Job Opportunity: Postdoc Machine Learning

August 20th, 2018

The position

The post-doctoral researcher’s work will be part of a collaborative project, externally funded by the Lilly Research Award Program. The overarching objective of the position is to enhance sleep research by developing an innovative open analytical tool for quantifying human sleep from high resolution wearable movement sensor data. These data are now widely collected in population studies, which typically involve thousands of participants who are asked to wear the movement sensor on their wrist continuously for a week. The candidate will work in an international and inter-disciplinary team of health researchers in Europe and the United States, and data science and software engineering specialists at the Netherlands eScience Center in Amsterdam.

Enhancing sleep research by developing an open analytical tool for quantifying human sleep

Scientific background of the position

Sleep is fundamental for human health and wellbeing. Poor sleep may present a significant risk factor for the development of dementia and other illnesses. Existing research methods to quantify sleep under real life conditions are limited by their reliance on subjective self-reported data or use wearable movement sensors for whom only closed software is available. Additionally, little is known about how to best define and quantify the fragmentation (scattering) of sleep over time as an indicator of sleep quality. The post-doc will lead the development of a probabilistic classifier for sleep and sleep depth using existing ground truth datasets, explore how sleep fragmentation can best be defined and quantified, work with project partners to apply the newly developed tools to real-life large datasets, and lead on papers describing the new technology. The existing code base is in R (R package GGIR), which already includes a data cleaning pipeline and a heuristic binary sleep classification approach. Where possible, the candidate will use this as a starting point for their work. All code developed in the project will be released as open source software.

If the candidate accepts a full-time (38-hour) position, they will be expected to work for 15% of the time on other eScience projects to broaden their eScience experience and impact to other fields of science. If the candidate prefers a 32-hour work week, then this does not apply.

We require

  • Finished or close to finishing a PhD in an analytical discipline (Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Bioinformatics, Physics, Computational biology, Epidemiology, etc.);
  • Experience with programming in R, Python, and/or C++;
  • Experience with advanced data analysis;
  • Demonstrated scientific writing skills.

We desire

  • Experience with machine learning techniques and/or probability theory;
  • Experience with wearable sensors, sleep assessment and/or health research.


  • Initiative taking;
  • Creative / Innovative problem solver;
  • Keen to learn about new technologies and ways of doing things;
  • Strong team player with excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Working conditions

We offer a position at the Netherlands eScience Center initially for 1 year within the collective agreement for Dutch Research Institutes (cao-OI) and, under the condition of sufficient progress can be extended to a two-year fixed period. When the candidate fits well with experience needed in other projects of the Center there will be other opportunities after the end of the Lilly project. The candidate will be based at the Netherlands eScience Center in Amsterdam.

The salary for the position is € 3.352,- gross per month growing to € 3.477,- in the second year, based on a 38 hour working week working week (salary scale 10). Holiday pay amounts to 8% of the gross salary and we also offer a 13th month of salary as an end-of-year payment.


The eScience Center offers an interesting and challenging working environment with options for personal development. You will work in an international team with an informal but creative and ambitious atmosphere.

The eScience Center has an active diversity policy and would like to hire persons with a background that is underrepresented at the eScience Center. We therefore encourage women and minorities to apply.

For more information about this opportunity you can contact Vincent van Hees, eScience Research Engineer at the Netherlands eScience Center, by emailing Please send your resume and application letter before the 11th of September 2018 to Additional information may also be found at

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