PhD/Analyst Vacancy - OPEN

The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) is developing advanced real-world policy applications to help solve urgent societal challenges. With our team of interdisciplinary analysts from the world’s leading universities, we develop a portfolio of top-notch, data-intensive, quantitative, and causal political risk models. Our data lab hosts and hones our capability for the analysis, modelling, and computation of relevant political, security and conflict risk metrics, as well as our competencies for formulating and implementing appropriate risk measures.

In collaboration with the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), HCSS is offering a paid PhD position. As part of his/her PhD research, the PhD candidate will work on the development, validation and deployment of a set of predictive models of violent conflict that enable the optimization of the efficacy of causal interventions under a range of causal, strategic, and political constraints using real world data. Alongside the PhD research, the PhD candidate will apply these models to help solve real world problems confronted by Dutch foreign and security policymakers, including climate security. Following the successful completion of the four-year project, the candidate will have earned a PhD and gained valuable professional experience in solving urgent public policy challenges.

The PhD candidate will be supervised by Professor Dr. Thomas Bäck, head of the Natural Computing Research Group at LIACS, Assistant Professor Dr. Anna Kononova (LIACS), and Dr. Ninoslav Malekovic, Chief Data Scientist at HCSS.

Requirements

Candidates should have a MSc Degree in computer science, mathematics or statistics and demonstrated affinity for solving quantitative problems. He/she should also demonstrate strong transferable, programming skills, as well as a keen interest in public policy research.

Our candidate meets the following criteria:

  • MSc degree in one of the following disciplines: computer science, mathematics, statistics.
  • Strong experience in data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and/or optimization
  • Fluency in at least two of the languages: R, Python, Scala, Julia, Java, C#, and/or C++
  • Prior experience with dashboarding, visualization, and/or web design and development
  • Prior experience in software development and engineering is a strong plus
  • Data management and engineering skills
  • Very good communication skills in English, both orally and in writing
  • Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong work ethic and willingness to learn
  • An affinity for international policy research
  • The ability to interpret data
  • First-principles thinking

Successful applicants will be asked to provide a certificate of good conduct (‘Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag’), which is available from The Netherlands Ministry of Justice.

Practical Information

The PhD/analyst position is paid. The PhD/analyst position is for four years. Alongside the PhD research, the PhD candidate will contribute to the application of the models to real world policy problems in the context of HCSS work for clients.

Application Procedure

Your application should be in English. We will only consider complete applications. To apply, send the following items to info@hcss.nl, using ‘PhD Role 1/2021’ as the subject line:

  • A cover letter, succinctly explaining why you are the best candidate for the PhD role
  • A portfolio of previous data projects, including the code (or a GitHub address)
  • A summary of the initial research proposal (1 page maximum)
  • A resume, including a list of references
  • Official academic transcripts
  • One writing sample

Eligible applicants will be invited for an interview.

Applicants are invited to submit their application before 1 March 2021 or until the vacancy is filled.

Download: Annex to the HCSS-LIACS PhD Vacancy

 

About HCSS

The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies is an independent think tank that provides strategic advice to governments, non-governmental organizations and corporations. We provide practical solutions for challenges in a fast-changing world. Our multidisciplinary research agenda covers international and national security, defense planning, cybersecurity, resource and energy issues, and broader geopolitical and geo-economic developments. We conduct our research guided through innovative and data-driven approaches. HCSS works independently and in collaboration with its network of affiliated experts. HCSS is based in The Hague, the Netherlands, the international city of peace and justice, where the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are located. The Hague has a large expat community, as the city is home to many international organizations, NGOs, and academic institutes. It is also the seat of the Dutch government and Ministries of Justice and Security, Foreign Affairs, and Defense, which are important clients of HCSS.

About LIACS

The Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science is the Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Institute in the Faculty of Science of Leiden University. We offer courses at the Bachelor and Master of Science level in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, ICT in Business, Media Technology, and Bioinformatics. According to an independent research visitation, we are one of the foremost computer science departments of the Netherlands. We strive for excellence in a caring institute, where excellence, fun, and diversity go hand in hand. We offer a clear and inviting career path to young and talented scientists with the ambition to grow. For more information about LIACS, see http://liacs.leidenuniv.nl.

 

Annex to the HCSS-LIACS PhD Vacancy (January 2021): An outline of the problems to be solved in the PhD project in application domain terms

The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) develops conflict and security policy modeling applications. We use causal modeling to identify and estimate causes of violent political conflicts. For example, in our ongoing award-winning, “Water, Peace, and Security” project, we identify and estimate causal effects of water, food, energy, and climate risks on violent political conflicts. Our effort to casually model violent conflict is also intended to generate a taxonomy of different pathways to violent conflict. Moreover, we use causal modeling to specify and optimize efficacy of causal interventions into such conflicts. Hence, our objective is dual: First, we want to get a better grip on causality in complex social systems. Second, we want to assess how policymakers can optimally intervene into causes of distinct types of violent conflicts.

