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in Explainable Decision Making

Posted 27 Jan 2024
Work experience
2 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
Degree level
Required language
English (Fluent)
1 Mar 2024 23:00

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We are very excited about our new research on explainable decision making. Our next step is to grow our team with new colleagues who are interested in working on cutting-edge optimization and machine learning techniques. Would you like to join us?

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

In recent years, there has been a rising demand for transparent and explainable machine learning (ML) models. Although significant progress has been made in generating different types of explanations for ML models, this topic has received minimal attention in the operations research (OR) community, due to a larger focus by the public on societal effects of data-driven ML models. However, algorithmic decisions in OR are made by complex algorithms, which also lack explainability. The main goal of this PhD project is to build the foundation for explainable decision making.

What are you going to do?

In this research, the candidate will define a general mathematical framework for explainable decision making and introduce models to provide explanations for different classes of optimization problems. Solution algorithms will be developed and tested on real-world instances of operations research problems.

Tasks and responsibilities

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

  • Working on novel research questions based on mathematical modelling of real-world phenomena;
  • programming algorithms and testing them;
  • presenting research findings at international conferences and through publications in international journals;
  • 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.

Your profile

Formal requirements:

  • Masters’ degree (preferably a Research Master´s or MPhil degree) in Operations Research, Computer Science, Mathematics, Data Science, Machine Learning or a related field;
  • GMAT or GRE score no more than five years old (for students with a master’s 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 in writing for a scientific audience;
  • willingness and motivation to independently formulate research projects and carry them through to completion;
  • mathematical skills and a very good command of computer programming.

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 operations research and machine learning;
  • intellectual curiosity, eagerness to learn, and openness to criticism;
  • willingness to participate in disseminating research results and valorisation.

Our offer

The preferable start date for this position is May 1st, 2024.

The compensation package is competitive at the European level and includes several fringe benefits. Favourable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants. To know more about working at the University of Amsterdam, please check this link and

We offer full-time employment for three or four years (depending on prior education) with an initial period of 18 months, an intermediate evaluation after 18 months and a possibility to extend it for 30 months (four years in total). The end result should be a PhD thesis. An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and conferences at home and abroad.

The gross monthly salary will range between €2,770,- in the first year to €3,539,- in the last year for full-time employment (38 hours per week), excluding holiday allowance (8%) and year-end bonus (8.3%). The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

In addition, the UvA offers excellent study and development opportunities and encourages employees to continue to professionalise.

What else do we offer you?

The UvA has an extensive package of fringe benefits, including:

  • 29 days' holiday with full employment & extra holidays between Christmas and the new year;
  • excellent work facilities, including teleworking;
  • reimbursement of commuting expenses;
  • pension accrual with ABP;
  • excellent opportunities for ongoing study and professional development that are strongly supported by the university;
  • opportunities to participate in open UvA lectures, earning up to 30 credits per year.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, offering the broadest range of degree programmes. An intellectual hub with 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates, all connected by a shared culture of intellectual curiosity.

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 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 seven 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-ten.

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To know more about working at the University of Amsterdam, please check this link and


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

Jannis Kurtz:

Job application

Do you recognise yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application before 1 March 2024. The candidate will start preferably by 1 May 2024. You may apply online by using the link below.

  • Aletter of motivation;
  • a description of the candidate’s primary research interests and ambitions;
  • a recent curriculum vitae;
  • a grade list for the most recently completed degree;
  • a sample of completed research work (i.e., thesis proposal);
  • recent test scores (GMAT/GRE, TOEFL/IELTS) if applicable.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a job interview and may be asked to present their master’s thesis and/or other research work. Moreover, the candidates may be asked to provide two reference letters.

Studies show that women and members of underrepresented groups only apply for jobs if they meet 100% of the qualifications. Do you meet the educational requirements but do not yet have all the required experience? Then the UvA encourages you to apply anyway.

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.

No agencies please.

The University of Amsterdam is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. With some 40,000 students, 6,000 staff, 3,000 PhD candidates, and an annual budget of more than 850 million euros, it is also one of Amsterdam’s biggest employers.
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