Responsible Intelligent Systems


Postdoc in Artificial Intelligence on Designing Responsible Agency (1.0 FTE) (EXPIRED)

We invite applications for a postdoctoral research position in the Responsible Intelligent Systems website (REINS) project. With the project well underway, our aim is now to focus more on concrete architectures and systems for responsible decision making and responsibility checking (which are different, but closely connected). Areas of interest to the REINS project that are relevant for this position are: prioritized rule based reasoning mechanisms, agent programming languages, non-monotonic logics and argumentation, symbolic and neural-symbolic learning and reasoning.

As intelligent systems are increasingly integrated into our daily life, the division, assignment and checking of responsibilities between human and artificial agents become increasingly important. From robots in medicine, the military and transportation (self-driving cars); to automated trading agents on the financial markets (algotrades); to automated monitoring, prediction and protection systems (pacemakers, automated surveillance, early warning systems); we delegate more and more responsibility to intelligent devices. By delegating responsibilities to intelligent devices, we run the risk of losing track of our indirect legal and moral liabilities. The REINS project aims to address this problem by providing formal and computational frameworks that form the basis for computational systems that enable us to mitigate these risks.

Work environment
You will be based at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and be part of the theoretical philosophy group chaired by Prof Daniel Cohnitz. The theoretical philosophy group coordinates Utrecht University’s Artificial Intelligence Bachelor program and is one of four main contributors to the Artificial Intelligence Master program. The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies provides a relevant, stimulating and internationally oriented research environment.


We are looking for a researcher with a background in artificial intelligence, knowledge representation and/or decision making that is enthusiastic about the idea of applying these theories to the problem of making intelligent systems behave responsibly. We more specifically look for a new colleague who has:

  • a PhD in a relevant area of Artificial Intelligence, Logic or Knowledge Representation;
  • a demonstrable interest in philosophical aspects of Artificial Intelligence;
  • good track record and research skills relative to experience;
  • good academic writing and presentation skills;
  • publications in established journals or (in the case of books) with internationally recognized academic publishers;
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • a pro-active attitude and excellent communication and collaborative skills;
  • interest in interdisciplinary work;


You will be offered a full-time PostDoc position (1.0 FTE), initially for a period of 12 months. Upon good performance, the contract will be extended for another 12 months (two years in total, but not after February 2019). The starting salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – ranges between €3,193 and €3,427 (scale 10 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment.

Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and flexible terms of employment. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities. More information: working at Utrecht University.

Additional information

For further information about the vacancy, please contact dr. ir Jan Broersen, project leader:

Applications should include (1) a letter of motivation, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) two references; (4) two published samples (journal articles, book chapter etc.); and (5) a scan of the PhD certificate. To apply, please click here for the application form or here for more information on the website of the university of Utrecht.

Interviews will be scheduled for the week of 9-13 January 2017. Employment will become effective preferably March 1st, 2017.

The application deadline is 01/01/2017.

Utrecht University

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has approximately 900 employees and 7000 students. The faculty covers four areas of knowledge: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Cultural Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. Through education and research in these areas the faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe within an ever changing social and cultural context. Our enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent facilities in Utrecht’s historic centre, where the faculty has its home, make for an inspiring working climate.