Open-ended Robot Interaction (ESR)

Host organisation: VUB AI Lab (Brussels, Belgium)
Academic supervisor: Prof. Dr. Luc Steels (VUB)
Daily supervision: Dr. Katrien Beuls (VUB)


We are looking for a highly motivated student with a major in Artificial Intelligence or Computer Science who has a strong interest in natural language modelling and symbolic computation. Your research project will be embedded in the Marie Curie ITN (Initial Training Network) project called ESSENCE (Evolution of Shared Semantics in Computational Environments).


Design and implement processing and learning systems that improve robustness in new and/or embodied scenario's. Further software development of state-of-the-art natural language processing frameworks as part of an international team of software developers and researchers.

Your profile

Candidates must show a serious interest in a scientific career, have good writing skills and experience in building learning systems. You should be familiar with functional and object oriented programming paradigms, versioning systems and software engineering. Experience with language research or robotics is a bonus. Additional Marie Curie criteria that you should meet are:
* You cannot have more than 4 years fulltime research experience (and do not yet have a PhD)
* You cannot have lived for more than 12 months in Belgium over the last 3 years.


You apply for a 1,5 year PhD scholarship of approximately € 36 000 (before taxes) per year, with additional resources to visit conferences and project meetings.

How to Apply

We need a letter of motivation, a CV, a copy of your master’s thesis (or in case you have not completed this, another sample of your writing), a list of your grades and the contact information of two people who can provide references. You should apply through the ESSENCE website (pre-apply button). For inquiries you can send a message to Katrien Beuls (, or phone +32 2 629 3701. The deadline for application is June 15th, 2016 . The starting date of this position is upon availability of the candidate, but preferably 1 September 2016.