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PhD position in Logic, Coalgebra and Semantics of Computing (1.0 FTE) (221588)

Job description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 4-year PhD position in Logic and Semantics of Computing at the Fundamental Computing group at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, University of Groningen.

We are looking for an excellent PhD candidate who is interested in doing research at the interface of mathematical logic, program semantics and (co)algebra. Coalgebra is a branch of applied category theory that provides a framework for reasoning uniformly about many different types of systems, including automata, transition systems and Markov decision processes. There is a beautiful relationship between coalgebra and modal logic which mirrors the one between algebra and equational logic, and the framework of coalgebraic modal logic allows us to study modal logics at the abstract level of coalgebras. Potential research topics include coalgebraic dynamic logics for compositional reasoning about program correctness, and (co)algebraic foundations of reinforcement learning. However, the PhD candidate will have a great deal of freedom to define their own research project.

The PhD candidate will be supervised by prof.dr. Helle Hvid Hansen <h.h.hansen>. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact her to discuss their interests and potential research topics.

As a PhD candidate, you will conduct original research leading to a PhD thesis, completed within the 4 years of the appointment and defended at the University of Groningen. You are expected to present your research results at seminars and international conferences, and to publish in conference proceedings and journals. You are expected to make a small contribution (at most 10%) to teaching e.g. as a teaching assistant or supervising student projects.


The successful candidate should have:

● a Master’s degree or equivalent (e.g., Honours degree) in logic, computer science, mathematics or another relevant field
● an excellent academic record, and a keen interest in doing fundamental research
● a strong background in logic or theoretical computer science is essential, but prior knowledge of coalgebra is not required; only the motivation to learn
● good communication skills in English (written and spoken).


Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 35,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

The PhD candidate will join the Fundamental Computing group at the Department of Computer Science at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. The Fundamental Computing group conducts internationally leading research on formal methods using concepts and theories from logic, concurrency theory, discrete mathematics and category theory. The general aim is to improve the correctness and reliability of software, and further develop the foundations of computing.

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

● a salary of € 2,434 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,111 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time working week
● a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
● the ‘30% ruling’ tax benefit may apply to non-Dutch applicants
● a full-time position (1.0 FTE). The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement, and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.


Applications should include the following documents submitted as PDFs:

● letter of motivation describing why you are interested in this position (1 page)
● CV (including 2 academic references with contact information and affiliation)
● a research proposal (at most 2 pages) outlining a main topic and goal
● an electronic copy or a link to a Master’s thesis (possibly a draft), and (if available) a Bachelor thesis
● copies of official grade transcripts from your bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

You can submit your application until 29 November 11:59pm / before 30 November 2021 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Shortlisting of candidates will commence immediately after the deadline. The intended starting date is early 2022 (exact date negotiable).

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Prof. Helle Hvid Hansen, h.h.hansen

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.