PhD position in computer science on Enabling Personalized Interventions


Do you have a master in Computer Science and would you like to study distributed machine learning in the context of medical applications? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


Wat ga je doen?

Job description
Vrije Universiteit is looking for a PhD student who will address scientific challenges on Data and Algorithm Distribution that enable personalized interventions. Health data from individuals is often distributed across multiple domains, multiple platforms and originates from a variety of sources, which makes the construction of algorithms that enable personalized interventions challenging. We therefore need to better understand the implications of distribution constraints on the quality of the analytics results, which is a trade-off between how much data is shared across domains and the performance of the machine learning models. The research is done together with St. Antonius Hospital and is part of a large NWO-funded project called Enabling Personalized Interventions (EPI).
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and St. Antonius Hospital will use this platform to analyze quality of care for stroke patients in the post-acute phase in which patients are treated within a hospital, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.

Your duties

  • do scientific research on understanding the consequences of a distributed, multi-platform, multi-domain, multi-data-source big data infrastructure on the machine learning algorithms and the potential impact on performance
  • do experiments to analyse the trade-offs in quality for different data distribution schemes, aiming to get better insights into how much precision can be gained or lost depending on data sharing constraints
  • write scientific papers for international peer-reviewed conferences and journals
  • present your work in international conferences
  • finalize the work in a PhD thesis
  • a limited amount of teaching (e.g., helping with a lab course)

The work is part of the Enabling Personalized Interventions (EPI) project, which consists of a consortium of medical professionals, data scientists, ICT-infrastructure experts, and machine learning researchers. EPI aims to empower patients and providers through self-management, shared management, and personalization across the full health spectrum. To do so, we will build a fuller picture of the person by linking traditional eHealth data sets from within the hospital with new sources of data throughout the care delivery chain. We will develop a platform based upon a secure and trustworthy distributed data infrastructure, combining data analytics, including machine learning, and health decision support algorithms to create new, actionable, and personalized insights for prevention, management, and intervention to providers and patients.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and St. Antonius Hospital will use this platform to analyze quality of care for stroke patients in the post-acute phase in which patients are treated within a hospital, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes."


Jij brengt mee


  • a MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science or closely related area
  • be able to work well in teams
  • expertise in both High Performance Computing and Machine Learning/Deep Learning; PhD-level courses are available if one such expertise is missing
  • experience in healthcare is an advantage, affinity with healthcare is a must
  • proficiency in the Dutch language is not required, but would be considered an advantage

Wij bieden jou

What are we offering?
A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting allowance based on public transport


About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the department, institute, project
The VU Department of Computer Science has approximately 170 members, including 35 tenured staff members and 40-50 PhD students. The tenured staff members form the essential basis for the functioning of the department. A tenured staff member is required to make significant contributions to the research and education programs, and to spend effort on specific tasks at the department level. Within the department, the High Performance Distributed Computing (HPDC) group studies programming environments for large-scale distributed systems, hand in hand with current technology and real-world applications.

St. Antonius Hospital is a leading top-clinical teaching hospital in The Netherlands. We offer highly complex care at several locations around Utrecht. Our focus areas are heart & vascular care, lung care, and cancer. Within our hospital you work within an entrepreneurial environment focused on innovation and research. Our 6000 well educated and motivated employees are working hard every day to continuously improve quality and service of our care. Our mission: Together we care for quality of life (samen zorgen voor kwaliteit van leven).

The project will be part of the efforts of Santeon to implement value-based healthcare (VBHC). Santeon is a network of 7 large teaching hospitals spread out over the Netherland. Santeon is one of the internationally recognized experts on VBHC implementation. In total the Santeon hospitals cover about 10-15% of all hospital care in The Netherlands. VBHC means organization of care around improvement of patient value, with value defined as health outcomes over costs of care delivery. At St. Antonius, about 10 researchers form a local VBHC research team, each focusing on a specific disease.



Are you interested in this position and able to start no later than 1 September 2019? Please apply via this hyperlink and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter before 1/05/2019. Do not use the button on this page.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: prof. dr. ir. Henri E. Bal
Position: Professor
Telephone: +31 20 598 7733

Plaatsingsdatum: 15-04-2019 16:34

Vacaturenummer: 46281

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