Postdoctoral Researcher in Causal Inference

Faculteit/Dienst:  Faculteit der Natuurw., Wiskunde & Informatica

Opleidingsniveau:  Gepromoveerd

Functie type:  Wetenschappelijk Personeel

Sluitingsdatum:  31.08.2022

Vacaturenummer:  9461


Are you a machine learning researcher or statistician who is passionate about causality and its applications for domain adaptation and optimization? We have a vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher in the recently established Mercury Machine Learning Lab (MMLL). In this lab, researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) will be working together with data scientists from to develop the statistical and machine learning foundations for a new generation of recommendation systems. Motivated by real-world problems faced in industry that involve domain adaptation and optimization, we will investigate fundamental scientific problems regarding generalization and bias removal from a causal perspective.

As part of the MMLL initiative, the University of Amsterdam is inviting applications for a postdoctoral researcher in causal inference under supervision of prof.dr. Joris Mooij.

What are you going to do

  • help develop, study and apply machine learning techniques within the context of the research project, in collaboration with data scientists from and under supervision of prof. dr. Mooij;
  • publish research results in top-tier international journals and present at leading conferences;
  • assist with the research and the supervision of PhD students involved in the MMLL initiative;
  • collaborate with other MMLL and causality researchers;
  • assist in relevant teaching and knowledge dissemination activities.

What do we require

  • A PhD degree (or equivalent qualification) on a topic in machine learning / modern statistics;
  • an exceptional scientific track record, documented by publications at first-tier journals and conferences;
  • a strong research background in (topics related to) causality, domain adaptation and stochastic optimization;
  • excellent mathematical skills (in particular in probability theory, statistics, calculus, and linear algebra);
  • excellent programming skills;
  • excellent communication, presentation and writing skills;
  • an excellent command of English;
  • commitment, perseverance and a cooperative attitude.

In addition, you:

  • have a keen interest in causality and its applications;
  • have an appetite for understanding the machine learning problems relevant to, and the desire to perform in-depth analyses of rich datasets;
  • enjoy working in a multidisciplinary research environment;
  • are highly motivated and creative.


Our offer

We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 12 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years).

Your salary, depending on your relevant experience on commencement of the employment contract, ranges between €2,846 to €4,490 (scale 10) gross per month on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. The Collective Labour Agreement for Universities of the Netherlands (CAO NU) 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 leadership for academic staff;
  • 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 is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 30,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

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.

A prominent research topic at the UvA is Artificial Intelligence. The UvA is part of the AI Technology for People initiative, where it teams up with several other key players within the Amsterdam region. Together they will invest 1 billion euros in the development of responsible AI technologies over the next ten years by setting up research programmes, attracting top scientists and educating students with state-of-the-art knowledge of AI. The UvA was selected by the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) as an Excellence Centre for AI to help keep in Europe talent in machine learning and related AI research fields. The UvA is also involved in various labs of the Innovation Centre for AI (ICAI), which promotes public-private partnerships in the general area of AI.

One of these ICAI labs is the newly established Mercury Machine Learning Lab. In this lab, researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) will be working together with on various improved recommendation systems. The collaboration provides the unique opportunity to test AI techniques in the real world, allowing new machine learning methods to be safely developed for wide application, for example in mobility, energy or healthcare. The UvA researchers participating in the MMLL have different areas of expertise and are affiliated with various research institutes of the Faculty of Science. Prof. dr. De Rijke specializes in information retrieval and is affiliated with the Informatics Institute. Prof dr. Mooij specializes in causality and is affiliated with the Korteweg-De Vries Institute for Mathematics. Dr. Titov and dr. Aziz both specialize in NLP and are affiliated with the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation. The researchers affiliated with the TU Delft that are involved in the MMLL are dr. Spaan and dr. Oliehoek, who both specialize  in reinforcement learning. In addition to the existing researchers, the Mercury Machine Learning Lab will comprise six PhD candidates and two postdocs who will work on six different projects related to bias and generalisation problems over the course of the next five years. They will spend two days a week in the office of in Amsterdam to do research and actively participate in related streams of experimentation to test their hypotheses. More information about the Mercury Machine Learning Lab and the related projects can be found on the MMLL website.

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



If you have any questions about the position, please contact (during office hours):

Juliane Steinhardt, tel. +31 (0)20 525 7571 and email


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 link below (and please do not apply via email). We will accept applications until 31 August 2022.


Applications (CONSISTING OF A SINGLE .pdf FILE) should include:

  • a curriculum vitae, please mention also the months and not just years with regard to your experience;
  • a motivation letter;
  • a list of publications;
  • a statement of your research experience and interests;
  • URL pointing to your most original publication;
  • a complete record of Bachelor and Master courses (including grade transcripts and the explanation of the grading system used by your university);
  • (a link to) an electronic copy of your PhD thesis.
  • the names and contact information of two academic references (please do not include any recommendation letters).


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise 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, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application. 

No agencies please

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