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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

PhD student position in AI & Forensic Science, Utrecht, THE NETHERLANDS

This PhD position is part of the project "Designing and Understanding Forensic Bayesian Networks 
with Arguments and Scenarios" that is funded by the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Research 
in the Forensic Science program ( The project is a cooperation of the 
University of Groningen (Department of Artificial Intelligence) andUtrecht University (Department 
of Information and Computing Sciences) supported by partners from forensic legal practice.

In order to prevent miscarriages of justice such as the infamous Lucia de Berk case, the 
communication between forensic statisticians, crime investigators and lawyers about statistical 
evidence should be improved. It is well-known that lawyers and other non-experts in statistics 
often make serious mistakes when confronted with statistical evidence, while there is ample

evidence that lawyers tend to think in terms of arguments and scenarios. 
Therefore the project aims to develop methods for supporting
argumentation- and narrative-based communication about statistical evidence. Both the design and 
the understanding of models of evidence will be investigated.

This study will be carried out in two subprojects, addressing, respectively, argumentation and 
narrative techniques. Both subprojects take the statistical formalism of Bayesian Networks as 
point of departure. 
In the subproject performed at Utrecht University, argumentation techniques for the design and 
understanding of models of evidence will be developed, based on logical models of argumentation 
developed in Artificial Intelligence.

The project is the first that addresses the communicative gap between forensic statisticians, 
crime investigators and lawyers, by combining Bayesian Networks with Artificial Intelligence 
models of scenario construction and argumentation.

On request, we can send you the full plan for the project. In that case, and for other questions, 
please contact Prof.dr. Henry Prakken.


A successful candidate has a Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, 
Mathematics, Philosophy, or a related field, and has an interest in formal research in 
argumentation, narrative techniques and Bayesian Networks, and their application in forensic 

Conditions of employment

Utrecht University offers a salary of  2,042 gross per month in the first year up to a maximum 
of 2,612 gross per month in the final year. The appointment is for a period of four years, which 
should be finished with a PhD examination. The full time appointment is temporary for 1.5 years 
with the perspective of prolongation for another 2.5 years. After the first year, there will be 
an evaluation of the feasibility of successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three 
years. You and your supervisors will make up a plan for additional education and supervising that 
is specific to your needs.

How to apply:

Send a cover letter (with professional goals and a statement of interest), a curriculum vitae and 
two letters of recommendation (PDF format) to the job application portal before March 17th, 
although applications received after the deadline may be considered.

Starting date: as soon as possible.


The PhD student will be based at Utrecht University (Faculty of Science, Department of Information 
and Computing Sciences, Intelligent Systems group). The group has a world-class reputation in the 
fields of Intelligent AgentsMulti-Agent systems, Argumentation, AI & law, and Bayesian Networks. 
Daily supervision will be performed by Dr. B. Verheij (principal investigator), H. 
Prakken and Dr. S. Renooij.

Additional information

Prof. Dr. Henry Prakken

Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University

More information about the project:

More information about employer Utrecht University on AcademicTransfer.

Direct link to this job opening: