Interdisciplinary PhD Scholarship Human-robot interactions in regional language

Interdisciplinary PhD Scholarship Human-robot interactions in regional language

Published Deadline Location
17 May 31 Aug Groningen
Project description
Recent advances of AI and speech technology have led to important steps in the development of (social) robots. The current generation of robots has the ability to connect with their user on a social level and to engage in spoken interactions. One important ad

Job description

Project description
Recent advances of AI and speech technology have led to important steps in the development of (social) robots. The current generation of robots has the ability to connect with their user on a social level and to engage in spoken interactions. One important advantage of robots is versatility in language, which makes it possible to adapt to the language of the user. This can be a foreign language - the robot Franny showing passengers the way at Frankfurt Airport for instance speaks 44 languages - but also a regional language. Speaking regional language can be an important asset in, for instance, health and elderly care because multilingual elderly often retreat to their first, native language, usually the one spoken in family context. Multilingual robots may also be an asset for language instruction at schools, or can be used as a modern interactive tool to interest pupils in the regional language.

The goal of this PhD project is to investigate whether the experience with human-robot interactions may be improved if regional language is used. Furthermore, the project aims to examine whether using regional language in human-robot interactions helps in instructional settings, for instance to activate elderly to exercise or motivate children to learn aspects of a regional language. The project will build on a text-to-speech implementation of a local variety of Low Saxon (“Gronings”) that is currently developed and implemented into the commercial robot “Pepper”. The PhD student will perform field studies in elderly care institutions and schools to explore the benefits of using regional language for human-robot-interactions. Depending on the expertise and interest of the candidate, it would be possible to also develop and implement a speech recognition system for the regional language, and integrate this in the robot.

The supervision team consists of Professors Martijn Wieling from the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen (Speech Lab and Center for Groningen Language and Culture at the Faculty of Arts) and Jenny van Doorn at the Department of Marketing (Faculty of Economics and Business). The PhD student will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Economics & Business. The student will have an office at both faculties so the place of work can be alternated (depending on the specific tasks).

Specifications

University of Groningen

Requirements

We are looking for a PhD candidate who:

• has a relevant master degree in for instance artificial intelligence, computer science, speech technology, human-machine interaction or a related field, with a strong interest in social sciences, or has a degree in social sciences (e.g. marketing, psychology) with strong and demonstrable programming skills
• has excellent programming skills (Python), and a strong interest in, or experience with, speech technology. Experience with programming robots is a plus
• has Dutch language skills at the conversational level, or is motivated to learn Dutch, and has an interest in regional languages. It is not necessary to be able to speak the regional language
• is fluent in English (both oral and written)
• is able and willing to work in Groningen, in an international and interdisciplinary environment
• is willing to participate in public engagement activities in the city and province of Groningen (see, for example, http://www.speechlabgroningen.nl for some examples).

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 48 months.

The University of Groningen offers scholarships for PhD students for a period of 4 years under the condition of a positive assessment at the end of the first year. The successful candidate will receive a gross scholarship of € 2,249 per month, of which wage tax and social insurance premiums will be deducted.

For more information on the RUG PhD scholarship programme and its benefits please check the website at: http://www.rug.nl/education/phd-programmes/phd-scholarship-programme/

Department

Faculty of Economis and Business and Faculty of Arts

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the approximately 36.000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

Faculty of Economics and Business and Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) has an inspiring study and working environment for students and employees. International accreditation enables the Faculty to assess performance against the highest international standards. It also creates an exciting environment of continuous improvement. FEB's programmes, academic staff and research do well on various excellence ranking lists.

The Faculty of Arts is building on a longstanding tradition of four centuries and its mission is to create positive societal and academic impact through relevant, high-quality teaching and research. The faculty strives to remain an ambitious top-ranking faculty with excellent education and state of the art research. The faculty offers a multidisciplinary environment and a wide range of degree programmes. Its research, which is internationally acclaimed, covers the fields of Archaeology, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, Journalism, Language and Literary Studies, and Linguistics.

The graduate schools of both faculties have one fullt ime interdisciplinary PhD scholarship for the topic “Human-robot interactions in regional language” available.

Additional information

Martijn Wieling
m.b.wieling@rug.nl

Jenny van Doorn
j.van.doorn@rug.nl

Specifications

  • PhD scholarship; PhD scholarship
  • Economics; Language and culture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2249 per month
  • University graduate
  • B031222

Employer

University of Groningen

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Location

Broerstraat 5, 9712 CP, Groningen

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Application procedure

Do you meet our criteria? If yes, your application should include following separate documents:

1. A motivation letter
2. Your CV including the names of three references
3. A research proposal (max 2 pages)
4. A scan of your diploma including transcripts
5. A proof of English proficiency
6. Other relevant documents (please merge these documents with the attachments of 4 or 5).

The documents 1-5 are compulsory and please note that incomplete application packages or applications sent by email will not be taken into account.

You can submit your application until 31 August 11:59pm / before 1 September 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

An assessment will be part of the procedure, consisting of psychological tests and an interview.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/policy-and-strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/sollicitatiecode/ and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Do you meet our criteria? If yes, your application should include following separate documents:

1. A motivation letter
2. Your CV including the names of three references
3. A research proposal (max 2 pages)
4. A scan of your diploma including transcripts
5. A proof of English proficiency
6. Other relevant documents (please merge these documents with the attachments of 4 or 5).

The documents 1-5 are compulsory and please note that incomplete application packages or applications sent by email will not be taken into account.

You can submit your application until 31 August 11:59pm / before 1 September 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

An assessment will be part of the procedure, consisting of psychological tests and an interview.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/policy-and-strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/sollicitatiecode/ and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Make sure to apply no later than 31 Aug 2022 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).