Bart Bogaerts

Dr. Bart Bogaerts

Assistant Professor

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I'm hiring a PhD student to work on reasoning with distributed data, get more info here!

PhD Position in Computer Science Focused on Reasoning with Distributed Data

The AI Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels invites applications for a PhD position in computer science. This position focuses on reasoning with distributed data, including topics such as collaborative query answering, combining pesonal and open data, incentives, trust, confidence, and complexity.

Job description

The AI Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel offers a strong research environment spanning a wide range of research topics such as reinforcement learning, game theory, natural language processing, evolution of speech, computational creativity, and knowledge representation and reasoning.

The PhD student will join the research group of Bart Bogaerts, whose research focuses on various aspects of knowledge representation and reasoning. The project in question (at least the part to be tackled by the student in question) is on the border between knowledge representation and reasoning on the one hand, and database theory on the other hand. The PhD student will focus on various aspects of reasoning with distributed data. First of all, languages will be studied and developed in which different agents can declare their data/knowledge capabilities, and under which conditions (for instance related to cost or usage of the data) they are willing to provide data, i.e., to answer queries from other agents. Secondly, algorithms will be researched that combine data from different agents in order to answer queries in a distributed fashion. An important aspect in the development of these algorithms is the fact that statically, it might not even be known be which entities can answer certain queries and hence that also meta-information might need to be queried. Furthermore, these algorithms should can be optimized with respect to various criteria, e.g. with respect to the cost, communtation overhead, or confidence in the final result. This research is applicable in many domains; in this project we will develop proofs of concept mainly in the domain of healthcare; in particular on personal data management.

This research project is part of the AI Flanders initiative, in which it is part of the work package on Distributed Data Intelligence in the grand challenge Multi-Agent Collaborative AI. Withing this initiative, the student will work closely together with Jan Van den Bussche (UHasselt), Ruben Verborgh (UGent), and for the healthcare application with VITO.


We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher.

As an employee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel you will work in a dynamic, diverse and multilingual environment. Our green campus is located in the centre of Brussels, the lively capital of Belgium and Europe. Depending on your experience and academic merits you will receive a salary according to the official pay scales. Hospitalisation insurance and free use of public transport for travel to and from work are standard employment benefits. We have extensive sporting facilities which are at your disposal and a nursery is within walking distance. More information is available at the VUB job website.

Contract: full-time research grant for one year, renewable on an annual basis for a maximum of four years. Extension of the contract is subject to the agreement of the doctoral committee. Remuneration is at the level of a full-time research assistant at a Flemish university (i.e. approximately € 2.000 net per month) depending on personal situation, and includes contributions for social security.

The starting date is negotiable, but preferrably as soon as possible.


To be eligible to apply for this position, applicants need to have or be close to obtaining an MSc degree. A suitable background is, for instance, a degree in computer science, or in mathematics.

The successful candidate is expected to have a strong background and passionate interest in computer science. Problem solving skills and creativity are a must. Practical programming skills are also very important.

Applicants must be strongly motivated for doctoral studies; should possess the ability to work independently and perform critical analysis, and also have good levels of cooperative and communicative abilities. They must also have a very good command of English in writing and speaking to be able to participate in international collaborations and to publish and present research results in international conferences and journals.

How to apply

The PhD candidate will be selected on the basis of their expertise, work experience, and qualifications. Use this form to upload the following documents: (note that in the form, you can simultaneously apply for other jobs related to AI flanders; more info can be found here).

  • A one-page motivation letter explaining the candidate’s interest in pursuing a PhD on the chosen topic
  • curriculum vitae listing all academic qualifications, relevant research experience and previous publications

Further information

General information on doing a PhD in Brussels can be found at Information on the AI Lab can be found at

For any inquiries with respect to the scientific part, please contact
Bart Bogaerts, Assistant Professor
+32 2 629 37 06