PhD students in the research project “Polynomial Optimization, Efficiency through Moments and Algebra” (POEMA)

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has vacancies in the Network and Optimization research group for two talented PhD students in the research project “Polynomial Optimization, Efficiency through Moments and Algebra” (POEMA).

Job description

The job is a full-time PhD position (Early Stage Researcher) in the field of mathematical optimization. The research will be carried out in the context of the H2020 EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network POEMA. The POEMA consortium consists of eleven academic and industrial partners and three associate partners, located in six European countries. It offers in total 15 PhD (Early Stage Researcher) positions, including two positions at CWI.  The goal of the POEMA network is to train these 15 young researchers at the interplay of algebra, geometry, computer science, algorithm design, scientific computation and software development, aiming to solve global non-linear (polynomial) optimization problems for real-world applications.

Polynomial optimization problems are non-linear optimization problems, involving polynomial constraints, and variables which can be binary or continuous scalars, or matrices (of any size). Such problems offer a versatile model capturing applications e.g. in operations research, control theory, and quantum theory. The proposed PhD projects at CWI are investigating the development of new algebraic and geometric methods for such polynomial optimization problems arising from applications in discrete mathematics and quantum information. The topics of the two projects are:

where details about the projects can be found. 

The PhD candidates will be members of the Network and Optimization group, with the opportunity to collaborate with other CWI research groups, with QuSoft, the Dutch research center for quantum software, and with the POEMA partner at Tilburg University.


Candidates are required to have a Master’s degree in (applied) mathematics or a related discipline and a solid background in optimization, discrete mathematics, and algebra. Preferable qualifications for candidates are software development skills and interest in the computational aspects of mathematical optimization. Candidates are expected to have excellent grades, research talent (as proven by their Master’s thesis), an excellent command of English, together with good academic writing and presentation skills. For residents outside the EER-area, a TOEFL English language test may be required.

Terms and conditions for the PhD Student

The appointment is full-time, fixed term for three years. There are strict eligibility rules associated with the recruitment of Early Stage Researchers in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks:

Career: At the date of recruitment, the applicant must hold a Master’s degree. In addition, s/he should not have been awarded a doctoral degree and must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of his/her research career (after having obtained the Master’s degree).

Trans-national mobility: At the date of recruitment, the applicant should not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

Secondments: The candidate must be prepared to be seconded at two other partners within the POEMA network for a total of six months to carry out part of his/her research work.

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The PhD student will be employed by CWI with a full social security coverage, and s/he will have all the benefits provided for in the Marie Curie ITN fellowships regulations, including a highly competitive remuneration, living allowances and mobility expenses.

For details on how to apply please see the POEMA recruiting page.

As explained there, please upload all the required application documents before 15 March 2019 online via

The planned starting date is September 1st, 2019 (in any case no later than January 1st, 2020).

For more information about the vacancies, please contact Prof. Monique Laurent, email

About CWI
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO. The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large.

CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 27 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses.

CWI is located at Science Park Amsterdam that is presently developing into a major location of research in the natural sciences in The Netherlands, housing the sciences of the University of Amsterdam and of the Vrije Universiteit as well as several other national research institutes next to CWI.

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Research group

For more information about the Networks and Optimization research group at CWI, please visit our website at