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Are you highly motivated and enthusiastic with expertise in computational linguistics? Are you interested in news recommendation systems and how to improve them by making their suggestions more divers? Would you like to investigate language models that can establish similarity and diversity and see how they can be used best in an interdisciplinary team?  Then please consider applying for this position.

Rethinking News Algorithms

In this project, an interdisciplinary team consisting of experts from Law, Computational Linguistics, Computer Science and Communication Science will study how recommendations and presentation choices can optimize the diversity of consumed news. Will you help us fix the way news is spread in the 21st century?

Specifically, in this project you will work on applying NLP technologies that can identify similarities and differences between news articles.

See for more details on the project. When contacting us with questions (see below for contacting details), please name the project in the subject of your email.

Where current algorithms mainly aim for finding things that are similar to prior consumption, we envision algorithms that optimize between sufficient diversity to keep users well informed and sufficient similarity so that the user is triggered to read (and be satisfied with) the offer. Together with law (ethics) and communication science experts, you will dive various dimensions of diversity (ranging from a different view on a specific event or political decision to diversity in topics in general) and aim to design language models that can identify articles that strike the desired balance between diversity and connection.

Your duties

  • conduct reproducible computational linguistic experiments on language models for diversifying recommendation systems
  • write research articles and present your work, which is to culminate in a successful dissertation, at international conferences 
  • collaborate with the other junior and senior researchers on the team experience in or affinity with working in an interdisciplinary team
  • organize small events such as workshops and colloquia


  • master degree in computational linguistics or a related field (e.g. Artificial Intelligence or Computer Science with focus on NLP)
  • solid programming skills
  • experience in or affinity with working in an interdisciplinary team
  • fluent verbal communication and good writing skills in English
  • knowledge of Dutch is an advantage (but not strictly necessary) 


The research will be carried in a great interdisciplinary team containing experts from computational linguistics, philosophy, law, computer science and communication science. You will become part of a renown computational linguistics lab (, headed by Spinoza laureat Prof. dr. Piek Vossen. The lab is embedded in the gravity project Hybrid Intelligence offering plenty of opportunity to collaborate with reseachers of various universities across the Netherlands on fundamental aspects around collaborate, adaptive, responsible and explainable AI. In this context, you will receive joint supervision by dr. Antske Fokkens (VU) and dr. Suzan Verberne (Leiden University).

For more information on employment conditions, please visit the advertisement on the VU-site


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button on the VU-site and upload

  • your curriculum vitae (including code repository, if available)
  • academic transcripts (including grades)
  • a cover letter with motivation for your application 

until June 1, 2020.

The job interviews are currently planned to take place in the second half of June 2020, most likely they will take place online.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: dr. Antske Fokkens
Position: Associate Professor

Please mention `news recommender project’ explicitly in the subject line of your email when asking questions about this position


If you want to take on this challenge and be part of an exciting team working as a PhD on the Theory of Identity, Reference & Perspective (TIRP) on the forefront of communicating machines, please apply at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


You will build and investigate computational robot models that dynamically personalise communication to make it more efficient and to improve affective bonding of people with robots.

PHD POSITION Subproject-2:  Robot Communication evoking Affective Bonding: PhD2 investigates through quantitative tests and refining the Theory of Identity, Reference and Perspective (TIRP) with robots across various scenarios, combining Big Data models with optimization of personalized data obtained through relation-based language models.


  • create and test adaptive communication models for robots within social contexts
  • carry out your research according to international standards resulting in a PhD dissertation 
  • at least one publication per year in an A or B ranked journal or conference proceedings
  • make your research and experiments publicly available and reproducible.


  • master 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

The research is embedded in the Computational Lexicology and Terminology Lab (, which 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: Within that framework several PhDs are working on the Leolani project, with which the PhD will also collaborate:

Finally, CLTL and the research you are involved in is also embedded in the VU-gravity project on Hybrid Intelligence: 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 at the VU-site and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 1 May 2020.

FTE: 0.8 – 1


CLTL organizing a Meet & Greet HLT/Text Mining master students and more than 20 companies Dec. 13, 2019

MEET & GREET Human Language Technology / Text Mining / CLTL / December 13, 2019

The Computational Lexicology and Terminology Lab (CLTL) of Piek Vossen of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is organising a Meet & Greet where companies and students of our Language Technology Research Master and our Text Mining Master can exchange ideas and get to know each other.

An excellent opportunity to introduce the company or organisation to our students, and for master students to present their research topic or area of expertise to the companies.


12:30 – 13:00 Walk-In / Doors open / Registration & Coffee
13:00 – 13:05 Introduction: Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen – Head CLTL
13:05 – 13:45 Company pitches I
13:45 – 14:15 Student pitches I
14:15 – 14:30 Coffee Break
14:30 – 15:15 Company pitches II
15:15 – 15:45 Student pitches II
15:45 – 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 – 16:45 Company pitches III
16:45 – 18:00 Networking drinks

The one-year Master Text Mining and the two-year Research Master Human Language Technology are programs by CLTL, one of the world’s leading research institutes in Human Language technology.


