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Two PhD Positions in AI and Computational Methods for Combatting Crime

Posted 4 Feb 2024
Work experience
1 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
€2,770 - €3,539 per month
Degree level
Required languages
English (Fluent)
Dutch (Fluent)
16 Mar 2024 00:00

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Are you interested in performing cutting-edge research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Data Science or Computational Science / Complex Systems Science and want to develop tools to help combat crime? Then here is your chance, as the Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam is looking for two ambitious PhD students to develop forensically sound, unbiased, and transparent AI methods and Complex Systems Science methods to model, detect and explore patterns in financial and other big data sources which might hold evidence of organized crime. The two PhD students will have their own focus and at the same time closely collaborate during their PhD. The approaches that will be considered are:

Project 1: the financial streams and related data in organized crime are highly complex and are composed of entities, relations, and group structure. These are conveniently captured using hypergraphs. Training complex AI detection and exploration models in a supervised manner is hampered by the lack of sufficient labeled training data. We therefore aim for an approach where we combine supervised learning with generative models. Thus, the generation of more and more realistic patterns and methods for detecting and exploring them go together and reinforce one another. At the same time, with external stakeholders, the tools will be applied to real-life data. This project is embedded in the MultiX group.

Project 2: This project will focus on detecting anomalies (e.g. excess volatility and price movements) in Financial Markets. We aim to develop network theory and agent-based models to understand the complexity of financial markets and its application to e.g. market abuse. Special emphasis will be on the modelling of the specific actors and their interactions including network reconstruction methods to further calibrate the underlying models. The impact of interventions on the system as a whole is one of the key objectives. This project will be embedded in the Computational Science Lab (CSL).

The research projects are part of the interdisciplinary public-private research consortium COMCRIM: COMbatting CRIMes that undermine democratic societies governed by the rule of law in a smart and comprehensive manner. The project, led by Jill Coster van Voorhout, brings together 6 PhD students and 3 post-doctoral researchers in three lines of research: (i) socio-legal, (ii) computer science, and (iii) socio-economic and is conducted with various stakeholders including law enforcement agencies and financial institutions.

What are you going to do?

You will conduct research and perform experiments to reach the objectives mentioned above. More specifically:

Your tasks and responsibilities:

  • conduct research and perform experiments in developing advanced AI tools and computational methods;
  • publish and present research in international peer-reviewed conferences (e.g., ACM Multimedia, Neurips, ICLR, ACM Knowledge and Data Discovery, Scientific Reports, Network Science and/or related journals);
  • pursue and complete a PhD thesis within the appointed duration of four years;
  • collaborate with other researchers in the COMCRIM project as well as in the Informatics Institute (e.g. within the AI4Fintech and AI4Forensics programs).
  • collaborate with the stakeholders of COMCRIM to understand their needs and provide them with the tools developed;
  • assist in teaching activities, such as teaching labs/tutorials in courses and supervising bachelor/master students.

What do you have to offer?

  • a relevant master’s degree to the PhD topic of interest, e.g., Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Computational Science, or Computer Science;
  • research experiences in artificial intelligence / data science (project 1), computational science / complex systems (project 2), or related topics;
  • solid programming skills with experience using Python and deep learning / simulation frameworks;
  • the willingness to work collaboratively with other researchers, and stakeholders;
  • an eagerness to contribute to combatting and understand crime;
  • professional command of English (both verbal and written).

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). The preferred starting date is as soon as possible. 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 and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,770 in the first year to € 3,539 in the last year (scale P). UvA additionally offers an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. The UFO profile PhD Candidate is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

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.

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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