PhD Position in Statistics and Machine Learning

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Economics and Business

PhD in Statistics and Machine Learning

Publication date 16 February 2021

Closing date 1 May 2021

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 21-105

The Operations Management department at the Amsterdam Business School (University of Amsterdam) invites applications for a PhD position in Statistics with a computer science orientation. We are looking for candidates with the ambition to work and succeed at the highest international academic level.

What are you going to do?

The research area is Predictive Process Modeling (PPM), which focuses on forecasting potential problems during process execution before they occur. Applications have been developed in a wide range of domains, such as manufacturing, healthcare, networking, and business processes. Increasingly comprehensive data collection provides more process visibility. Advances in machine learning make use of this increase in detail and frequency of data. Data-driven techniques in this area can be used to improve process quality control by forecasting and monitoring potential process problems. Prediction methods include regression techniques, support vector machines, decision trees, random forest, elastic nets, neural networks, and gradient boosting.

Predictive monitoring starts with defining an (unwanted) process outcome. Subsequently, a model is specified for the process. The parameters of the model are then estimated using the available data. When monitoring commences, the estimated parameters are used to generate process predictions. The probability of the defined process outcome is then calculated. If the probability exceeds a predetermined threshold, the procedure signals. The parameters can then be re-estimated and the monitoring continues. Note that machine learning techniques require less formal modeling, but more data and computing power to perform predictions. Furthermore, as with Statistical Process Monitoring, the threshold to signal will determine the expected false alarm rate. The performance of a PPM procedure can be evaluated using the precision and recall metrics.

The PhD student will work in close collaboration with the supervisory team and other faculty on tasks that include:

  • understanding statistical modeling and applying machine learning techniques;
  • identifying novel research questions based on real-world phenomena or extant theory;
  • presenting research findings at international conferences;
  • writing up findings for publication in international journals;
  • basic programming skills;
  • attending classes and seminars (including those offered at other universities) to further develop thinking and research skills;
  • participating in and contributing to departmental research functions (PhD Day, research seminars, research meetings);
  • teaching-related activities (to a limited degree), including undergraduate tutorials and the supervision of MSc and/or BSc thesis projects.

What do we require?

Formal requirements:

  • Masters’ degree (preferably a Research Master´s or MPhil degree) in Econometrics, Mathematics or a related field;
  • GMAT or GRE score of no more than five years old (for students with a Master degree obtained from a non-Dutch university). An indication of the minimum score required is 85%;
  • proof of English proficiency through a TOEFL test (score of at least 100 on the internet based test and 600 on the paper based test) or IELTS test (minimum score of 7.5), where the scores were obtained no more than two years before the application.

Task-related requirements:

  • excellent speaking and writing ability in fluent English, ideally with experience writing for a scientific audience;
  • willingness and motivation to independently formulate research projects and carry them through to completion;
  • excellent organizational skills;
  • experience conducting empirical research;
  • statistical skills and command of standard software packages for analysing data (e.g., R, Python), and a strong willingness to develop these skills further.

Additional requirements:

  • strong motivation to pursue an international career as a leading scholar;
  • strong commitment to methodological rigor and scientific integrity;
  • energy and passion for statistics and machine learning;
  • intellectual curiosity, eagerness to learn, and openness to criticism;
  • proof of 'good citizenship' beyond academic achievements (i.e., volunteering experience).

Our offer

The employment contract will be for an initial period of 12 months, with an intermediate evaluation after 18 months with a possibility to extend it for 36 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. Preferred starting date is 1 July 2021.

The gross monthly salary will range from €2,395 in the first year to €3,061 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Would you like to know more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Take a look here.

What else do we offer

The department of Operations Management of the Amsterdam Business School focuses on research in a wide range of topical areas and methods in analytics for a better world.

The members of the department have published their research in the top-tier academic Marketing journals, such as the Journal of Quality Technology, Technometrics, Operations Research, Management Science, Journal of Machine Learning Research.

Members of the department are also involved in teaching in undergraduate, master, and research master level programs, as well as in executive education, and uphold strong relationships to industry, business, and healthcare.

About Economics and Business and the Amsterdam Business School

Education and Research at UvA Economics and Business (EB) provides academic courses for more than 7,000 students in Economics, Business, Actuarial Science, Econometrics, and a variety of courses in the Executive Master’s programs. The Faculty also conducts research programs in many specialist areas and employs about 400 people. The EB has an internationally acclaimed profile and is located in the heart of Amsterdam. EB consists of the Amsterdam Business School (ABS) and the Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

The Amsterdam Business School provides an inspiring and truly international research environment. This manifests itself in the ties its members have with major schools around the globe, and its international seminar program.

Business school researchers have access to excellent facilities, including an experimental behavioral lab, and a behavioral lab (including sound-insulated cubicles, group labs, video labs, virtual reality, and facilities for eye tracking, EEG/ERP). High-performance computing is available to researchers via SURFSara (a Dutch consortium for scientific computing). The Amsterdam Business School focuses on high quality research while it fosters diversity in terms of research topics and methods.

A Financial Times ranking places Amsterdam Business School (ABS) at number 7 among European business schools in terms of research output focusing on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Amsterdam Business School is also the only Dutch institution to be listed in the top-10.

Further information

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Rob Goedhart

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise 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.

Candidates interested in a PhD position in the ABS Operations Management group are invited to send their applications to the link below mentioning the vacancy number 21-105 in the subject line. The application should include:

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a description of the candidate’s primary research interests and ambitions;
  • a CV;
  • a grade list for the most recently completed degree;
  • a sample of completed research work (i.e., thesis proposal);
  • 2 letters of reference (preferable by thesis advisor);
  • and recent test scores (GMAT/GRE, TOEFL/IELTS) if applicable.

The closing date is 1 May 2021.

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