How to apply

Advice for a successful application at SwarmLab and RAI

These instructions apply for Swarmlab (which is a member of the RAI group) but, if the position you are applying for is only announced in RAI (Robots, Agents and Interaction), you are advised to follow them as well.

At SwarmLab and RAI, we are often receiving applications that are not complete and are lacking important information. We feel that this is a real pity since this sometimes leads to the rejection of highly qualified candidates that get rejected because they do not give us the chance to find out how qualified they are. So if you are planning to apply for a position at SwarmLab or RAI, please make it easy for you and for us by following a few very simple guidelines.

  1. Send a complete application. Do not forget about a meaningful motivation letter, your curriculum vitae (CV) including a list of taken courses and a list of your publications. Also provide contact details to people who can tell us more about your potential as a PhD fellow. Send everything in a single PDF (not four or five separate documents) so all your information is available in a single document with clearly marked contents. Only if you send large files (e.g. your Master Thesis), send them separately.
  2. Send the application to the email address indicated in the call or via Academic Transfer. Do NOT send your application documents to the email addresses that are given for informal inquiries. Your application document simply might get lost.
  3. Address the call for applications. We give you clear indications which type of candidate we are looking for. Typically there are clear descriptions about which abilities and experience you require to be accepted for a position. If you cannot show that you have these abilities and experience there is probably no point in sending an application. If you have the required abilities and experience, please do not make us search in your CV but clearly state this information also in a condensed form in a separate section at the beginning of your CV.
  4. A meaningful motivation letter should explain your motivation (I) for doing a PhD in general, (II) for doing a PhD in the advertised domain, (III) for doing a PhD in Maastricht, and finally (IV) for doing a PhD at the SwarmLab (or in RAI, if you apply for a position in RAI). Please be honest and do not make up some funny story. We are always looking for honest and professional candidates for our team. The motivation letter is very important. So please do not put your motivation letter into the text of the email with which you submit your application. Instead, make the motivation letter the first part of your PDF application document.
  5. Provide a list of courses that you have taken including your grades and a short description. Different countries have very different grading systems. Help us by giving meaningful explanations of your grades (e.g. grade 1 is best, grade 6 is worst, grade 4 means passed). Also provide a list of topics that have been taught during the courses.


What will give you an advantage for your application

From your application we need to judge if you have the potential to become an excellent PhD fellow, researcher and colleague. Try to provide some proof of your research and team work abilities! That is giving you a huge advantage in your application. If possible show some of the following items in your application:

  1. Publications in English language ideally published at an international conference or in an international journal. Please include a copy of your most relevant publication(s) at the end of your single PDF application (or, if too large, as a separate file).
  2. Experience with different cultures and countries. In your CV clearly indicate if and for how long you have worked and/or studied in different countries (holidays do not count!).
  3. Team activities. Explain in which teams you have been working e.g. for a competition or an extensive student project. Explain your own role in that team.


We wish you good luck with your application! Never hesitate to contact us in case you have any questions.