Fully-funded PhD studentship opportunity: Natural language interfaces to support career decision-making of young people

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ESRC-SDS-Napier studentship logos

Updated with new deadline: midday 30th April 2020

We are currently advertising a fully-funded PhD place within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University for an October 2020 start date.

The scholarship is a Skills Development Scotland Collaborative award offered through the ESRC-funded Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS). It is for a doctoral study on natural language interfaces to support career decision-making of young people. The practical work to be undertaken for this PhD centres on the development of a dialogue system utilising existing data held by Skills Development Scotland, for young people to engage ‘in conversation’ about their career interests, aspirations, and strengths. The system to be developed is anticipated to take the form of an interactive avatar with identifiable human characteristics.

The doctoral study will supervised by staff from two research groups within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University: (1) the Centre for Social Informatics (Professor Hazel Hall), and (2) the Nature-inspired Intelligent Systems group (Dr Dimtra Gkatzia). A third supervisor from the Social Sciences Research Group in the School of Applied Sciences completes the team (Dr Pete Robertson). Our group has a strong track record of supervising SDS collaborative studentships, with two completions to date (in 2018 and 2019) and three on-going studentships on this scheme.

This fully-funded studentship is offered full-time either as a three year programme (all spent on the doctoral project at Edinburgh Napier University), or a four year programme (one year on the MSc by Research in Science and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh, followed by the three year doctoral project at Edinburgh Napier University). The length of programme to be undertaken by the successful candidate will depend on their existing qualifications. (These ESRC studentships can also be held on a part-time basis, subject to a minimum time commitment of 50%. In practice, this means that successful candidates who undertake the part-time route are permitted to work 18.75 hours in paid employment over the course of a week.)

We are keen to receive applications from Computer Science or Software Engineering graduates (or those due to graduate in these or other relevant subjects in summer 2020), who have some experience of studying Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, or Machine Learning (e.g. as part of a module, or in a project), and have achieved (or are on target for) a 1st class or 2.1 degree. The successful candidate will be interested in developing their skills in research methods and interdisciplinary approaches to tackling research problems, and in the application of computing in the social sciences (e.g. in Education, Information Science, Psychology), as well as to the core themes of this studentship.

  • Applications for this studentship should be submitted to GradHub by Thursday 30th April 2020 at midday
  • Interviews will take place in the week beginning 4th May (either online or at Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus)
  • The start date for the successful candidate is Thursday 1st October 2020

Full details of eligibility criteria and the application process (through GradHub) can be found on the Current studentship opportunities page of the SGSSS web site at https://www.sgsss.ac.uk/studentship/natural-language-interfaces/.

After successfully completing the SGSSS application process (i.e. submission of application documents to GradHub, successful interview in the week beginning 4th May, and studentship offer from SGSSS), the candidate to be appointed will be admitted to the PhD programme at Edinburgh Napier University.

For further information about this studentship, please contact Professor Hazel Hall (h.hall@napier.ac.uk) or Dr Dimitra Gkatzia (d.gkatzia@napier.ac.uk).

An award and an appointment at ASIST in Australia #asist2019 #asist19

Last week many members of the worldwide Information Science community gathered in Melbourne, Australia for the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST). I was sorry not to be there myself. This was due to my teaching commitments this semester, in particular my final year undergraduate Knowledge Management module.

Abebe Rorissa, Brian Detlor, #asist2019, #asist19, Hazel Hall, Clarivate, teacher, award

Dr Abebe Rorissa presents Dr Brian Detlor with Hazel’s ‘Outstanding Information Science Teacher’ award (Photo credit: Becky Willson)

Despite my lack of physical presence at the conference, I kept an eye on the hash-tagged tweets from the event (#asist2019; #asist19). I was particularly interested in the Twitter stream around breakfast time (in the UK) on Tuesday 22nd October when the delegates in Melbourne were sitting down for the conference dinner and awards ceremony. This was because Visiting Professor to the Centre for Social Informatics Dr Brian Detlor had kindly agreed to step up to the stage to accept the 2019 Clarivate Analytics Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award on my behalf.

The award was presented by Abebe Rorissa of the University of Albany – thank you! I should also thank Rebekah (Becky) Willson of McGill University for taking photographs during the presentation. Continue reading

RIVAL at the Royal Society of Edinburgh Awards Reception 2019

The RIVAL poster on display at the Royal Society of Edinburgh Awards Reception 2019

Last week, on Monday 9th September, I participated at the Royal Society of Edinburgh‘s (RSE) Annual Awards Reception. Each year this event provides a snapshot of the creative and innovative projects that are supported by the RSE and its partners: the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, BBSRC, STFC, BP, IBioIC and Fullbright. Continue reading

Clarivate Analytics Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award: Hazel Hall

Last week the Association for Information Science and Technology announced that I have won the 2019 Clarivate Analytics Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award. This award recognises and honours sustained and unique contributions to teaching information science (including the use of innovative and imaginative teaching materials and methods), research and professional association activities related to teaching excellence, and the impact of teaching on students, colleagues and institutions. It also acknowledges prior awards for teaching. Continue reading

Social media by proxy: a Carnegie Research Incentive Grant for Dr Gemma Webster

Dr Gemma Webster

Dr Gemma Webster

Congratulations to my Centre for Social Informatics colleague Dr Gemma Webster, who has recently been awarded a Carnegie Research Incentive Grant (RIG). Such grants are offered to make it possible for Early Career Researchers like Gemma to undertake a short project as a Principal Investigator.

Gemma‘s application for funding is one of 59 that were successful from a total of 131 submissions in the last RIG application round (as noted in the Carnegie Trust’s analysis of RIG outcomes for the March 2018 deadline).

Gemma‘s project is entitled ‘Social media by proxy: strategies for managing the online profiles of adults with dementia’. Continue reading

SICSA PhD Supervisor of the Year 2017 silver award: Hazel Hall

SICSA logo

In summer 2017 all the PhD students in academic departments that hold membership of the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) were invited to recognise the fantastic work of their supervisors by making nominations for a new prize: the SICSA Supervisor of the Year Award. Continue reading