Thursday, 1 December 2011

2 PhD Candidates in Forensic Statistics

Specificaties - (uitleg)
FunctietypesPhD positions
Uren38.0 uren per week
Solliciteer binnen 46 dagen op deze vacature

PhD 1: Combining evidence in legal (forensic) casework

Forensic Statistics has significantly improved logical probabilistic reasoning in forensic evidence interpretation. This has enabled forensic scientists to report the evidential value in a numerical way, regarding source-questions like “whoseDNA is in the sample?”. Important challenges now lie in reporting the value of the combined findings, and addressing activity-questions like “how did theDNA get there?” The methodology that has been developed for forensic evidence can be extended to other types of evidence and reasoning used in court.
The aim of the project is to improve logical probabilistic reasoning both in forensic science and in court. An important tool is the use of Bayesian networks. The project is part of the forensic science program of the Dutch science organisation NWO and is interdisciplinary in nature. Project participants are located at the KdVI at UvA, the department of Mathematics of the VU-University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, and at the department of Criminal Law and Criminology of the University of Groningen.
PhD 2 Forensic Face Recognition
This PhD research in Forensic Statistics aims at developing statistical techniques to determine the evidential value of Forensic Face Recognition. When comparing a facial image from a crime scene with a police photograph, forensic experts pay attention to morphologic-anthropologic features, following a prescribed protocol. Biometric face recognition is an automated process, for example used in access control. It does not use morphologic-anthropologic features, but extracts and compares abstract features, resulting in a quantitative similarity score.
The PhD research is embedded in an NWO-project that combines the fields of forensic face comparison and biometric face recognition in order to develop a (partially) automated system for forensic facial comparison that quantifies the evidential value thus supporting the court to make an objective decision. The participants in this NWO-project are located at the Korteweg-de Vries Institute of the UvA, the department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Twente, and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). Innovative research on the statistical issues within this project is the task of the PhD student we are looking for.

Requirements PhD 1:

We are looking for a candidate with an interest in applied statistics and probability, and in the legal domain. Candidates should have a Master’s degree in pure or applied mathematics, or in applied statistics, e.g. econometrics, chemometrics, psychometrics, biometrics. Fluent English is a prerequisite, fluent Dutch is a plus.
Requirements PhD 2:
The PhD candidate should be interested in applied and mathematical statistics, in biometrics, and in the legal domain. The candidate should have a Master’s degree in mathematics, in statistics, or in a field like biometrics, econometrics, or psychometrics.

The full-time appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The successful applicant will be working under the supervision of prof. dr. M. Sjerps at UvA / NFI and of prof. dr. R. Meester at VU. (PhD 1); prof. dr Chris A.J. Klaassen (UvA) in collaboration with dr ir Raymond Veldhuis (UT) and dr Arnout Ruifrok (NFI) (PhD 2).

The gross monthly salary will range from € 2,042 in the first year to € 2,612 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD students. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 % end-of-year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement  Dutch Universities (CAO) is applicable.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science occupies a leading position internationally in its fields of research and participates in a large number of cooperative programmes with universities, research institutes and businesses. The faculty has a student body of around 3,000 and 1,500 members of staff, spread over eight research institutes and a number of faculty-wide support services. A considerable part of the research is made possible by external funding from Dutch and international organisations and the private sector. The Faculty of Science offers thirteen Bachelor's degree programmes and eighteen Master’s degree programmes in the fields of the exact sciences, computer science and information studies, and life and earth sciences.
Since September 2010, the whole faculty has been housed in a brand new building at the Science Park in Amsterdam. The instalment of the faculty has made the Science Park one of the largest centres of academic research in the Netherlands.

Korteweg-de Vries Institute

The Korteweg-de Vries Institute (KdVI) is the mathematical research institute of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Its research covers many branches of mathematics, ranging from the very pure to the applicable. Cross-fertilization between mathematics and other disciplines is highly valued. Teaching includes forensic statistics as part of the forensic science master program at UvA’s Faculty of Science.

Further information PhD 1:

For further information, please contact prof. dr. M. Sjerps at
Further information PhD 2:
For further information, please contact prof. dr. Chris A.J. Klaassen at
We appreciate you not sending applications to either dr. Sjerps or dr. Klaassen directly. Please use the application procedure on this page instead. Go to:

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