PhD position AI & Forensic Science – Utrecht University

(second call for applications)

PhD position Artificial Intelligence and Forensic Science (Utrecht
University; 1,0 fte)

Job description

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) and Utrecht 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 contexts.

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 Agents, Multi-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.

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