PhD position in Combining Language Models and Knowledge Graphs

Faculteit/Dienst:  Faculteit der Natuurw., Wiskunde & Informatica
Opleidingsniveau:  Master
Functie type:  Promotieplaats
Sluitingsdatum:  19 augustus 2022
Vacaturenummer:  9885



The Intelligent Data Engineering Lab (INDElab) at the University of Amsterdam’s Informatics Institute (IvI) is seeking a PhD candidate to explore the combination of knowledge graphs and language models for multimodal information extraction.


This project seeks to improve the construction of knowledge graphs both in terms of flexibility, speed, and training data requirements through the combination of different representation techniques. This is a four year fully funded position.


What are you going to do


We are looking for a PhD candidate who is eager to design, implement and evaluate novel natural language processing and information extraction methods for the construction of large scale knowledge graphs. In particular, you will exploring the intersection of  language models (i.e. foundation models) and graph representations in order to improve the performance of extraction along dimensions such as extraction speed, training data requirements, and flexibility to new data sources. You will provide efficient and scalable implementations of your methods, and integrate them with popular open source systems.


The PhD will be conducted as part of a multi-institutional EU project with exciting data coming from the finance, geospatial and communications domains.


The thesis will be under the supervision of Prof. Paul Groth.  


Tasks and responsibilities:

  • Independently carrying out research, including writing and publishing three to four peer-reviewed articles;
  • Submitting a PhD thesis within the period of appointment;
  • Participating in the PhD programme of the IvI;
  • Participating in and contributing to the organisation of research activities in the context of the lab and an EU project;
  • Making a small contribution to IvI’s educational mission by working as a teaching assistant for courses in your area of expertise and by assisting with the supervision of student research projects;
  • Regularly presenting research results at international workshops and conferences, and publishing them in conference proceedings and journals.


What do you have to offer


Your experience and profile


  • Master’s degree in computer science, mathematics, or a related field;
  • Experience with neural modelling for natural language processing;
  • Creative and independent mindset;
  • Capable of working in multidisciplinary environments;
  • Strong programming skills in Python and machine learning libraries (e.g. PyTorch, Tensorflow);
  • Fluency in English;
  • Good skills in planning, taking initiative and academic writing.


Not required, but helpful:

  • Industry experience with ML deployment and/or real world data processing systems (e.g., internship, work, entrepreneurial experience);
  • Contribution to open source projects;
  • Programming skills in additional languages (e.g., Java, Scala, C/C++ or Rust).


Our offer


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 38 hours per week, ranges between € 2,541 in the first year to € 3,247 in the last year (scale P). This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • A complete educational program for PhD students;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • The possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


About us


The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 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.


The mission of the Informatics Institute (IvI) 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.


The Intelligent Data Engineering Lab (INDElab) investigates intelligent systems that support people in their work with data and information from diverse sources. You will be working  with Prof. Paul Groth who works on automated knowledge base construction and data integration. INDElab is strongly embedded in the larger UvA and Amsterdam artificial intelligence ecosystem with strong connections to multiple Innovation Centres for AI (ICAI) labs and the UvA’s Data Science Centre.


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.




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


Job application


If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We will accept applications until and including 19 August 2022.


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your CV should be submitted in one single pdf file):

  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • a list of publications (e.g., the master thesis);
  • examples of code written by the applicant (e.g., via a link to a github repository).


Please make sure to provide ALL requested documents mentioned above.
You can use the CV field to upload your resume as a separate pdf document. Use the Cover Letter field to upload the other requested documents, including the motivation letter, as one single pdf file.


Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.


The interviews will be held in the course of 29 - 31 August 2022



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/ GBC451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.


No agencies please.