Are you passionate about using game theory to improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy?


Within the European Training Networks project EvoGamesPlus (Evolutionary Game Theory and Population Dynamics: From Theory to Applications, grant agreement number 955708), carried out between a consortium of 14 EU beneficiaries and 15 partner organisations from all over the world, we are looking for a suitable candidate for a PhD position. This PhD candidate, hosted at the Dynamic Game Theory (DGT) team within the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering at the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Maastricht University, will develop a basic framework of Stackelberg evolutionary games for cancer treatment, based on the initial work of the DGT team and collaborators.

This involves the analysis of equilibria in these games (evolutionary stable strategies among cancer cells as followers in this game and Stackelberg equilibria between the physician as the leader and cancer cells as followers), but also their transient dynamics and other dynamical properties. Moreover, specific instances of these games will be designed to analyse treatment in specific cancers, with real data as an input. The candidate will undergo extensive training within the EvoGamesPlus network and will carry out 3-month secondments at 4 partner organisations (Cancer Research UK Manchester, Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, US, Université Paris-Dauphine in France, and Virginia Commonwealth University, US). Like the other 14 Early Stage Researchers trained within EvoGamesPlus, you will be offered extensive training both in domain specific areas (led by experts from the project in the fields of game theory, dynamical systems theory and related fields) and also in transferable and complementary skills. For more information about the EvoGamesPlus project, visit www.evogamesplus.eu.


Specific requirements:

We are looking for a persevering and driven person with:
• a Master degree in applied mathematics or operations research

• Knowledge of game theory, dynamical systems theory, optimal control theory and/or data science

• Proficiency in Python or Matlab and ability to learn working with symbolic computational tools, such as Mathematica or Maple

• English proficiency (both oral and written) 

• Ability to work in a multidisciplinary and diverse team

Generic requirements

The candidates must fulfil the eligibility and mobility requirements of the Marie Curie ITN programme. The post holder must be in the first 4 years of their research career and not have been living in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the last 3 years

Please find here more information about the requirements for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows in Innovative Training Networks (ITN).

Tasks and responsibilities:

The PhD candidate will work on

• Expanding the basic version of the Stackelberg evolutionary game for cancer treatment into the situation with vector-valued traits

  • Analyzing transient dynamics of the developed game-theoretical models and their stability properties
  • Expanding the models into spatially explicit agent-based models
  • Validate the models using real data

The candidate will have the opportunity to follow extensive training and to carry out secondments within the EvoGamesPlus project. The aim is to present their results at top conferences and publish them in high-ranked journals. This all will be done in collaboration with the supervisory team and DGT colleagues and during the candidate’s secondments at Université Paris-Dauphine in  France, Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, US, Cancer Research UK, and Virginia Commonwealth University, US.


Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Fixed-term contract: 4 years: The first 3 years will be as a Marie Skłodowska – Curie Early Stage Researcher. The 4th year as a ‘regular’ PhD-candidate. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2.395 per month in the first year to € 3.061 in the fourth year. On top of this, there is an annual holiday allowance (8% of annual income) and an annual end-of-year bonus (8.3% of annual income).

The successful candidate will be employed for 3 years (36 months) according to the rules for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in an EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks (ITN). Any possible difference between the amount paid in salary/wage taxes/compulsory employers-employees social contributions and the amount to be paid according to the Work Programme will be equalized at the end of the 3 years Early Stage researcher ITN MSC-grant.

Applicants from outside The Netherlands may be eligible for the so-called 30% ruling, a tax cut for highly skilled migrants that applies for a maximum of five years. If you are moving to Maastricht from more than 40 kilometers away, you may qualify for a one-time reimbursement of your relocation costs. The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Local UM provisions also apply. Notable terms include a pension scheme, an optional collective healthcare plan and partially paid parental leave. Furthermore, UM makes use of a selection model, which allows you to exchange employment conditions to adapt them to your preferences and circumstances. For more information, see www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/Support/UM employees.

Aside from your involvement in the EvoGamesPlus European Training Network, as a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Maastricht University Graduate School. We will provide an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and mentors. Both the EvoGamesPlus Training Programme and the Maastricht University Graduate School are aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.


Maastricht University

Maastricht University. Maastricht University (UM) has around 20,000 students and 4,400 employees. Reflecting the university’s strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. UM is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. UM placed #10 in Times Higher Education’s (THE) Young Universities Ranking 2019, and #127 in THE’s World University Rankings 2020.


Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering

The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering. Founded in 1992, we are a fast-growing department undertaking internationally respected research in the areas of applied mathematics, artificial intelligence, computer science, and human-machine interaction. The PhD candidate will be hosted at the Dynamic Game Theory team which includes about 15 members focusing on areas of dynamic game theory, dynamical systems theory, and their applications. Moreover, the PhD candidate will become member of the Mathematics Centre Maastricht (https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/research/mathematics-centre-maastricht-mcm) which is an umbrella for the research in mathematics at Maastricht University.

Situated in the heart of Europe and within 30 kilometers from the German and Belgian borders, Maastricht and its 120,000 inhabitants have a strong international character. It is a safe, vibrant city with a history spanning more than 2,000 years. The city’s rich past is reflected everywhere in the streets: the ratio of monuments-to-inhabitants is roughly 1:73. If you are unfamiliar with the Netherlands, UM’s Knowledge Centre for International Staff will gladly assist you with practical.

Our new colleague(s) will be joining a tight-knit department consisting of ~50 principal investigators, postdocs and PhD students, >750 BSc and MSc students and a team of 15 dedicated support staff members. Together, we come from over 40 different countries.




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