Job: Research Assistant for EU project eCUTE – Education in Cultural Understanding, Technologically-Enhanced

Research Assistant for EU project eCUTE – Education in Cultural Understanding, Technologically-Enhanced

MACS, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK x 2 Research Associates, starting 1 Sept 2010

DEADLINE: Jul 26th

eCUTE is a project funded by the EU under the FP7 challenge in Technologically-Enhanced Learning.  It will develop innovative technologically-enhanced learning approaches in cultural awareness and understanding, based on virtual world simulations with intelligent interactive graphical characters embodying models of culturally-specific behaviour and interaction in scenarios developed via a user-centred design process. It will target two contrasting learner types: late primary-age children (9-11) and young adults (18-25), and is due to start in Sept 2010 for 36 months. It has 7 partners – Heriot-Watt, Sunderland University, INESC-ID Lisbon, Augsburg University, Jacobs university, Seikei University and Kyoto University.

The project will:

  1. Develop pedagogical approaches to education in cultural understanding grounded in psychological and educational theory;
  2. Create believable cultural learning scenarios based on theoretical approaches that connect with the experiences of the target learner groups
  3. Establish an operational parameterisation of theoretically derived cultural behaviour and use it to create synthetic cultures and characters that behave as if they live within such cultures;
  4. Develop expressive behaviour for synthetic characters that is culturally appropriate;
  5. Create two cultural Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), one for late-primary children and the other for young adults based on virtual dramas using synthetic characters with culturally-specific interaction behaviour;
  6. Evaluate the created systems with stakeholder, teacher and learner groups, demonstrating their learning efficacy.

x2 Research Associates Grade 7/spine pt 28 £28,983 /annum. 

This post will be 50% project research and 50% project admin

Required: Experience of EU FP7 project administration; understanding of the research environment, excellent skills with spreadsheet, WP and presentation software, ability to work in a team, deputise for the project coordinator in administrative matters, and to liaise both with the EU project officer and with researchers at partner sites. Research track-record in computational models of cultural behaviour and intelligent agent architectures. The post holder must be willing to travel as the job requires.

Prior publication in this field is desirable.

Required: Strong programming skills in a mainstream OO language, experience of at least one relevant AI technology (e.g., intelligent agent architectures and technologies; NLP and dialogue; affective modelling and interaction; interactive devices and technologies). Ability to work in a team and willingness to travel as needed for the work programme are also required as are strong written and spoken communication skills.

Experience of research publication and skills in graphical modelling and animation are desirable.

Computer Science at Heriot-Watt is a strong research based division of the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, with 60% of its research outputs graded as world-leading or internationally-excellent in the UK 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. It has active research groups in dependable systems; intelligent systems; vision, interactive systems and graphics environments; and logic.

For further information contact Prof Ruth Aylett,, +44 (0)131-451-4189

Application forms will be available shortly via  In the meantime please send a brief CV and covering letter to indicating your interest in these posts.

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