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

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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).

Centre for Social Informatics ‘all centre’ meeting December 2019

Social Informatcis staff and students all centre meeting December 2019

At the Social Informatics ‘All centre’ meeting, L to R: John, Peter, Lyndsey, Katherine, Rachel, Marina, Laura, Hazel, Leo, Ella, David H, David B, Frances, Colin, Wegene, and Bruce

Every six months the staff and research students from the Social Informatics group at Edinburgh Napier University gather for an ‘All centre’ celebration of their recent achievements. The December 2019 gathering took place on Wednesday 18th December, with 19 participants. The format of the meeting allowed for a maximum 5 minute update from each person. Continue reading

Social cognitive theory literature review article now in print

‘Applications and applicability of Social Cognitive Theory in information science research’ is now available in issue 51(4) (December 2019) of the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science (JoLIS). The article covers the origins and key concepts of Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and its value to Information Science research. Particular reference is made to the applicability of SCT – and its applications – in studies of information-seeking behaviour and use, and knowledge sharing. Continue reading

Katherine Stephen to present at Tacit Engagement in the Digital Age

Katherine Stephen

Katherine Stephen

Congratulations to our Centre for Social Informatics colleague Katherine Stephen, who has recently learnt that her poster submission to Tacit Engagement in the Digital Age at the University of Cambridge next month has been accepted.

The purpose of the conference is to explore conceptions of tacit knowledge at a time when everyday life is increasingly augmented by artificial intelligence (AI). Katherine will present the research that she is currently undertaking for her Masters dissertation Metacognitive experiences of using AI in the workplace. (Katherine is completing her Masters degree at the University of Edinburgh as the first component of her 1+3 ESRC/SDS-funded PhD studentship on meta-skills maturity for future workplaces prior to joining us full-time in October to embark on her doctoral studies at Napier.) Continue reading

Fully-funded PhD opportunity: work-based learning, skills, and economic performance

ESRC-SDS-Napier studentship logos

We are readvertising a fully-funded PhD place within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University for an October 2019 start date. Continue reading

Call for applications: two fully-funded PhD places within the Centre for Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University

ESRC-SDS-Napier studentship logos

We are currently advertising two fully-funded PhD places within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University for an October 2019 start date. Continue reading

Congratulations Dr John Mowbray!

PhD graduate Dr John Mowbray with his Director of Studies Professor Hazel Hall

PhD graduate Dr John Mowbray with his Director of Studies Professor Hazel Hall

Congratulations to Dr John Mowbray, who was awarded his PhD at the Edinburgh Napier University graduation ceremony at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh yesterday. I was John’s Director of Studies, his second supervisor was Professor Robert Raeside, and third supervisor Pete Robertson.

John’s PhD was funded by an ESRC Skills Development Scotland Collaborative studentship. We won the grant for the award through a competitive process administered by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science in spring 2014, and John came to us later in the October of that year having applied for the PhD studentship that we advertised in June 2014. Continue reading