The Technical University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (THWS) is one of the largest practice-oriented higher education institutions in Bavaria. With focus areas ranging from technology over social sciences and economics to design and languages, THWS covers a wide subject spectrum. We support around 9,300 students in more than 50 degree programmes on their educational path. We tackle the challenges to all of society, like the energy system transformation, or the climate crisis, with innovative and international degree programme offers. We were pioneers in the conception of bilingual degree programmes (TWIN Programmes), in establishing the first undergraduate degree in Hydrogen Technology, and the software-centred degree programme in Robotics. Digitisation is also an important focus area of our University. Within the frame of the Hightech Agenda Bavaria, the Free State of Bavaria is currently investing substantially in the further development of our University as part of the Bavarian AI-network. Thus, at the THWS location in Würzburg, a Center for Strong Artificial Intelligence, and at the location in Schweinfurt, a Center for Robotics are created.
More than 260 THWS professors are not only passionate about teaching, but also about conducting applied research in cooperation with companies, institutions, and social institutions from the region. Successful knowledge transfer in industry and society characterises our professors as well as interdisciplinary collaboration across ten faculties and sixteen research institutions. Around 570 scientific, technical, and administrative employees support them in their endeavours.
At our locations in Main Franconia, town meets country, and culture meets nature offering diverse leisure opportunities. To promote the reconciliation of family and working life, THWS currently participates in the audit familiengerechte hochschule (family-friendly higher education institution).
Continuous growth, innovative teaching, and pioneering research characterise the atmosphere at THWS.
In addition to teaching, the scientist shall for an initial period of five years initiate and carry out application-oriented research and development projects (up to nine semester hours per week, which correspond to as much as 50 percent of the current teaching load) as well as promote networking of users and industries, and implement practice-oriented projects – also and especially in the course of teaching. The position is permanent.
Individual research and development performance are expected from the scientist. A five-year target agreement is concluded on research and development performance. THWS strives to extend these periodically.
We are currently looking to fill the following position:
Faculty of Computer Science and Business Information Systems
W2-Professorship for Reinforcement Learning
Application reference: 08.1.561
We seek a competent researcher with a sound theoretical background and practical experience in reinforcement learning.
After successful application, you will join the Faculty and the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIRO), where you will build a strong and vibrant research group, and contribute to research and knowledge transfer activities of the Center. The research focus shall be on the development of machine learning and techniques of deep learning for reinforcement learning. These include model-based and model-free methods, meta-learning algorithms, multi-agent systems, actor-critic methods, imitation learning, model approximation, out-of-distribution and lifelong learning, reward shaping, safe exploration, and other related aspects.
You collaborate closely with colleagues of CAIRO to conduct interdisciplinary and application-oriented research transferable to various industry sectors. Possible application areas include robotics, autonomous navigation, finance, gaming, or production systems. The willingness and ability to acquire third-party funding, to manage and contribute to research projects, and to supervise junior researchers (PhD-level) are expected. THWS also expects the willingness to manage or to contribute to a technology transfer center in a city close to Würzburg.
The faculty places great importance on the quality of teaching in terms of both technical content and pedagogy. You actively contribute to the development of the teaching profile of the faculty.
CAIRO is an international research centre with English as the main language. Non-German speaking candidates must, nevertheless, be willing to learn German to facilitate smooth communication with the faculty and the broader THWS community. Our University is becoming a bilingual higher education institution. Therefore, we assume that you will offer the courses in both German and English. Excellent command of English is a prerequisite.
In addition to the usual documents, the following shall be submitted:
• a one-page research statement (one DIN A4-page, font size 12) summarising the research interests of the candidate and outlining the research direction of the reinforcement learning group within CAIRO
• a one-page teaching statement (one DIN A4-page, font size 12) summarising the candidate’s teaching experience and indicating the teaching interests within the master’s programme Artificial Intelligence (MAI) and the bachelor’s programmes of the faculty.
For the professorship we also expect:
- to take on courses in the foundation modules, the additional study offers as well as related subject areas, even at other faculties, if required;
- willingness to regularly visit international universities with strategic relations to THWS;
- active participation in the further development of the faculty and the university;
- commitment in the internationalisation and self-administration of our University and participation in applied research projects and in the area of technology and knowledge transfer.
The position is to be filled as soon as possible; your place of employment will be our location in Würzburg.
To be employed as a Professor at our University, the following conditions must be fulfilled (Article 57 (3) of the Bavarian Higher Education Personnel Act, BayHSchPG):
- an academic degree, preferably in a programme relevant for the professorship;
- pedagogical aptitude, generally demonstrated through teaching and training experience;
- outstanding research skills, usually proven by a doctoral degree;
- extraordinary accomplishments in the application or development of research results and methods in at least five years of postdoctoral professional experience; three of those five years must have been completed outside academia; employment as a trainee teacher (e. g. German Referendariat) or as academic or artistic staff in higher education (e.g. PostDoc) can only account for up to two years; in exceptional cases, when a considerable part of five years’ work was done in close cooperation between a higher education institution and an organisation/institution outside higher education, it can be counted as work experience outside of academia.
The Free State of Bavaria not only offers ideal working conditions and excellent quality of life, but also special, state-specific salary regulations.
Fulfilling tasks, time flexibility and autonomy promote the balance between work, family, and leisure time. Committed colleagues form a highly motivated team and will support you right from the start. Our University promotes professional equality for women and strives to significantly increase the ratio of women especially in academic staff. The faculty’s officer for equal opportunities for women in science and the arts, Professor Dr. Isabel John (email@example.com), is happy to answer your questions.
Only persons under the age of 53 can become civil servants, all other persons will become public employees under private law. In the case of otherwise identical aptitude, skills and accomplishments, applicants with disabilities will be given preferential treatment.
This professorship is a full-time position. THWS promotes reconciliation of work and family life by offering candidates the opportunity to temporarily fill this position part-time (for a period of 1 to 2 years). After this period, employment can be continued in part-time in accordance with legal provisions.
The chair of the appointment committee, Professor Dr. Pascal Meißner (firstname.lastname@example.org), is happy to answer your technical questions.
If you feel qualified and are keen to be professor at THWS, we look forward to your convincing application with the usual documents (CV, certificates, evidence of your professional stations as well as the scientific work) via our online portal until 24.03.2024.