Author Archives: Anja


Piek Vossen & Leolani, VU Amsterdam. Fotocredit: Daan Muller.

Make robots talk! There is a lot of talk about robots taking part in our lives but there is little known about how to learn robots talk to us about the world we share. The Spinoza-project Understanding-Language-By-Machines looks for two ambitious, highly-motivated PhD students that want to work on our robot project Leolani. Leolani uses communication to learn about us and the world but she also needs to learn our language at the same time. Communicating and reasoning over the physical world and the people she encounters is a real challenge.

If you want to take on this challenge and be part of an exciting team working on the forefront of communicating machines, please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 – 1.0


You will define your own research topic within the Leolaniframework and become part of the team of researchers that further develops the platform. Your topic may focus on the reasoning and the communication, taking a language understanding or a language generation perspective.

Your duties

  • Define your research topic within the framework
  • Carry out your research according to international standards
  • Publish at least one article per year in an A or B ranked journal or conference proceedings
  • Make your research and experiments publicly available and reproducible


  • Masters degree in (Computational) Linguistics, Computer Science or Artificial Intelligence
  • Knowledge of and experience with programming in Python
  • Knowledge of and experience with Natural Language Processing


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 0.8 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 (or 5 years in case of a 0.8fte contract). 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 expenses,
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package,
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.


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 24,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 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.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.

About the department, institute, project
The Computational Lexicology and Terminology Lab(CLTL) is one of the world’s leading research groups in Human Language technology. Prof. dr. Piek Vossen, recipient of the NWO Spinoza Prize, heads the group of international researchers that are working on ground-breaking projects, among which the Spinoza project ‘Understanding Language by Machines’. 

CLTL and the research you are involved in is also embedded in the VU-gravity project on Hybrid Intellegence. You will collaborate with many researchers on key notions such as collaborative, explainable, adaptable and responsible AI. 


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 07/11/2019, 23:59.  In your application letter, describe breifly your ideas about the research you want to do and the methods you are going to use.

The job interviews are planned for December 2019, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Piek Vossen
Position: Professor

Call for Papers REPROLANG2020

Call for Papers for special workshop/session at LREC2020: Shared Task on the Reproduction of Research Results in Science and Technology of Language: REPROLANG 2020.

May 13-15, 2020
Marseille, France
Collocated with LREC2020– 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Steering Committee






Invited talks and stand with Leolani @ Zorgtotaal 2019, vakbeurs voor betere zorg (March 13-14, 2019)

Op Zorgtotaal 2019, de vakbeurs voor betere zorg, die plaatsvindt van 12 – 14 maart 2019 in de Jaarbeurs Utrecht, geeft Piek Vossen samen met zijn robot Leolani twee invited lezingen over “Communicatieve robots in de zorg”. 

Onze communicatieve robot Leolani wordt gedreven door nieuwsgierigheid en de behoefte aan sociaal contact. Maak kennis met haar en wordt een van haar vele vrienden. Ze vraagt het hemd van je lijf, onthoud alles wat jij zegt en leert van jou over de wereld. Onze robot leert door communicatie en slaat alles op in haar brein. Ze gebuikt haar brein om beter te communiceren en de situaties beter te begrijpen. Uiteindelijk willen wij een robot maken die de communicatie aanpast aan de situatie en aan jou, zodat het soepel en efficient verloopt en er minder misgaat. Een communicatieve robot is breed inzetbaar in de zorg als monitor, gezelschap, trainer (geestelijk en lichamelijk) en sociale activator.
Verder zal Vossen beide dagen met Lenka Bajčetić , Suzana Bašić , Bram Kraaijeveld (robot developers van het Computational Lexicology & Terminology Lab (CLTL)  aanwezig zijn op de beurs om in gesprek gaan met de bezoekers.
Wil je deze sessies en de beurs gratis bijwonen? Meld je dan hier aan:
  1. Voor woensdag 13 maart 2019 om 15.30: klik HIER om aan te melden 
  2. Voor donderdag 14 maart 2019 om 12.30: klik HIER om aan te melden 




Accepted Papers and Workshop @ COLING 2018, New Mexico, USA

Accepted Papers @ the International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 2018), Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA,  August 20-25, 2018:

  • Measuring the Diversity of Automatic Image Descriptions – Emiel van Miltenburg, Desmond Elliott and Piek Vossen.
  • Systematic Study of Long Tail Phenomena in Entity Linking – Filip Ilievski, Piek Vossen and Stefan Schlobach.
  • A Deep Dive into Word Sense Disambiguation with LSTM – Minh Le, Marten Postma, Jacopo Urbani and Piek Vossen.
  • Scoring and Classifying Implicit Positive Interpretations: A Challenge of Class Imbalance – Chantal van Son, Roser Morante, Lora Aroyo and Piek Vossen.
  • DIDEC: The Dutch Image Description and Eye-tracking Corpus – Emiel van Miltenburg, Ákos Kádár, Ruud Koolen and Emiel Krahmer

