[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] Postdoctoral Fellows in Social and Intelligent Robotics at University of Waterloo, Canada

Dautenhahn, Kerstin k.dautenhahn at herts.ac.uk
Thu Nov 15 06:56:06 PST 2018

University of Waterloo

Faculty of Engineering

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Social and Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory

Job title: Postdoctoral Fellows in Social and Intelligent Robotics

Reports to: Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn

The Research Program:

The newly established Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory at University of Waterloo is inviting applications for Postdoctoral Fellows in order to join exciting, interdisciplinary research to develop robots that can carry out meaningful and assistive roles in human-inhabited environments, while interacting with people in a social and acceptable manner. The lab’s founder is Kerstin Dautenhahn, who was recently awarded the prestigious Canada 150 Research Chair in Intelligent Robotics. The range of robots used in this research includes small mobile robots (or robot teams), as well as humanoid or biomimetic robots. The lab is investigating fundamental principles of human-robot multi-modal interaction, movement synchronization and coordination, human-robot co-learning and teaching by demonstration, as well as developmental approaches to learning, remembering and communicating. We are also considering the cognitive/psychological aspects of how people interact with machines, their expectations and mental models and how these shape human-machine interaction. The research is multidisciplinary and biologically inspired, following the values of embodied Artificial Intelligence, which emphasizes physical system-environment dynamics and how those dynamics can be exploited to create robust and adaptive robots. We also pursue application-oriented research, such as developing robot companions for education, therapy or care. Our approach to human-robot interaction (HRI) is people-centred; we aim to develop systems that people can rely on, accept, and that they trust. We are passionate about social robots and want them to ‘do good’ in our society.

The Positions:
The two research fellow posts focus on the area of developing social and intelligent robots as assistive companions, but with a different emphasis:

Postholder 1 will develop computational models and techniques to control social and intelligent robots that interact with each other and people.  The research will be inspired by developmental robotics and develop robots with ‘interaction histories’, i.e. robot that can remember and recall/re-construct salient (interaction) events in order to adapt to dynamically changing (social) environments.

Postholder 2 will investigate how to create ethologically-inspired controllers in order to improve people’s acceptance and trust into autonomous robots. Aspects of human behaviour and those of other social animals will be investigated and studied on either humanoid and/or zoomorphic robots.

Both postholders will be required to carry out human-robot interaction experiments, identify an appropriate research methodology, collect data, analyse the data, and write up the results in order to produce journal and conference articles to disseminate the research.
The candidates must be able to travel and present the research work at conferences and workshops.

Location and Environment:
Waterloo is based in southwestern Ontario, Canada. The City of Waterloo is a dynamic urban municipality with a strong cultural and economic base, home to major employers, higher education institutions and global think tanks. As Canada’s largest Engineering School “Waterloo Engineering,” as it is known, is a powerhouse of research talent and a magnet for graduate students looking to change the world. Founded in 1957, Waterloo Engineering is Canada’s largest engineering school and a top 50 school worldwide. With a founding principle of “inventor owned intellectual property” Waterloo Engineering has loosened the reins on patents, copyrights, and entrepreneurial ventures. With the inventor holding 100% ownership over ideas and technology, students or researchers (often they combine in teams as co-founders) have complete control to patent or license their ideas, to commercialize, or to create a start-up. Beyond the game-changing IP policy, Waterloo Engineering is home to more than 1,800 graduate students. In the last 12 months, its research experts and graduate students attracted more than $72 million in research funding from both government and industry. The Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory is based in a recently opened new Engineering building with state-of-the-art office, laboratory and teaching facilities.

Duration and Funding:
A 1 year contract will be offered initially. It may be renewed annually (up to 3 years), based on successful yearly reviews of the candidate’s performance and funding availability. For more information on postdoctoral fellows see: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__uwaterloo.ca_postdoctoral-2Daffairs_&d=DwIF-g&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=7uBzy65XM7kWGaaS_YMNpA6QBlXc7v3ulxbaOhExrg4&s=yTi2-KQolVyE4nDxpiwh26j4UCd9glYJbykcN-PALYY&e=
Shortlisting will begin on 10 December 2018.

Position Requirements:

A PhD in Computer Science, Robotics or a related field is essential.

Qualifications and Experience:
-       Excellent robotics programming skills (e.g. C, C++, Python, ROS)
-       Excellent knowledge of robot programming, robot control and cognitive architectures, robot learning, multi-modal human-robot interaction (speech, touch, gestures etc.)
-       Experience in designing and evaluating social robotics/HRI experiments
-       Excellent oral and written communication skills (English)
-       Proven track record of writing and publishing scientific documents in English
-       Strong interest in interdisciplinary research
-       Methodological approach and attention to detail
-       Excellent time management skills to meet deadlines and milestones
-       Ability to plan and manage own activities effectively
-       Able to demonstrate initiative and the ability to learn new skills
-       Ability to work alone as well as in a team
-       Ability to travel
-       Significant experience in social robotics and/or human-robot interaction research
-       Experience with robot interfaces and sensors
-       Postdoctoral research experience
-       Experience working as part of a research team in a Higher Education Institution or in industry
-       Research in assistive robotics

Nature and Scope:

Interpersonal Interactions:
The candidates must be able to interact and collaborate effectively with other researchers, administrative staff and faculty members within the University as well as with others from outside the University. Good interpersonal skills and ability to work in a team are expected.

Level of Responsibility:
The candidates are required to collaborate with faculty, other postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, working towards joint goals, but to also work independently on specific research questions and within the specific research scope and methodology as agreed with your supervisor. The candidates may be responsible for guiding more junior researchers (e.g. undergraduate or graduate students). Postholders are expected to take an active part in the academic life of the Faculty through participation in seminars and other events. Responsibilities also include other duties related to research activities in the lab as may be required by their supervisor.

Working environment:
Candidates will be working in an office environment equipped with appropriate computational infrastructure and with access to an experimental laboratory for studies on social robotics and human-robot interaction.

To apply to this position, send a cover letter, names of three references, resume/CV, and recent examples of published scientific articles to Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn at kerstin.dautenhahn at uwaterloo.ca

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. The University of Waterloo encourages applications from all qualified individuals, members of the visible minorities, native peoples and persons with disabilities. Applicants must have valid documentation to work in Canada before starting.
Please visit the Postdoctoral Affairs (https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__uwaterloo.ca_postdoctoral-2Daffairs_&d=DwIF-g&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=7uBzy65XM7kWGaaS_YMNpA6QBlXc7v3ulxbaOhExrg4&s=yTi2-KQolVyE4nDxpiwh26j4UCd9glYJbykcN-PALYY&e=)  department web page for more information about working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo.

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