Vacancy: PhD position Automating Data Science and/or Applications of Data Science to the job market and human resources management


AI and Data Analytics (AIDA) research group – IDLab (Ghent University, Belgium)

AIDA-IDLab is a world-leading research group at Ghent University. IDLab (1, 2) performs fundamental and applied research on data science and internet technology, and is, with over 300 researchers, one of the larger research entities at Ghent University. The AIDA-IDLab research group is a subgroup of IDLab that is home to around 15 researchers. Its main current research topics are the foundations of machine learning and data science; algorithms for the analysis of network-structured data; data and information visualization; trustworthiness of AI, including robustness, privacy, transparency, and fairness; as well as applications to the job market and human resources management, bioinformatics, and computational social science research. 

Job Description 

Data science has already had an important effect on science, economy, and society, and its impact continues to grow as high-throughput technologies are being developed, business models adapt, and new opportunities for exploiting data for societal purposes are being developed. Today, the uptake of data science in practice is hindered mostly by a growing skills gap. Indeed, the application of data science techniques still requires sophisticated and rapidly evolving technical skills, and the demand for such skills grows faster than the suitably trained workforce. This PhD position is advertised in the context of a research project aiming to address this skills gap by developing novel principles for automating data science tasks that today seem too open-ended, too domain-dependent, or involve data that is too complex, to allow doing so.

Besides theoretical and algorithmic innovations, you will have the opportunity to create real impact in a range of applications, in the job market and human resources management through an ongoing collaboration with the Flemish regional job agency, as well as in other areas such as bioinformatics and computational social sciences (e.g. social media analysis), depending on your experience and interests. 

Your profile 

Highly creative and motivated PhD student with the following qualifications:

  • You have (or will obtain in the next months) a master degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering (with a strong mathematics and/or computer science component) or equivalent, with excellent ('honors'-level) grades.
  • You have strong computer science skills (python, C++, etc.)
  • You have a strong interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and/or data science, and are eager to advance the state-of-the-art.
  • Experience with machine learning algorithmic approaches or frameworks (such as PyTorch, Tensorflow, GPFlow, etc.) is considered a significant plus.
  • An interest in valorization, entrepreneurship, and the creation of real-life impact (by open-sourcing your work, by patenting and licensing, by contributing to the creation of a spin-out company, etc.) is a plus.
  • You are a team player and have strong communication skills.
  • Your English is fluent, both speaking and writing.

Our offer

We offer the opportunity to do full-time research in an international (with 8 nationalities currently in AIDA-IDLab) and friendly working environment, with a competitive salary. While grounded in fundamental academic research, as a PhD candidate you will also have the opportunity to participate in collaborative research with industrial and/or academic partners in Flanders and/or on a wider geographic scale, in the framework of new/ongoing projects. Furthermore, you will publish your research results at major international conferences and in journal papers, as part of meeting the requirements for your PhD. The PhD position will start as soon as a qualified candidate is available.


Send your application by email or any questions concerning this vacancy to prof. Tijl De Bie (tijl.debie AT, indicating “Job Application: Automating Data Science” in the subject. Applications should include (1) an academic / professional resume, (2) a personal motivation letter, and (3) transcripts of study results, (4) at least two reference contacts, and (5) a short (strictly not more than 2 minutes) video introducing yourself and the reason for applying for this position. After a first screening, selected candidates will be invited for an interview (also possible via Skype) as a first contact in a multi-stage selection process. 

  • Application deadline: August 31th 2021 or until the vacancy is filled.
  • Type of contract: Full-time
  • Employment: Temporary (4 years), with yearly progress evaluation
  • Earliest starting date: as soon as a qualified candidate is found