13:05 – 13:45 Company pitches I:

  • ABN AMRO, Jeroen Das: Product Owner
  • CLOUDFLIGHT (vh Catalysts), Clemens Rath: Location Manager Amsterdam
  • BUNQ BANK, Art Koci: Data Scientist
  • NETHERLANDS ESCIENCE CENTER, Dafne van Kuppevelt: eScience Research Engineer
  • STATISTICS NETHERLANDS (CBS), Arnout van Delden: Programmacoördinator Data Science
  • DELOITTE NEDERLAND, Evert Haasdijk: Senior Manager and AI Expert
  • AMSTERDAM UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTERS (AUMC), location VUmc, Edwin Geleijn: Health Care Innovator

13:45 – 14:15 Student pitches I:

14:30 – 16:15 Company pitches II:

  • DE NEDERLANDSCHE BANK (DNB): Shirley Pfeiffer: Project Coordinator AI
  • PATYNA: Reinier Hakvoort: Adviseur HT / Informatiemanager
  • ING GROEP NV: Flavia Barsotti: Collaboration with Academia / Model Risk Oversight
  • NATIONAL LIBRARY OF THE NETHERLANDS(Koninklijke Bibliotheek), Martijn Kleppe: Advisor Digital Scholarship and InternationalRelations
  • MEDIQUEST / TIMEFF, Daniel Kapitan: Chief Data Scientist
  • MYTOMORROWS, Zoltán Szlávik: AI Research Director
  • SPEAKSEE, Jari Hazelebach: CEO & Co-Founder

15:15 – 15:45 Student pitchesII:

16:00– 16.45 Company pitches III:

  • UNDERLINED, Max Werkhoven: Customer Journey Analytics Consultant
  • TEXTGAIN, Gijs van Beek: Societal & Business Innovator
  • IBM, Benjamin Timmermans: Lead IBM Center for Advanced Studies Benelux
  • TAUS, Amir Kamran: Senior Data Engineer
  • ORACLE, Fabrice Nauze: Senior Manager
  • REDDATA, Marcel Henriquez (Managing Director)


  • CLTL: all staff members
  • ABN AMRO: Karan Chhabra (Technical Lead) + Yassine Karimi (Data Scientist) + Loes Horselenberg (UX Designer) + Willem Don (Copywriter)
  • CLOUDFLIGHT: Milly Muschitiello (Talent Manager and HR operations) + Manuel Knott (Data Science Engineer)
  • BUNQ BANK: Daniela Zamora Uribe (Data Scientist) +Evgeny Mironov (Team Lead)
  • NETHERLANDS ESCIENCE CENTER: Willem van Hage (Technical Lead) + Meiert Grootes (eScience Research Engineer)
  • STATISTICS NETHERLANDS (CBS): Bart Bakker (Programme manager CBS Academy)
  • DELOITTE NEDERLAND B.V: Wesley van Saane (Manager, Deloitte Forensic & Financial Crime)
  • DE NEDERLANDSCHE BANK (DNB): Wessel Reijngoud (Innovation Lab Intern)
  • PATYNA: Femke de Jong (Global Head Wholesale Banking Lending & PCM)
  • ING GROEP NV: Marcel van der Kuil (Collaboration with Academia / Model Risk Oversight)  + Marzieh Bakhshandeh
  • MYTOMORROWS: Robert-Jan Sips (CTO) + Selene Baez Santamaria (Data Scientist/Developer)
  • UNDERLINED: Theo van der Steen (Partner & Data Driven CX Expert)
  • TAUS: Jaap van der Meer (Director) + Dace Dzeguze (Program Manager)
  • ORACLE: Agata Cybulska (Senior Applications Engineer)
  • TOTTA RESEARCH: Erick Wilts (Data Scientist)
  • Tim Barenbrug (Consultant NLP)



Friday December 13, 2019
Main Building: conference room: HG-12A00
Vrije Universiteit
De Boelelaan 1105 
1081 HV Amsterdam 

Routebeschrijving (ov)
Routebeschrijving (auto)


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 




VU University scientists cluster responses NWO’s National Research Agenda

Led by Piek Vossen, a group of scientists at VU University automatically divided 11,700 questions from NWO’s National Research Agenda into clusters. On the basis of language technology and mathematical equations of the most important words, there were slightly over 60 clusters of questions found which at their turn were classified in a few hundred sub-clusters. Important themes are health and energy, but also big data, art, and sports. NWO is happy with this analysis. The VU Topic Browser allows NWO to quickly and efficiently process the large number of responses.

National Science Agenda VU Topic Browser — by Emiel van Miltenburg, Kasper Welbers, Hennie van der Vliet, Wouter van Atteveldt, Piek Vossen
National Science Agenda VU Topic BrowserNational Science Agenda VU Topic Browser The graph shows 60 clusters and a few hundred sub-groups found in 11,700 questions from NWO’s National Research Agenda.

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO): Dutch Science Agenda
Scientists determine the Dutch Science Agenda together with companies, civil society organisations and interested citizens. The agenda consolidates the themes that science will focus on in the coming years. What are the favourable opportunities for Dutch science and how can science contribute to finding solutions for societal challenges and making the most of economic opportunities?