Along these lines, we want to develop, validate, and deploy causal models that identify and estimate different natural conflict pathways using existing domain knowledge. At the same time, we want to optimize the efficacy of interventions into causes of violent conflicts under a host of causally relevant constraints. Some of these constraints are natural while others are derived from policy.

In this latter context, we assess how to inoculate a causal intervention into a violent conflict against attacks that are intended to deprive the intervention of its efficacy. Our objective is to optimally trade the intervention’s efficacy for its resilience to being strategically contested. We are subjecting the optimization of the intervention’s efficacy to strategic interaction among adversarial policymakers.

Furthermore, we analyze how to inoculate a causal intervention into a violent conflict against voting and agenda attacks that are intended to deprive the intervention of its efficacy. Our objective is to optimally trade the intervention’s efficacy for its political feasibility. Not only are we subjecting the optimization of the intervention’s efficacy to the policymakers’ strategic interaction, but also to the intervention’s dependence on the tally of policymakers’ votes. Specifically, by formulating the intervention as one of several interventions on a governing body’s voting agenda, we are embedding the strategic interaction-related constraints into the governing body.

Finally, solutions to the above problems apply optimization to causal modeling of conflict. Validation of such solutions requires causal models of several conflict pathways to be identified and estimated, before the efficacy of a causal intervention into each of these conflict pathways can be respectively specified and optimized.

Therefore, the doctoral research should result in detection of causal pathways that lead to a violent conflict in complex social systems, optimization of causal interventions into such pathways, as well as their optimization in the light of adversarial strategies. Thus, the scientific contribution to be made requires expertise in causality, optimization, and conflict modeling.

HCSS PR & Communication Internship - CLOSED

The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) is looking for an enthusiastic PR, Marketing & Communications intern, to start February 1st. 

HCSS offers a dynamic internship in an international organization, where you will work on different topics such as global trends, international security, cyber security and resource scarcity. This is not your run-of-the-mill ‘get coffee and copy some papers’ internship: at HCSS you will experience what it’s like to be part of a small team of professionals in a fast paced environment.

As a PR intern you actively contribute to developing and executing communication strategies for HCSS activities, projects, publications and other products.

Responsibilities include, amongst others:

  • creating and drafting social media content;
  • updating and maintaining the social media channels (twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc);
  • proofreading articles, papers, (powerpoint) presentations and reports, and formatting into our housestyle;
  • drafting of press briefings and newsletters;
  • supporting HCSS media monitoring;
  • recording and editing podcasts;
  • updating and maintaining the website through our CMS;
  • help with organizing and logistics of events, such as seminars, conferences, roundtables and expert meetings;
  • designing banners and other visuals for promotional purposes.

The deadline for the application is Sunday the 31st of January 2021 (23:59) and the start date of the internship is the 1st of February 2021.

Required Skills:

Candidates should have/are:

  • fluent in Dutch; an excellent verbal and written command of English is highly desirable. HCSS is an internationally oriented thinktank, however, much of our communication is still conducted in Dutch;
  • in pursuit of a degree in journalism, communications, political science, international relations or similar;
  • a proven interest in the field of geopolitics and (international) security, and in communication and PR;
  • experience with multimedia, social media and/or audio/visual tools and programs is highly desirable (canva, photoshop, tweetdeck, buffer, audacity, mailchimp, wordpress, drupal, soundcloud, etc).

We are looking for creative and proactive personalities with a hands-on mentality; due to tight deadlines, the pace is often high. You will be guided by the Communications Department and our analysts, but you will also get your fair share of responsibilities and freedom. We are an innovative company and therefore always open to new ideas.

Eligibility:

  • Candidates must be enrolled as a student during the entire duration of the internship. Without a proof of enrollment, valid for the entire duration of the internship, you are not eligible and your application will not be considered.
  • An internship period of six months is highly preferred, although shorter periods can be discussed. Please indicate your availability in your cover letter.
  • Interns should be able to commit to working 40 hours a week.
  • Successful candidates are asked to provide a certificate of good conduct (‘Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag’) by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and proof of enrollment valid for the entire duration of the internship. Candidates residing outside of the Netherlands should provide a certificate from their country of residence.

Practical information

Apply by sending the following documents to info@hcss.nl using “PR Internship 2/2021” as the subject line:

  • A curriculum vitae, including references with contact details;
  • A cover letter, indicating your availability;
  • Proof of enrollment valid for the entire duration of the internship;
  • A recent written text in English, preferably a press release, news article or a short blog (max 1 A4);
  • Any other examples of your creativity are always welcome.

