Vacancy Postdoc fellow Automating data science


About Ghent University

Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.

About the AIDA-IDLab research group

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.

Context of the vacancy 

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 postdoctoral 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 tasks 

  • Independent research as part of the AIDA-IDLab research group, including algorithm development, running experiments, data management, interactions with research collaborators, etc.
  • Contributing to the supervision of PhD students in the AIDA-IDLab research group.
  • Taking the lead in writing, finalizing, submitting, and revising, publications of which you are a co-author.
  • Generally contributing to a positive, enjoyable, and productive working environment in the AIDA-IDLab research group.
  • A limited contribution to the teaching duties of the AIDA-IDLab research group (around 10% of your time).
  • A limited amount of your time will be spent on project management such as project reporting, setting up and organizing project meetings with internal and external partners, writing data management plans and ethics assessment as and when required, etc. (around 10% of your time).

What we are looking for 

  • You hold a thesis-based doctorate in Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, or a related area.
  • You have a research interest in methods and technologies that help to ensure that AI complies with ethical and legal standards (fairness, privacy, transparency, robustness).
  • You have a strong publication record on the above-mentioned topics.
  • You have a strong knowledge of state-of-the-art AI and machine learning technology stacks.
  • You not only have an interest in conceptual/theoretical innovations, but also in making a genuine difference in real-life applications when the opportunity arises (particularly, though not necessarily or exclusively, in human resources management and the job market, and/or in technologies for ensuring or enforcing ethical requirements in AI), and you are willing to spend the time and effort required to create that impact.
  • You are a strong team-player and able to bring the best out in others.
  • You are self-motivated and able to work independently.
  • You have a strong command of the English language, both in speaking and in writing.

What we can offer you 

  • We offer you a postdoc scholarship for a term of 3 years.
  • Condition international mobility: you did not stay or work for more than 24 months in Belgium in de past 3 years
  • Your postdoc scholarship will start on 1/08/2021 at the earliest.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 35 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, a bicycle allowance and eco vouchers.. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).


Your application must include the following documents: 

  • CV and an overview of your study results (merged into one pdf file)
  • Your cover letter should also include a link to a short video (maximum 2 minutes) introducing yourself, and explaining why you are interested in this position and why you fit the requirements. (You could host this video in dropbox, google drive, or similar.)
  • A transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.

More information

Application deadline:  31/07/21

Interested or more information needed: please contact Prof. Tijl De Bie (