[robotics-worldwide] PhD studentship on Human-Robot Interaction

Kerstin Dautenhahn K.Dautenhahn at herts.ac.uk
Mon Jun 23 02:05:35 PDT 2008


Research Studentship

Human-Robot Interaction: Learning and Adaptation for Robotic Companions as 
Assistive Technology

University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, United Kingdom, Science and 
Technology Research Institute

Applications are invited for a 3-year studenship in the area of 
Human-Robot Interaction in order to study learning and adaptation for 
robotic companions as assistive technology.

Contact for informal inquiries: Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn (E-mail:  K. 
Dautenhahn at herts.ac.uk)

Description of Project:

Human-Robot Interaction is a quickly growing research area with a number 
of applications in assistive technology. The research team at University 
of Hertfordshire led by Prof. Dautenhahn is involved in two European 
projects relevant to this studentship, namely IROMEC (where robots serve a 
assistive 'toys' for children with special needs, http://www.iromec.org/) 
and LIREC (where we  study robots as long-term companions e.g. in the 
homes of elderly people http://www.lirec.org/).

A key research issue relevant to both projects concerns the adaptation of 
the robot.s behaviour. A personalized robot companion needs to know its 
users, and be able to adapt in long-term interaction.  The PhD project 
will focus of the topic of social learning and adaptation, i.e. will 
develop the robot.s ability to be taught by its user, and to learn 
socially by observing and analyzing the interaction. Such research is 
strongly inspired by biology and psychology concerning the way how humans 
and other animals learn from each other by observation, interaction and 
communication. Another area of inspiration comes from developmental 
psychology since infants learn many new skills in interaction with their 
caretakers. The group has a strong track record in the area of imitation, 
social learning and human-robot interaction. The PhD student will develop 
new social learning and adaptation algorithms, as well as participate in 
the preparation, implementation and analysis of human-robot interaction 
studies. The PhD student would be part of a larger interdisciplinary 
research team consisting of researchers working in the above mentioned 
European projects, as well as other research group members.

Requirements:

Applicants are required to have a strong first degree or Master.s degree 
in Computer Science, Robotics or a related area relevant to the project. 
An additional background in human-computer interaction, cognitive science 
or psychology is highly desirable. Excellent programming skills are an 
essential requirement, as well as general interest in interdisciplinary 
research and willingness to collaborate with researchers from other 
disciplines. The ideal candidate will be self-motivated with excellent 
writing and communication skills. The PhD project will be supervised by 
Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn (K.Dautenhahn at herts.ac.uk), whom interested 
candidates are invited to contact via email in the first instance.

Successful candidates may be eligible for a research studentship award 
from the University (equivalent to 12940 GBP per annum bursary plus the 
payment of the standard UK student fees).

The studentship offers the opportunity to work within the Adaptive Systems 
Research Group (http://adapsys.feis.herts.ac.uk/), a proactive, dynamic 
and interdisciplinary research team with an excellent international 
research profile and state-of-the-art facilities to conduct research into 
human-robot interaction. The University (http://www.herts.ac.uk/) is 
located in Hatfield with convenient access to London and nearby 
international airports.

All formal applications must be made via the Research Office: For further 
information on the application process and an application form, contact

   Mrs Lorraine Nicholls
   Research Student Administrator
   STRI, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences
   University of Hertfordshire
   College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, UK.

   Tel: ++ 44 (0) 1707 286083
   Fax: ++44 (0) 1707 284185

or email: L.Nicholls at herts.ac.uk

The short-listing process will begin on 25th July 2008.

-----------------------------------------------------
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Dautenhahn
Professor of Artificial Intelligence
Adaptive Systems Research Group
The University of Hertfordshire, School of Computer Science
College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB, United Kingdom
URL: http://homepages.feis.herts.ac.uk/~comqkd
E-mail: K.Dautenhahn at herts.ac.uk
Fax: +44-1707-284-303  Tel: +44-1707-284-333


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