Job: PhD candidate in Human Media Interaction research group at University of Twente

The Human Media Interaction research group at the University of Twente has a vacancy for a PhD candidate.

The ARIA-VALUSPA project will create a new framework that will allow easy creation of Affective Retrieval of Information Assistants (ARIA agents) that are capable of holding multi-modal social interactions in challenging and unexpected situations. The system will generate search queries and return the information requested by interacting with humans through virtual characters. These virtual humans will be able to sustain an interaction with a user for some time, and react appropriately to the user’s verbal and nonverbal behaviour when presenting the requested information and refining search results.

Using audio and video signals as input, both verbal and non-verbal components of human communication will be captured. A dialogue management system will decide how to respond to a user’s input, be it a spoken sentence, a head nod, or a smile.

The main contribution of the PhD candidate at the University of Twente concerns the development of the dialogue management skills of the information retrieval assistants. Over more than a decade UT has developed a series of interface agents for retrieval: from text-based question-answering systems, to multimodal affective dialogue systems. A first objective is to build adaptive and task-oriented dialogues in multiple languages to allow information retrieval in general, and in particular for the two scenarios developed. A second objective is to build a framework for information retrieval focused dialogue management specification that can be used outside the ARIA-VALUSPA project for adaptive dialogue construction.

REQUIREMENTS

We are looking for highly motivated researchers with an MSc degree in Computer Science or Computational Linguistics with adequate experimental and theoretical skills. Knowledge of natural language processing, programming skills are required. You are able to work independently as well as in a project team, and you have good communicative skills. Fluency in English is a requirement.

APPLICATIONS

Your application should consist of:

  • a cover letter (max. 1 page A4), emphasizing your specific interests, qualifications and motivations to apply for this position;
  • a full Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained;
  • a short description (max. 1 page A4) of your MSc research;

Applications should be submitted to d.k.j.heylen@utwente.nl.

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

We offer a very challenging position in an inspiring environment. You will have an employment contract for the duration of 4 years and can participate in all employee benefits the UT offers. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2083,- in the first year and increases to € 2664,- in the fourth year of your employment. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of year bonus of 8.3%. A high-quality training program is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. The research has to result in a thesis at the end of the employment period. International applicants moving to the Netherlands are possibly eligible to a tax advantage policy known as the 30% ruling depending on background. The University of Twente offers attractive employment conditions, e.g., moving costs.

ORGANISATION

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) comprises three disciplines that shape Information and Communication Technology. ICT is more than communication. In almost every product we use mathematics, electronics and computer technology and ICT now contributes to all of societies’ activities. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. The research which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+, CTIT and MIRA.

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