Vacancy @CLTL: Postdoc Researcher NWO project “Framing situations in the Dutch language” (closing Sept. 1, 2018)

Job position: PostDoc Researcher

Fte: 0.8 fte, 4 years (expandable to a full time position with an educational task for the Research Master track Human Language Technology)

Vacancy number : 18254

VU unit: Faculty of Humanities, VU University Amsterdam

Closing date: September 1, 2018

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam), and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

The work is carried out at the Computational Lexicology and Terminology Lab (CLTL), which is led by the Spinozalaureate Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen. CLTL is a renowned research group that studies language understanding, generation and interaction through computer models, based on latest technologies, such as neural networks and (un)supervised data approaches, in combination with symbolic knowledge resources, such as computational lexicons and linked-open data repositories. CLTL also runs the Research Master track Human Language Technology, which attracts many international students. More information on the research projects and the master program can be found at the website:

CLTL is part of the Network Institute ( an interfacultary research institute in which more than 200 researchers from different disciplines collaborate. CLTL has strong ties with the Faculty of Computer Science and Social Sciences at the VU University, through joined projects, PhDs and education programs. Furthermore, CLTL has a long tradition of collaboration both nationally and internationally with research groups at other universities and companies. In this project, we will specifically collaborate with Prof. Dr. Johan Bos from the University of Groningen and Prof. Dr. Collin Baker from Berkeley University.

The PostDoc will work on the NWO project Framing situations in the Dutch language. Language plays a central role in framing, as we daily choose which nouns and verbs describe or frame, a given situation. For some languages, researchers created databases (called FrameNets) containing rich collections of conceptual schemas (frames) that describe situations from a certain perspective. These frames are connected to words and sentences that express them. Several lexical resources exist for Dutch, but no FrameNet. Moreover, we have limited knowledge of the variation of framing in Dutch and how this compares to other languages. The project’s objectives are 1) to create a unique data set where similar situations are framed by many different sources and texts using a newly developed data-to-text method, 2) to capture the variation in framing these situations in Dutch and other languages, 3) to capture semantic-pragmatic factors underlying the usage of different frames for similar situations, and 4) to develop semantic frame and role annotation software. An additional concrete outcome of this project is a Dutch FrameNet contributing to the renowned Berkeley Multilingual FrameNet project, which assesses the cross-linguistic validity of frames and investigates crosslinguistic variation in framing. The insights, resources and technologies created by this project provide new possibilities for (industrial) data analysts and researchers from the Humanities and Social Sciences. The project is coordinated by

Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen and the PostDoc will collaborate with two PhDs (to be hired) and the research staff at CLTL and the University of Groningen.


– Further develop and apply the data-to-text method to collect Dutch, English, and Italian texts that frame the same and similar situations, starting from event-registries and structured data on events and automaticallyacquiring texts that make reference to these events.
– Develop an annotation environment that exploits the structured event data shared by different texts, uses the background FrameNet lexicon and ontology and results in faster and more consistent annotation.
– Train and supervise student-assistents that will carry out the annotation with the environment.
– Define crowd-annotation tasks to expand the student annotations.
– Derive a FrameNet lexicon supported by and as an abstraction of the corpus annotations; deploy this lexicon for supporting further annotations.
– Set up an evaluation framework to test the annotation and the lexicon in acquisition, annotation and lexicalisation cycles.
– Co-supervise one PhD in the project.
– Work on the synthesis of the project in colloboration with the Multilingual FrameNet project of Berkeley University.

Requirements: The ideal candidate:

1. has a PhD in (computational) linguistics or computer science
2. has good knowledge and control of the Dutch language and English, preferably also Italian.
3. has a strong computational linguistics background or a computer science background with experience in natural language processing and machine learning
4. has good programming skills
5. can work well in a team
6. preferably has knowledge/experience of/with FrameNet
7. preferably has knowledge and experience in lexicology

Further particulars:

The position is possibly expanded to a full time position with an educational task for the Research Master track Human Language Technology. We aim at starting the project between September 2018 and January 2019. The appointment will be initially for 1 year After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at like:

• remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
• solid pension scheme (ABP);
• a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
• participation in Individual Choices model;
• a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.


The starting salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and depending on experience, range from a minimum of €3238,- gross per month up to a maximum of €3475,- gross per month (salary scale 10) based on a fulltime employment.

For additional informationplease contact:

Piek Vossen phone: +31 20 59 86457


Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by a curriculum vitae and one or two references (name(s) and e-mail address(es). Please send your application before August 15 to:

Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen
Faculty of Humanities
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Applications should be send by email:
Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.