Job: Funded PhD studentship on Automatic Human Behaviour Analysis in Human-Robot Interaction – University of Birmingham

The School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Birmingham, UK, offers a fully funded PhD studentship on Automatic Human Behaviour Analysis starting in September/October 2012 (dates are negotiable).

The recent rise of behavioural computing has brought a lot of attention to the design of systems for the automatic analysis of human behavior in computer-based applications. Applications cover a large range of domains, from security to robotics, from entertainment to assistive technology. Recent research on social robots shows that robots are increasingly been studied as partners that collaborate and do things with people. Social robots, for example, are envisioned to play an important role in several applications, such as providing assistance for the elderly at home, serving as tutors for children by enriching their learning experiences, acting as therapeutic tools for children with autism or as game buddies for entertainment purposes. Many of these applications require robots to be endowed with social skills. Social perceptive abilities are amongst the most important skills necessary for robots to engage humans in natural forms of social interaction. These include affect sensitivity, that is, the ability to recognise people’s affective expressions and states, understand their social signals, and account for the context in which the interaction with the robot takes place.

This studentship will address the design, implementation and evaluation of techniques for automatic behaviour analysis for social signals and affect recognition in human-robot interaction.

Personal applications for any area related to automatic social behavior analysis are also welcomed.

The studentship will be based at the School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Birmingham and will be supervised by Dr. Ginevra Castellano (http://www.eee.bham.ac.uk/castellg/).

The student will work in close collaboration with the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction recently established at the University of Birmingham (http://hci.bham.ac.uk/).

More information about the School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering and its research activities can be found at http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/eece/research/index.aspx

We are looking for an excellent student with a strong first degree or Master degree in computer science or related areas relevant to the PhD topics. Interest in disciplines such as psychology and social sciences would be desirable. Good programming skills are required.

The post is available for three years and is fully funded only for candidates with UK or EU nationality. The studentship will cover fees and a free-tax salary starting at £13590 per annum.

To apply for the position, please send the following documents to Dr. Ginevra Castellano (g.castellano@bham.ac.uk):

  • A copy of your CV including the final (or expected) grades of your undergraduate and/or MSc degree
  • A covering letter detailing ideas for a research proposal (max 2 pages) and including the names of two academic referees
  • 1 representative publication in PDF format (e.g., final year project report, MSc thesis, etc.)

The deadline for applications is June 22nd 2012

Informal enquiries to: Dr Ginevra Castellano (g.castellano@bham.ac.uk)

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