Jobs: Researcher positions at University of Freiburg – Human and Robot Navigation in Structured Environments

OPEN POSITIONS

Postgraduate/PhD/Junior Researcher Positions
at the Transregional Collaborative Research Center
SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition, Universitaet Freiburg

Project R6-[SpaceGuide] ­ Human and Robot Navigation in Structured Environments

Under the condition of job release / (vorbehaltlich der Mittelfreigabe)

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

The mission of our research group is to better understand human wayfinding processes and their interaction with the environment. The overall aim is to employ cognitive science to work together with architects on improving the design of buildings with evidence-based design approaches as well as user-centered evaluation methods, ranging from real-world observation studies to Virtual Reality experimentation.

The goal of R6-SpaceGuide is to investigate human and robot navigation in structured environments. We combine basic and applied research and compare the influence of structured features and regularities on the successful wayfinding of human and robotic agents in complex, often public buildings like airports, hospitals or libraries. The psychological side of the project combines theories and methods from human-computer interaction, environmental psychology and architectural design to investigate human behavior and identify which features in the environment need to be improved to foster better orientation and wayfinding.

More information on the research center can be found at
http://www.sfbtr8.spatial-cognition.de/

QUALIFICATIONS:

Applicants should have expertise in cognitive psychology and should hold a master or diploma degree in psychology, cognitive science, human geography, geographic information science, or a related field. Solid knowledge on the conduction of experiments and the statistical analysis of experimental data is expected. Knowledge on Eyetracking is an advantage but not a requirement.

As the research topics are strongly connected to the domain of architecture, candidates with a master level degree in architecture may also be considered, especially if they are interested in obtaining a PhD-level qualification in cognitive science. (The University of Freiburg does not offer architecture degrees, so any further degree in architecture would need to be sought in collaboration with architectural partner labs, e.g. in Newcastle, London, Karlsruhe or Zurich). If a suitable candidate initially does not meet the formal qualifications of the position (e.g. bachelor level degree only or qualifications from a different field), but shows potential for cross-training into the field in our team, we can offer a qualification scholarship for a start-up time of up to one year, or as a visiting doctoral student from another university. Prior experience with behavioral research is required.

Position I:

The position is a 50% position, thus geared towards a doctoral researcher. The successful applicant is expected to work on obtaining a doctoral degree in Cognitive Science or Psychology (only if the first degree has also been obtained in Psychology) in the scope of this position.

Candidates should be committed to interdisciplinary, team-based research and be fluent in spoken and written English.

Ideally, an applicant will also have knowledge of / interest in more than one of the following areas:

cognitive psychology; environmental psychological; psychological experimentation; human-computer interaction / usability engineering; spatial cognition; architectural design. Additional training will be provided on the job.

MAIN TASKS:

  • Planning, preparing, conducting and analyzing psychological experiments on human wayfinding in real buildings. Supervising student assistants in all steps of experimentation.
  • Work with our Virtual Reality team on planning and implementing lab-based wayfinding experiments based on VR software WorldViz Vizard.
  • Theoretical analysis of wayfinding tasks based on human-computer interaction approaches (cognitive walkthrough, cognitive task analysis, simplified GOMS modeling)
  • Conduct spatial analysis of buildings (e.g. space syntax analysis) or collaborate with architects on such analyses; collaborate on design of virtual buildings for studies.
  • Preparing manuscripts for publication in international journals / at conferences.

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT:

Salary is according to the German Federal pay scale (TV-L 13, 50% position, approx. EUR 17,000 p.a.). The position is available from June 2012 (or later) and limited until the end of 2014.

Application deadline: 15 May 2012 (or until a suitable candidate is found).

Position II:

In addition to the position described above we are inviting expressions of interest for a position in the context of investigating human wayfinding in an airport setting. Here we build upon a collaboration with Frankfurt Airport. The planned studies include lab-based eyetracking, observation studies at the airport as well as testing mobile eyetracking techniques for this setting.

In addition to the qualifications sketched for position I an interest in eyetracking is essential. Prior experience with eyetracking or with experiments in an airport setting are a plus.

The second position is a 50% position, thus geared towards a doctoral researcher. The successful applicant is expected to work on obtaining a doctoral degree in Cognitive Science or Psychology (only if the first degree has also been obtained in Psychology) in the scope of this position.

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT:

Salary is according to the German Federal pay scale (TV-L 13, 50% position = approx. EUR 17,000 p.a.; position will range between 50% and 100% depending on level of expertise). The position is available from June 2012 (or later) and is initially limited to 10 months. A follow-up project is currently under development to extend the position until end of 2014 or 2015.

Application deadline: 15 May 2012 (or until a suitable candidate is found).

As the University of Freiburg intends to increase the proportion of female employees in science, women are particularly encouraged to apply. In case of equal personal aptitudes and qualification, disabled persons will be given priority. Applicants with a migration background are very welcome.

HOW TO APPLY & WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF QUESTIONS:

Please address questions about the position and send your application (preferably by email) to:

PD Dr. Christoph Hölscher
hoelsch@cognition.uni-freiburg.de

SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition
Universitaet Freiburg
Friedrichstr. 50
79098 Freiburg / Germany

For a paper-based application, please make sure to only send document copies, as all received application material will be destroyed after the selection process. Once again, we strongly encourage an application via email.

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I use “AVM Navigator” for robot navigation and it works pretty well:
    https://www.roborealm.com/help/AVM_Navigator.php

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