PhD In Philosophy | Epistemology and Ethics in working with Conversational AI | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences | 1.0 FTE

Research / Academic

We are seeking a highly qualified PhD candidate with a background in philosophy to join our research team and pursue groundbreaking research in philosophy with a focus on the epistemology and ethics of Conversational AI. If you are the successful candidate, you will participate in the development of new techniques and methodologies for the responsible development and use of trustworthy Conversational AI systems to support expert scientific teams in their work. You will use methods and conceptual frameworks from philosophy (e.g. social epistemology), cognitive science, ethics, and responsible innovation studies (e.g. design for values) to investigate how experts can work with Conversational AI in an ethically and epistemologically sound fashion.

In this role, you will work closely with data scientists, developers and the Lab’s industrial partners. You will be part of one of the 17 new ICAI labs, named GENIUS (Generative Enhanced Next-Generation Intelligent Understanding Systems) consisting of 5 PhD students, who will collaborate to create human-AI knowledge engineering systems to support collaborative knowledge synthesis, integration of distributed knowledge, knowledge-graph and services powered generative AI, neurosymbolic reasoning, and hybrid human-AI ethics.

The GENIUS lab will bring together two of the strongest groups on human-AI knowledge engineering in the Netherlands (UM and Delft), with industry partners DSM and, to develop effective and trustworthy generative AI technologies in a variety of contexts including food innovation and supply chains.

The GENIUS lab is part of the large LTP ROBUST program “Trustworthy AI-based Systems for Sustainable Growth” consortium, comprising 17 universities, 19 industry partners, and 15 collaborating partners representing diverse stakeholder groups. You will gain valuable experience working with an industry partner, and will be able to tap into a wealth of networking, career development, and training opportunities in conjunction with ICAI, the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Amsterdam.

This PhD position is embedded in the Maastricht University Science and Technology Studies Research Group (MUSTS). There you will be supervised by Dr. Darian Meacham and Dr Massimiliano Simons. You will be provided with training on general academic skills in the faculty’s Graduate School. Further training is available through the Dutch national research school in philosophy. You will also work closely with the researchers at the Maastricht University Institute of Data Science (IDS) and TUDelft. The co-supervisors at Delft are Prof dr. Jeroen van den Hoven and Dr Stefan Buijsman. As the PhD will entail a close collaboration between Maastricht University and TUDelft, an extended research stay at TUDelft as well as internship with another partner in the project will be a component of the PhD.

We expect you to:

  • Perform scientific research towards completion of a PhD in conversational AI, with a focus on ethics, responsible innovation, value-sensitive design, social epistemology and quality of work in the context of generative or conversational AI.
  • Publish results at top-tier (international) conferences and in international journals;
  • Work independently, as well as collaboratively in both research oriented and in applied settings;
  • Assist with educational tasks (e.g., teach at undergraduate level, assist labs, supervise Master students and internships).


  • Masters or M.Sc. degree (completed, or to be completed shortly) in Philosophy, Ethics, Responsible Innovation, Computer Science, or equivalent;
  • Demonstrated (e.g., through publications, presentations, thesis topic code, projects, etc.) interest and experience with the field of AI and, at least one of, ethics, philosophy, responsible innovation, value-sensitive design, epistemology.
  • Proficiency in English (oral and written);
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a research-oriented environment;

If your profile does not completely meet the above criteria, but you are interested and you want to show us your unique perspective on why you would fit this project, we would still like to hear from you.

Salary Benefits:

As a PhD Camadidate at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, you will be employed by the most international university of the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:

  • Good employment conditions. The position is in grated in scale P according to the UFO profile PhD Candidate with corresponding salary ranging from € 2.770 to € 3.539 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus are applicable.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1.0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • As Family-friendly University, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, Click here

Work Hours:

38 hours per week


Grote Gracht 90-92