A salaried PhD studentship funded by the Horizon 2020 EU grant scheme is available for a project on the use of Artificial Intelligence and e-Health to optimize lifestyle behaviours. The project aims to develop and evaluate Artificial Intelligence-based personalized interventions for coronary heart disease prevention. This PhD project will involve the development and evaluation of conversational agents (aka ‘chatbots’) that aim to support cardiac patients with changing lifestyle behaviours. These technological solutions will be integrated in a collaborative e-Health platform for the continuous and in-time predictions of cardiac risks and complications. The candidate should have strong computational skills, affinity with natural language processing and/or natural language generation techniques, and a keen fascination for both health and artificial intelligence. The candidate is further expected to have an interdisciplinary perspective, as s/he will be working with scientists and clinicians from a range of disciplines and is expected to have excellent organizational and communication skills.

Project and job description

Coronary artery diseases (CAD) is a leading cause of disease burden worldwide. The disease develops gradually of the course of a life time, which prominently involves multiple modifiable risk factors (life style) For patients who already developed CAD, self-management is generally considered the most important strategy to keep the disease manageable and prevent further progression However, the large heterogeneity among CAD patients requires a fine-grained assessment of CAD risk profiles as well as a personalized support with lifestyle change. The aim of this European Horizon 2020-funded project is the development and implementation of a healthcare platform, involving an artificial intelligence-powered decision support and conversational tools, that allow for personalized risk evaluation, outcome prediction, and tailored behaviour change interventions. These tools will be developed and tested in collaboration with multiple European academic centers and companies; encompassing the fields of cardiovascular medicine, behaviour change, medical psychology, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics. The PhD position has an intended starting date of 1 February 2021.

The activities and skills that the PhD candidate will utilize and develop include:

  • develop and test mobile sensing techniques, specifically computational methods for context-aware of mobile applications;
  • develop and test conversational agents using dialogue modelling for psychosocial assessment and lifestyle interventions;
  • consideration of ethical considerations of these technological solutions;
  • writing papers jointly with team members;
  • communicating the results of the studies to academic and general audiences;
  • complete a PhD thesis.


Candidates for this position should have a (research) master’s degree in computer science, computational linguistics, psychology, communication science, or equivalent.

In addition, you:

  • can demonstrate experience with research on communication technologies and health;
  • have training or experience in natural language processing techniques;
  • have strong foundation in statistical and computational skills and programming (e.g., R, Python);
  • have excellent organizational and social skills;
  • have a keen interest in multidisciplinary research and collaboration;
  • have compelling ability to communicate your research with peers the broader research community and stakeholders;
  • have excellent English writing and presentation skills. Speaking (or willingness to learn) Dutch is preferable.

Our offer

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term between 45-48 months. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. Teaching opportunities and requirements, such as supervision of bachelor theses and teaching groups – will be discussed.

Your salary will be €2,395 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,061 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8,3%.

What else can we offer you?

An intellectually stimulating and inspiring academic environment with a variety of duties and ample opportunity for autonomy and development. The social and behavioural sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

Further information

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website.

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Does this profile sound like you and is the vacancy what you have been waiting for? If so, we are eager to receive both your CV and motivation letter. Note: applications that do not contain both will not be considered. You may apply online by clicking on the link below.

The deadline for applications is 30 November 2020.

No agencies please

Apply now

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