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PhD Scholarship in Multi-Agent Decision Making (B063218)


The University of Groningen has an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education, offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and 5,500 employees to develop their own individual talents. The University of Groningen is proud to be among the global elite with a classification in the top 100 of the Shanghai ARWU, the THE World University Rankings, the U.S. News ‘Best Global Universities Ranking’, and the NTU Ranking. It marks the 24th place in the global ranking of Best Places to Work in Academia, scoring 3rd best in Europe and 5th non-US university. Joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.
The PhD position is available in the Multi-Agent Systems Group in the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering (ALICE) at the University of Groningen. The candidate will work under the supervision of Prof. dr. Davide Grossi.

The Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) Group aims to construct new theory and computational models of higher-order social cognition to enhance the development of intelligent interaction between people and computer systems by supporting their abilities to reason about one another.
The MAS group also builds computer models of argumentation in order to increase knowledge about natural argumentation, and studies the design of argumentation support software both in relation to actual task performance and in relation to formal logical models.
The Multi-Agent Systems Group applies logic in both well-known and novel ways. Logic provides a tested method to specify desired behavior of computational multi-agent systems in so-called belief-desire-intention (BDI) systems. We also use epistemic logics to design communication protocols and non-monotic logics to describe legal reasoning. In our recent work, we aim to design cognitively plausible logics for higher-order social cognition and to use logical representations as evolvable forms in agent-based simulations of cognitive evolution.

Scholarship opportunities

The research institute ALICE of the Faculty of Science and Engineering offers one scholarship PhD position for the most talented and motivated national and international students.

Candidates are invited to write and develop their own research project within the scope of the proposed topic listed below. Being part of a cutting-edge research programme, they will receive excellent training in the form of hands-on instruction, advanced courses and summer/winterschools, complemented by workshops on generic research and transferable skills as well as teaching training. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and conference presentations, and to describe the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within four years.

In human groups (e.g., juries, committees, assemblies), voting is typically supported by a pre-vote deliberative phase that ‘pre-processes’ individual opinions before they are expressed as ballots for a voting rule. While the application of voting in AI is by now widely established, deliberation is yet to be systematically understood in its mathematical and computational aspects. The high-level goal of the current project is to lay the theoretical groundwork for modelling, analysing and designing how opinions are exchanged and evolve, within a group of autonomous decision-makers, toward a collective decision.


Successful candidates will have completed a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics, logic, or theoretical economics. They have good command of English (oral and written), are enthusiastic and have the ability to work in an interdisciplinary team, have a passion for science, are highly motivated, possess excellent communication skills and an affinity for writing scientific papers and delivering presentations. In addition to these general qualifications, specific research projects may require specific qualifications, to be discussed with the intended supervisors.


The PhD student will be enrolled in the PhD Scholarship Programme and receive a scholarship of € 2,099 per month (gross) from the University of Groningen for a period of four years. Information about the terms and conditions of the PhD Scholarship Programme can be found via:

The scholarship PhD student will participate in the Graduate School of Science training programme for PhD students and will draw up a personal training and supervision plan together with his or her supervisor. The Graduate School also provides a progress monitoring scheme to ensure an efficient PhD trajectory resulting in a PhD thesis within four years. A Career Perspectives curriculum is part of the training, which aims to prepare students for their (academic or non-academic) careers after the PhD trajectory.


Please upload your complete application in English as a single PDF-file until 25 June 23.59h / before 26 June 2018 Dutch local time. Please upload your entire application as "letter of motivation" by means of the application form (click on 'Apply' below on the advertisement on the university website).

The submission should contain the following:

1. a cover letter introducing yourself, describing your motivation and qualifications to conduct scientific research, your expectations of the PhD programme and your choice for the particular project
2. a full CV demonstrating academic excellence, including publications and presentations (if applicable), and a copy of your passport
3. a certified copy or scan of your MSc diploma (or equivalent; provide a certified University letter stating when your graduation will be if between the application deadline and start of the project) and academic records
4. proof of sufficient competence in English
5. names and contact details of two academic references
6. a research idea of 500 words. After the initial selection, only top candidates for the position will be invited to independently write a research proposal of no more than 2 pages in the context of the indicated research direction as listed above.


Deadline for application: June 26th 2018

Notification email on shortlist selection: July 2nd, 2018

Writing assignment top candidates: July 4th, 2018

Interviews: July 6th, 2018

Announcement of selected/rejected candidates: week of July 6th, 2018

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

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