FAQ ICAI Robust Recruiting

About applying and the recruitment process

  1. Where can I find a full list of all topics available?
    You can find all the labs and topics on our website https://icai.ai/labs-robust/.
  2. Where can I find an overview of all available positions?
    You can find all available positions on this page: https://icai.ai/job/.
  3. Can I also propose a new topic for which there is not a lab yet?
    Topics are determined between the partners, and the labs in the ROBUST program are fixed in number. You may also be interested in looking at vacancies in other ICAI labs.
  4. When are the deadlines for the applications and when are most of the positions starting?
    All available positions and their deadlines/starting dates can be found on this page: https://icai.ai/job/. Most positions will start before the end of 2023, but keep an eye on the website for the deadlines of the labs you are particularly interested in.
  5. I want to be informed about updates regarding a specific lab. What should I do?
    Join the mailing list! Via this list you can also add your preferences. Based on your preferences, you will be updated on vacancies posted online. Please fill out this survey with your preferences: https://uva.fra1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ehef42zmO67qlv0.
  6. Should I apply separately for the labs in ICAI?
    Yes! You apply for a specific PhD position. This means that you can apply for different PhD positions within different labs.
  7. What documents are generally required in order to apply for a position?
    This will differ per lab, but usually an application should include a cover letter in which you motivate your choice for the position to which you’re applying, your curriculum vitae and your publications and/or MSc. thesis. Always double-check the vacancy text to make sure you submit all requested documents. 
  8. Can I still apply if I am not yet done with my masters?
    If you are graduating soon, say this year, then yes: do apply! If you have a longer period to go, these positions may already be filled.
  9. How long does it take to start a position on average for a successful application (from application deadline to start date)?
    On average, there will be 1 to 3 months between application deadline and start date. Of course, this can differ per lab and how the process is arranged internally and visa requirements if needed. Do not be afraid to ask this during your job interview!

About the labs and life as PhD student

  1. How do you find a research question that you will be motivated to work on for 4 years?
    A research agenda is never set in stone. Usually a problem area is identified and the plans are adjusted along the way. That is exactly what research is about and where the challenge lies! ROBUST research questions are clearly articulated; take a look at the vacancies and see what looks interesting to you!
  2. How many PhD students are usually in one lab?
    Each lab will consist of 5 PhD students. Four students will pursue technical questions, and one student will approach the problems of AI from a social sciences/humanities perspective.
  3. Is it common to work together on a project with other PhD students?
    While each student will have their own individual research problem, working together will be encouraged! You will be stimulated to keep each other posted, learn from each other, and exchange knowledge. 
  4. What does the supervision/guidance look like?
    Each student will have an academic and an industry supervisor. Students will meet weekly with a lab manager to discuss progress in the current work, and they will have tailor-made arrangements for meetings with their supervisors both from the academic and industry side. These may be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, and the setup may change over time, depending on the needs of the student.
  5. How close is the collaboration between the labs considering the many locations?
    Exchanges between different labs will be stimulated and encouraged, with multiple events focused on different aspects of the program planned by ICAI. These will take place at locations around the country, usually with an online option in case travel is not possible. Students are also encouraged to reach out to their peers in other labs and organize their own events to discuss their research and their experience in the labs.
  6. How does the collaboration with the industry take place? What is the distribution of working on real world problems and publishing papers?
    Students are employed and enrolled as PhD students at the university. The university has a contract with the industry partner and how close that collaboration is will vary between labs. Most will expect students to spend 1-2 days a week at the industry partners, with more direct supervision and opportunities to work directly on real problems, others might be a bit less. Both hands-on work on real-world problems (e.g., validation, testing on company side, etc.) AND publications will be important in the ROBUST labs. We value co-productions between academic and industrial collaborators; they could be papers, datasets, tutorials, benchmarks. 
  7. Are there any types of training programs or skills classes focused on PhD students available? Training and skill-building activities, community-building events, and mobility activities designed to facilitate exchanges and internships are being planned for PhD students in the ROBUST program. 
  8. How about living on a PhD salary in the Netherlands?
    Salaries (including annual cost-of-living increases) will follow the VSNU guidelines located here: https://www.nwo.nl/en/salary-tables, and terms of employment are published in the text of each vacancy.Off course, cost of living can vary considerably due to each individual’s personal preferences and situation, but a PhD salary should be sufficient to live comfortably, if modestly, in the Netherlands.
  9. What are the prospects in R&D in industry after finishing the PhD?
    One of our goals is to keep talent in the Dutch AI ecosystem! About 20% of the graduates will stay in academia. The other 80% will find their way in industry, start-ups, public sector or in non-profit organizations. ROBUST will offer career guidance, and chances to connect to future opportunities through various national and European networks, for PhD students approaching the completion of their studies.
  10. Where are the PhD students employed?
    The students are employed by the knowledge institutes. It can be that you have a guest status at the industry partner, but you will be employed by the knowledge institute and have a contract within your institute. It may be required to have a guest status at the industry partner to be able to do your research on the premises of the industry partner and work closely with the partner.

Other questions

I have more questions! Whom can I contact about ROBUST recruiting?

Please get in touch with us at recruiting-icai-dacs@maastrichtuniversity.nl, and make sure you sign up for our mailing list with this form https://uva.fra1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ehef42zmO67qlv0.