extend it for 30 months (in total 4 years). End-result should be a PhD thesis. An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) conferences.

The gross monthly salary will range from €2443 in the first year to €3122 in the last year, plus an additional 16% of holiday and end-of-year payments. The Collective Labor Agreement (CAO) for Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer

  • A function in which your own initiative and input is strongly valued;
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;
  • an inspiring academic and international work environment at the Amsterdam Business School, one of the top 1% business schools in the world with a Triple Crown accreditation, located in the center of Amsterdam.

About us

About the faculty/service unite/department/institute

About UvA Economics and Business

Education and research at UvA Economics and Business (EB) covers a wide range of fields that includes economics, data science, business administration, business analytics, accountancy, control, econometrics, finance and entrepreneurship. This is organised in 2 Schools: the Amsterdam Business School (ABS) and the Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE). Over 7,000 students are enrolled in our UvA Economics and Business programmes and around 500 employees provide education and support.

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The Business Analytics section is home to a group of 30 people, including faculty members, teaching staff, PhD students and affiliated faculty. We aim to be a hub of entrepreneurial spirit and thought leadership from where we further develop our research. Members of the Business Analytics section conduct research and teach in a broad range of areas of business analytics and operations management. The section has the following main areas of expertise: business analytics, artificial intelligence, optimisation & operations research, information systems and industrial statistics, which also work together on overlapping projects.

The mission of the Informatics Institute (IvI) is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research and to train talent by high-quality academic education in diverse areas of informatics. Our research involves complex information systems focusing on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems in four research themes: Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science, Data Science, and Systems and Networking.

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.


The project team consists of dr. Stevan Rudinac (ABS), dr. Joris Demmers (ABS), Prof.dr. Evangelos Kanoulas (IvI) and Prof.dr. Deanne den Hartog (ABS).

For further information, please contact:

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 15 June 2022. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in one pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation including a description of the candidate’s primary research interests and ambitions.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a job interview and may be asked to present their (thesis) research work. Shortlisted candidates may be asked to provide 2 reference letters.

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.

If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.