Ph D Student Position in Computer Science

Umeå University
October 02 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Research topic: Socially Intelligent Systems for Person-Tailored Digital Coaching

Umeå University, the Department of Computing Science, is seeking outstanding candidates for a PhD student position in Computer Science with focus on socially intelligent systems for human-agent collaboration. The Department of Computing Science is a dynamic environment with around 100 employees representing more than 20 countries worldwide. We conduct education and research on a broad range of topics in Computing Science. The User, Interaction and Knowledge Modelling group at the department conducts research in formal methods for reasoning and decision making, methods for user modelling, user adaptation and human-agent collaboration. The group collaborates with a number of research groups in the medical and health domains, and is providing a vibrant multi-disciplinary research environment.

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Research project

The aim of the research project is to develop socially intelligent software agents for person-tailored digital coaching. The fundamental challenge lies in how intelligent autonomous agents may collaborate with humans in decision making tasks to achieve goals, and in making prioritizations among potentially conflicting goals, needs, motivations, preferences and choices of actions, e.g. in medical situations where healthcare professionals diagnose or select treatment methods. This is also highly important in situations where a person aims to change unhealthy behaviour, or needs to take action in order to reduce risk in work situations. This position will be part of a project where behavior change systems will be developed and applied to improve health. Research will be conducted in a multi-professional team, and the development of solutions in close collaboration with end users and healthcare professionals.

To provide socially intelligent systems that humans can trust enough to collaborate with, algorithms for explaining automated learning, reasoning, and values of arguments and decision outcomes will be developed. Artificial intelligence-based methods for user modelling, user adaptation, and for the system to act in a socially acceptable way tailored to a situation will also be developed, partly by formalising theories about human behaviour. Methods that handle uncertain and incomplete information, as well as different types of values, norms, or utilities in such situations will be explored. Furthermore, new interaction designs and user interfaces for efficiently creating a shared understanding and agreements between system and human will be explored.

About the position

The successful applicant will receive a competitive salary for a period of four years full time research, provided that expected study and research results are achieved. No teaching is expected. Expected starting date is 1st of February 2018 or as otherwise agreed.

Admission requirements

The applicant is required to have completed a second- cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications. To fulfil the specific entry requirements for doctoral studies in computing science, the applicant is required to have completed courses at second-cycle level degree equivalent to 60 ECTS credits in computing science, or in a subject considered to be directly relevant for the specialisation in question.

Candidates are expected to have a background in computer science or a related discipline such as cognitive science. In the latter case a very good understanding of fundamental concepts of computer science and good programming experience is required. A specialization in artificial intelligence or human-computer interaction is a merit, as is experience from healthcare, or research projects relating to healthcare. Since research is conducted in an international research environment, the ability to collaborate and contribute to teamwork, and a very good command of the English language, both written and spoken, are key requirements


A complete application should contain the following documents:

• A cover letter including a description of your research interests, your reasons to apply for the position, and your contact information

• A curriculum vitae

• If applicable, copy of completed BSc and/or MSc thesis and other original research publications

• Copies of degree certificates, including documentation of completed academic courses and obtained grades

• Contact information for two persons willing to act as references

Applications must be submitted electronically using the e-recruitment system Varbi, and be received no later than November 3, 2017. Reference number: AN 2.2.1-1653-17. Log on to the system and apply via the button at the bottom of the web page.

Interested applicants are also encouraged to apply for the position with the reference number: AN 2.2.1-1652-17.

The procedure for recruitment for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (chapter 12, 2§) and the decision regarding the position cannot be appealed. The recruitment aims at a balanced gender distribution, and in particular women are encouraged to apply.

For additional information, please contact Assoc. Prof. Helena Lindgren

Umeå University is dedicated to providing creative environments for learning and work. We offer a wide variety of courses and programmes, world leading research, and excellent innovation and collaboration opportunities. More than 4 300 employees and 31 500 students have already chosen Umeå University.

We look forward to receiving your application!


- Helena Lindgren, docent, +46 90 7867773

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess