[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] PhD in AI and Human-Robot Interaction, at Umea University, Sweden

Thomas Hellström thomash at cs.umu.se
Thu Nov 17 09:27:57 PST 2016

Research topic: Intention recognition by language analysis and task planning

Umeå University is seeking outstanding candidates for a PhD student 
position in Human-Robot Interaction at the Department of Computing 
Science. The Department of Computing Science is a dynamic environment 
with around ninety employees representing more than ten countries 
worldwide. We conduct education and research on a broad range of topics 
in Computing Science. The Robotics Group at the department conducts 
research in both Field robotics and Cognitive robotics.


The recruitment is done as part of SOCRATES (SOcial Cognitive Robotic 
Agents in The European Society), a new Marie Skłodowska-Curie European 
Training Network (ETN) comprising 7 universities/research institutes: 
Umeå University and Örebro University in Sweden, Universität Hamburg and 
Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart in Germany, CSIC Barcelona in Spain, 
University West of England, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 
Israel. Additional non-academic partners are: Pal Robotics, Adele 
Robots, Alfred Nobel Science Park, Urquhart-Dykes & Lord LLP, Center for 
Digital Innovation, UMINOVA, Asea Brown Boveri, S.A, and Fundació ACE.

In total 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will be recruited as PhD 
students for research on various aspects of social robotics aiming at 
eldercare. The wide range of projects covers a spectrum from technical 
design of hardware and interaction methodology, to personalisation, user 
studies, and robot ethics. The researchers will receive training in both 
academic and entrepreneurial spirit and expertise, well suited for a 
career in both academy and industry. The training includes a research 
project, courses, seminars, and workshops. An overview of all available 
positions can be found at www.socrates-project.eu.

Research project

For this particular position, the research goal is to develop 
methodology to infer human intention from natural language sentences of 
varying linguistics types. For imperative sentences, we have earlier 
shown how semantic roles can be mapped to intention using machine 
learning, and will extend this work by using dependency parsing for 
analysis of compound noun phrases. For declarative sentences, a task 
planner will be incorporated to infer implicit intention from general 
planning goals and current state information. During a secondment to 
Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, visual-sensor based intention recognition 
will be integrated. During an industrial secondment to PAL Robotics in 
Barcelona, results will be implemented and evaluated on the TIAGo 
robotic platforms.

About the position

The successful applicant will receive a competitive salary for a period 
of four years full time research, provided that expected study and 
research results are achieved. No teaching is expected. The salary will 
be based on the standard Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher 
living and mobility allowances. Expected starting date is 1st of April 2017.

Admission requirements

The applicant is required to have completed a second- cycle level 
degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, 
of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an 
equivalent education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications. To 
fulfill the specific entry requirements for doctoral studies in 
computing science, the applicant is required to have completed courses 
at second-cycle level degree equivalent to 60 ECTS credits in computing 
science, or in a subject considered to be directly relevant for the 
specialisation in question.

Experience in natural language processing, machine learning, and 
robotics are important merits, as well as relevant programming skills. 
Since the research is conducted in an international research 
environment, the ability for good teamwork, and a very good command of 
the English language, both written and spoken, are key requirements.

To promote mobility, the following rule applies: At the time of 
recruitment, the applicants must not have resided or carried out their 
main activity in Sweden for more than 12 months during the last 3 years. 
Compulsory national service, work in international organisations, and 
short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. The applicants 
must not, at the time of recruitment, have spent more than 4 years doing 
research, and must not have been awarded a doctoral degree.


Applications must be submitted electronically and be received no later 
than November 30, 2016. For further details see


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