Universiteit Leiden

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Full Professor in Humanities and AI

Vacancy number
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
25 July 2019
Closing date
15 September 2019 Vacancy closed

Project description
Our society is changing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies are playing an increasingly important role in our society. To this end Leiden University has started a new, university wide initiative to enable collaboration on the use of AI. By building on and expanding the already existing expertise of AI the project intends to advance science and improve the quality of our life. All the disciplines of the University of Leiden are involved: Archeology, Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, Public Administration, Sciences, and also the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), to collaborate and appoint new staff with joint interests. Leiden University has earmarked dedicated funding for the appointment of full professors, assistant professors, a post-doc and support staff to facilitate the expansion of AI related research at all its departments.

Key responsibilities
This new chair will focus on the interaction between mental grammar and processes such as language acquisition, production and perception, by investigating, developing and applying methods and tools of computational linguistics and AI, such as deep neural learning and machine learning. The goal of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of natural language and to improve language and speech technology. One important aspect in the area of natural language processing (NLP) is statistical processing. Take for instance automatic speech recognition: very good results are booked using algorithms that make predictions about the signal based on statistical probabilities. The same is true for automatic translation where sequence-to-sequence translations (i.e. translation of lexical bundles) yield very high success rates. Indeed, the data-driven approach currently dominates the field of machine translation. However, an important question is how much knowledge about grammatical structure is necessary to further improve the outcome of automatic speech recognition, automatic translation and other language and speech technology. Currently, attempts are made to combine or complement data-driven approaches with rule-based methods in order to overcome inherent limitations with the statistical approaches.

A wealth of expertise in the fields of philosophy, (art) history, the arts, literature, film and cultural sciences, religious studies, linguistics and multidisciplinary area studies results in a unique Faculty of Humanities. Our global expertise, international focus and synergy of scientific approaches form windows to the world, opening up the many perspectives of a globalising world. In a century of globalisation, large-scale levels of migration, intense and ever faster communication, cultural transformations and the politicisation of culture and the rise of new superpowers, the work and knowledge of the faculty’s staff is of vital importance to our society, both inside and outside of the Netherlands. It is precisely in the 21st century that our faculty consciously stands at the heart of that society.

The Faculty of Humanities offers an inspiring and international work environment with room for diversity and reform for employees and students from the Netherlands and abroad. It offers a wide range of education, with students being able to choose from no less than 26 Bachelor’s and 27 Master’s degree programmes. The Faculty’s research is organised within seven institutes and contributes to six research dossiers for research at Leiden University.

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time temporary appointment for a period of 4 years with a view to a permanent contract depending on good performance and funding.  Salary range from € 5.582,- to € 8.127,- gross per month (pay scale H2 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year (8.3 %) bonuses, training, career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see http://workingat.leiden.edu/

Leiden University requires teaching staff to obtain the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ). If the successful applicant does not already possess this qualification or its equivalent, he/she must be willing to obtain this Qualification within two years.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Prof Dr Niels Schiller, T +31 71 527 2125, e-mail: n.o.schiller@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Please be aware that due to holidays contact persons are not / limited accessible until the end of August.

More vacancies and information via https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/vacancies. See for the other 5 positions: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/vacatures/2019/q3/19-361-19-366-full-professors---sails.

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to j.e.lingen@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number: 19-361.

  • Curriculum Vitae and list of publications;
  • Motivational letter;
  • Names of 3 references.            

Only applications received no later than September 15, 2019 can be considered.

Acquisition following this advertisement is not appreciated.

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