Vacancy for a Ph.D. student

See PhD Student — Ghent University ( for the full job description and details on how to apply for this vacancy.

  • Fundamental and applied research will be performed at Ghent University under the supervision of prof. Joke Baeck (Faculty of Law and Criminology), prof. Klaas Mulier (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration), and prof. Thomas Demeester (Faculty of Engineering and Architecture).
  • The proposed research fits within the FWO-funded research project “Evaluation of distressed enterprises using explainable machine learning: construction of an artificial intelligence algorithm to assist judges in Belgian Enterprise Courts”.
  • The activities of the PhD are embedded in a stimulating interdisciplinary environment, with the focus on contributions in explainable AI and corporate bankruptcy prediction, within the setting of law.
  • The PhD candidate will thus work on the intersection between Data Science, Corporate Finance and Bankruptcy Law. Depending on the candidate’s preference, emphasis can be placed either on the economic aspect (within the Corporate Finance research group), or on the computer science part (within the Internet and Data Science research group).


  • In close collaboration with the supervisors as well as a post-doctoral researcher with expertise in both computer science and law, the Ph.D. candidate will apply machine learning techniques and tools to mine and leverage economic enterprise data (such as balance sheets and profit & loss accounts) for predicting corporate distress and potential bankruptcy to assist judges.
  • Numerical data as well as free-text notes will be injected into the models, which will require a considerable level of transparency and explainability in order to be valuable in practice.
  • Model evaluations will be performed iteratively in collaboration with Enterprise Court judges in Flanders and/or on a wider geographic scale.
  • The candidate will also contribute to developing proof-of-concept tools and rolling out field tests at Belgian Enterprise Courts.
  • The candidate will present research results at major international conferences and publish in international peer reviewed journals, as part of meeting the requirements for the PhD.