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The Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS) is an institute of the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB). The FVB comprises seven non-university research institutes in Berlin which are funded by the federal and state governments. The research institutes are members of the Leibniz Association.

WIAS invites applications for a

PhD student position (f/m/d)

(Ref. 21/21)

in statistical machine learning, continuous optimization, and nonparametric statistics in the Research Group “Stochastic Algorithms and Nonparametric Statistics” (Head: Professor V. Spokoiny) starting as soon as possible.

We are looking for candidates passionate about researching the principled theory of machine learning, nonparametric statistics, and mathematical optimization, with a focus on enhancing the robustness of learning and decision-making. The concrete methodological components of the Ph.D. project include

  • Nonparametric statistics, especially on minimax estimation and robustness. Example applications include generative modeling, imaging and vision.
  • Learning for decision-making and dynamical systems, with a focus on distributional robustness and satisfying (safety) constraints, and dynamical systems/RL, online learning
  • Kernel methods, especially for robust estimation of conditional distributions, maximum mean discrepancy, with applications to dynamical systems and statistical learning theory
  • Continuous optimization for machine learning and deep learning

The position is hosted at Research Group 6. The Ph.D. project is also a part of the collaboration between ‪Prof. Vladimir Spokoiny and Dr. Jia-Jie Zhu. Therefore, the student will have the opportunity to conduct research work in collaboration with both faculties.

We invite candidates with a degree (master’s level) in computer science, statistics, or mathematics, with a special focus on rigorous training in machine learning. Those qualifications are demonstrated by high-quality technical reports or publications in credible venues such as (NeurIPS/ICLR/AISTATS/ICML/AAAI/CoLT/ALT/JMLR/STOC).

What we offer:

  • Close mentorship: the Ph.D. candidate will receive responsible and careful mentorship. We emphasize fostering a healthy mentor-student relationship.
  • WIAS Berlin is a premier research institution known for its strength in optimization, optimal control, dynamical systems, and applied mathematics in general. It has hosted the flagship conferences in mathematical optimization such as ICCOPT 2019.
  • A certified (Audit berufundfamilie) family-friendly work environment.

Please direct queries to Dr. Jia-Jie Zhu (

The appointment is for 36 months. The reduced work schedule is 29,25 hours per week, and the salary is according to the German TVoeD Bund scale.

The Weierstrass Institute is an equal opportunity employer. We explicitly encourage female researchers to apply for the offered position. Among equally qualified applicants, disabled candidates will be given preference.

Please upload complete application documents including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, relevant certificates and the master thesis (as draft if not finalized yet) as soon as possible via our online job-application facility using the button “Apply online”.

The advertisement is open with immediate effect and will remain open until the position will be filled.

We are looking forward to your application!