Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidate in Network Science

Wetenschappelijke functies, PhD-posities
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
16 juli 2024
1 september 2024 Nog 41 dagen om te solliciteren

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The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) are looking for:

PhD candidate in Network Science (4 years)

About this position
Leiden University’s computer science department (LIACS), part of the Faculty of Science, is seeking an enthusiastic and well-qualified PhD candidate in network science, a field also referred to as complex networks or social network analysis. The position is for 4 years and is fully funded.
The position is part of SSHOC-NL, a five-year national consortium project on advancing methods and infrastructure in, among others, the social sciences. Within SSHOC-NL Leiden University and University of Amsterdam jointly lead the work on large-scale social network analysis, which is the focus of this PhD position. While the position offers a certain degree of freedom in terms of the precise research direction, as part of the broader consortium project, the candidate will be asked to work on community detection in large-scale dynamic networks, and how this is affected by aggregation of the network. This ties into a broader objective of the consortium in which the aim is to understand how privacy-sensitive population-scale (network) data, possibly at an aggregated level, can be made accessible and interoperable.

The candidate will be part of the Platform for Large-scale Analysis of Networks Netherlands (PLANET-NL) interdisciplinary group of researchers in both computer science and social science, which will meet regularly as part of the broader consortium project. One particular object of study of this group, and thus possibly also for the candidate, is the multi-layer population-scale social network data of the Netherlands, featuring twelve years of longitudinal network data on all seventeen million inhabitants of the Netherlands and their family, work, school, neighbor and household ties (see, e.g., https://www.popnet.io).

The candidate will be encouraged to collaborate on projects with other members of the Computational Network Science (CNS, https://cns.liacs.nl) group. Moreover, there are ample opportunities to collaborate with other research groups at LIACS in for example data science, machine learning, text mining and algorithm design. It is furthermore possible to get engaged in (limited) BSc and MSc student (co-)supervision, as well as minor scientific organizational activities. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for interaction and collaboration, for example at the Faculty of Science through the Leiden Complex Networks Network (LCN2, https://lcn2.leidenuniv.nl) and nationally through the Dutch Network Science Society (https://www.netsci.nl).

To apply, candidates are required to submit, in addition to an academic CV, a brief motivation letter of at most 2 pages, including a short description of a research idea that the candidate would want to work on in light of this particular position.

Key responsibilities

  • Conducting research in the area of network science, leading to peer-reviewed publications.
  • Writing an article-based PhD thesis within the duration of the position.
  • Participating in a broader national computational social science consortium project.
  • Limited involvement in co-supervising BSc and MSc students and engaging in minor local organizational activities.
  • Assist in relevant teaching activities.

Required qualifications

  • A MSc* in computer science or a related field (e.g., mathematics, physics or computational social science), ideally with experience (e.g., through a MSc thesis) on a networks-related topic.
  • Experience with programming in Python and/or C++ and/or R, preferably with some large-scale network analysis experience.
  • Willingness and ability to work in an interdisciplinary setting working across computer science and social sciences.
  • Excellent proficiency of the English language.
  • Able to work independently and in a team.
  • An academic, creative and curious mindset.

*: excellent candidates not (yet) (fully) past the MSc phase, but sufficiently close to graduation, are also invited to apply.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to contribute to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

You will be part of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS). LIACS offers courses at the Bachelor and Master of Science level in Computer Science, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. According to an independent research visitation, LIACS is one of the foremost computer science departments of the Netherlands. We strive for excellence in a caring institute, where excellence, fun, and diversity go hand in hand. We offer a clear and inviting career path to young and talented scientists with the ambition to grow.

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time (1.0 FTE), fixed-term post for four years, with a salary range from € 2.770,- to
€ 3.539,- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). The intended starting date is between November 1, 2024 and January 1, 2025.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%) and training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break and fixed compensation for relocation costs.

D&I statement
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Prospective supervisors are Frank Takes (Leiden University) and Eelke Heemskerk (University of Amsterdam).
Inquiries can be made to f.w.takes@liacs.leidenuniv.nl, telephone: +31 71 527 7143. Should you have any questions regarding this position, then you are explicitly invited to informally reach out to before formally applying. If you have any questions regarding the procedure, please contact jobs@liacs.leidenuniv.nl


Please submit online your application no later than 1 September 2024 via the blue button in our application system. Please ensure that you attach the following additional documents, quoting the vacancy number:

  • A motivation letter of at most two pages, including a short description of a research idea that the candidate would want to work on in light of this particular position.
  • An academic CV listing relevant academic activities thus far.
  • A recent writing example (paper or thesis) that you are proud of and reflects your academic writing skills.
  • Names and contact details of two people that can be contacted for reference (they should have agreed to be contacted; there is no need to send letters).

The selection procedure and interviews will take place from September 5, 2024 onwards, until a suitable candidate has been found.

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