Post-doctoral researcher Low-Resource NLP & Computational Modeling of Language

Department

Faculty of Arts

Organisation

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, University of Groningen, V23.0848

Job description

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher position within the research project “Polyglot Machines: Human-like Learning of Morphologically Rich Languages”, financed by a NWO-VIDI Talent Grant and coordinated by Principal Investigator (PI) Dr Arianna Bisazza. This is an interdisciplinary project at the intersection of Computational Linguistics/Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computational Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition.

Despite the impressive advances made possible by neural networks, current NLP systems are still far from displaying the learning abilities of humans in many languages. By contrast, children around the world acquire extremely diverse languages in comparable time spans and from considerably less linguistic input than that required by neural models.

Recent work has obtained promising results by training a downsized Transformer-based language model on a corpus of child-directed language (CDL). Inspired by this finding, the project will build a bridge between the fields of neural language modeling and human language acquisition, with a specific focus on morphologically rich and other types of languages where only limited CDL data exists. Among other methodologies, an artificial language learning paradigm will be used to simulate the learning of typologically diverse languages and evaluate the effect of known CDL properties on the acquisition of morphology and other language aspects.

Your tasks will include:

● reviewing language acquisition literature and detecting salient features of CDL
● developing typologically diverse artificial languages and assessing their learnability by neural language models
● simulating CDL properties in artificial languages
● collaborating with Language Acquisition researchers interested in the simulation of human language learning with neural networks
● applying insights obtained from artificial languages to real low-resource NLP tasks.

The exact list of tasks can vary based on the expertise of the successful applicant.

Research environment
You will be carrying out your research in the context of the Computational Linguistics group, which is part of the Centre for Language and Cognition of the University of Groningen (CLCG).
An important part of your work will be conducted together with the PI and the PhD student that will be hired for the same project. Collaboration is also possible with other PhD students supervised by the PI, as well as other members of CLCG.
Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 34,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is built on a long-standing tradition of four centuries. Our mission is to be a top-ranking faculty with both an excellent education and world-quality research, with a strong international orientation, firmly rooted in the North of the Netherlands. We build and share knowledge benefits to society. We work at a modern, broad and international institution, educating over 5000 Dutch and international students to become forward-looking, articulate and independent academics. We form a hardworking and diverse team of 700 staff members.

CLCG
The Centre for Language and Cognition of the University of Groningen (CLCG) is the institutional home for all the linguistic research carried out within the Faculty of Arts. The Computational Linguistics group of CLCG provides a vibrant working atmosphere with state-of-the-art research in all major areas of Natural Language For more information see website:.https://www.rug.nl/research/clcg/

Requirements

● a PhD degree in any area related to the tasks (such as Computational Linguistics, Computational Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition)
● aptitude for interdisciplinary research
● an independent, proactive work ethic and team playing skills
● excellent academic writing skills in English
● not required, but a big plus: experience with computational morphology and/or artificial language learning with human participants.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (https://www.universiteitenvannederland.nl/en/collective-labour-agreement-of-dutch-universities)

● a salary, depending on qualifications and work experience, between € 3,226 and € 4,332 (salary scale 10.7) gross per month
● a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
● an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
● a temporary 1.0 FTE appointment for a specified period of 1 year, renewable for up to 2 more years (so up to 3 years in total) following positive evaluation
● excellent work-life balance.

For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check: https://www.rug.nl/about-us/work-with-us/

The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). For more detailed information about working conditions and working for the University of Groningen, please check: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/work-with-us/new-staff/

Job Application

Do you meet the requirements above? If yes, your application should include: ● a motivation letter in which you describe why you wish to do this research, and why you are the right person to do it ● a full curriculum vitae, demonstrating academic excellence, and including publications ● a research proposal fitting to the theme of the project and reflecting your own research interests (1 or 2 pages max, excluding references) ● contact details of two academic referees. You may apply for this position until 15 February 11:59PM / before 16 February 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/policy-and-strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/ Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/nl/sollicitatiecode and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen. Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

A. (Arianna) Bisazza (for questions about the position)
a.bisazza@rug.nl

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0848

Digital application form