HCSS only considers candidates that submit a complete application and fulfill all eligibility requirements. Successful applicants will be invited for an interview.

The HCSS internship is paid.

In the interest of the successful candidate’s learning trajectory, the internship will be carried out at the HCSS office in The Hague, insofar as this is feasible given the current travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Potential working arrangements can be discussed during the interview process.

For more information please contact the Communications Office, at 070-318 4840.

 

HCSS General Internship - CLOSED

The HCSS internship is a dynamic and varied opportunity in research, analysis, data, communication, design, networking, copy writing, and policy development. We are an independent think tank specialized in global trends, security, and geo-economics. Interns contribute to high-impact products for clients including governments, international organizations, research organizations, the private sector, and NGOs.

The deadline for the application is Monday the 4th of January 2021 (23:59) for a February 2021 start date.

The HCSS internship offers an excellent springboard for future careers in a wide range of fields, interns are involved as full-fledged team members in research-projects. Activities can range from conducting background research, data collection and analysis, co-writing reports and papers, to being involved in the organization of workshops and conferences. This way, interns gain valuable work experience in a professional environment, which helps them in their future development and careers in both the public and private sector. Also, the HCSS internship offers the opportunity to build and expand your professional network.

Please apply only if you are available for (one of) the above mentioned start dates.  HCSS recruits interns all year round; later start dates will be announced in due time. 

Requirements

Candidates should have a first rate academic background, strong transferable skills, and a keen interest in the topics covered by HCSS research.

Further requirements include:

  • A strong basis of analytical, writing and synthesizing skills
  • Ability to think creatively and out-of-the-box
  • Very good communication skills in English, both orally and in writing.
  • Knowledge of advanced internet search strategies
  • Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Flexibility and ability to multi-task
  • Positive professional attitude
  • Strong work ethic and willingness to learn
  • Some quantitative research skills

The following attributes are considered a strong asset:

  • Prior work or internship experience
  • proficiency in Dutch or other languages
  • Being a native English speaker
  • Strong quantitative research skills. If you have a background in data science (specifically R or Python) you may also be interested in our Data Internship. 

Eligibility  
• Candidates must be enrolled as a student at a university during the whole internship period.
• 
An internship period of six months is highly preferred, although shorter periods can be discussed (absolute minimum is 4 months). Please indicate your availability in your cover letter. Interns should be able to commit to working 40 hours a week.
If successful in obtaining a position, candidates are asked to provide a certificate of good conduct (‘Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag’), available from the Dutch Ministry of Justice. Candidates residing outside of the Netherlands should provide a certificate from their country of residence. 

Frequently asked questions:

Can I apply if I am no longer a student (recently graduated)? HCSS internships are for enrolled students. Without a proof of enrollment, valid for the entire duration of the internship, you are not eligible. Your application will not be considered.

Is it possible to do a part-time internship? Currently HCSS does not offer part-time internships within the General Internship Program.

Application Procedure
To apply, send the following items to info@hcss.nl, using 'General Internship 1/2021' as the subject line. 


• A curriculum vitae, including a list of references 
• A cover letter
• Proof of university enrollment, valid for the entire duration of the internship
• Copy of official transcript of academic grades
• A one-page writing sample (excluding bibliography if relevant) answering one of the following questions:
1. Consider a trend which could affect the security of the Netherlands in the next decade. What is being done to address the issue? What more could be done?
2. Consider a way in which the Netherlands could exercise more effective foreign policy without increasing military expenditure. What are the advantages and limitations of this approach?
3. Consider a policy which could help the eurozone improve its competitiveness. What are the advantages and limitations of this policy?
4. Consider a tool or methodology which could add value to HCSS products. What are its advantages and limitations?
5. Design an infographic which communicates the main message of an HCSS report in very few words.

Notes regarding the application procedure:

  • Please ensure that your application is complete before sending it in. Providing a list of references with contact details as part of your CV (at least two) is a mandatory requirement- we will not request them at a later stage.
  • The whole application should be written in English including the writing sample.
  • Please apply only if you are available for the above mentioned start date. HCSS recruits interns all year around; later start dates will be announced in due time. 

Practical Information

The HCSS internship is paid. 

HCSS only considers candidates that submit a complete application and fulfill all eligibility requirements. Successful applicants will be invited for an interview.

In the interest of the successful candidate’s learning trajectory, the internship will be carried out at the HCSS office in The Hague, insofar as this is feasible given the current travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Potential working arrangements can be discussed during the interview process.