Fully Funded Research Training Position (PhD Fellowships)

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network: Deictic Communication (DComm)


The Network is seeking visionary and energetic researchers to undertake 12 positions as Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) as part of DComm, a Marie Curie Training Network. One of these positions (ESR10) is offered at the Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi) in Münster.

Deictic communication is fundamental to understanding communication in both typical and atypical populations, and forms the key connection between language and objects/locations in the world. It is therefore critical to understanding human-human interaction, and human-system interaction in a range of technology applications – from mobile phones to intelligent robots – and to the enhancement of clinical and educational interventions with typical and atypical populations. This ETN will train the next generation of scientists in the full range of multidisciplinary and cross-sectorial methods necessary to make significant progress in understanding deictic communication, with direct synergies between basic research and application.

The research programme is organised into two substantial themes: Work Package 1 – Understanding Deictic Communication; and Work Package 2 Deictic Communication in Application. Each has a cluster of individual ESR projects and, in addition, there are three integrated projects (to be led collaboratively by the ESRs) which will involve all the fellows working together to integrate various components and findings from their own research into three key areas: gender differences, cross-cultural differences and novel hybrid applications. The offered fellowships cover a broad range of disciplines, including psychology, psycholinguistics, neurosciences, linguistics, cognitive science, and technological platforms. The position offered at ifgi is the following one:

ESR10 Project Title: Deictic communication and mobile phones (WP2)
PI: Dr Cristian Kray.
Key collaborators: Professor Christoph Hölscher/Professor Martin Raubal, ETH; 52°North .
The positions are full-time for 36 months.

The person working on this project will design, implement, and evaluate techniques to enable deictic communication between non-collocated human communication partners via mobile phones. The qualities of technologies produced will be compared to collocated deictic communication that is not technology-mediated. In order to achieve the objectives, a participatory design approach will be adopted employing design interaction elicitation techniques with potential users. The findings will be implemented using rapid prototyping techniques and agile software engineering methods, and will subsequently be evaluated through lab-based, controlled user studies as well as field studies. Among the outputs will be the production of open-source software, which will enable others to realize technology-mediated deictic communication across a range of platforms.

Essential criteria for applications:

  • first degree in geoinformatics, computer science or a related discipline
  • MSc-level degree in one of the above
  • fluency in spoken and written English commensurate with PhD study
  • thorough programming experience in at least one programming language

Desirable criteria for applications:

  • experience in human-computer interaction
  • experience in carrying out user studies
  • experience in designing, building and testing applications for mobile devices
  • experience in working in an interdisciplinary team

The appointments are offered in the context of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network and transnational mobility is a key element of eligibility. Candidates’ eligibility for each post is determined by Marie Curie terms and conditions (see also http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index.cfm/rights/index for additional information).

IMPORTANT – Each applicant must satisfy the following criteria:
Mobility Criteria: At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Please note that candidates may indeed be nationals of the host country as long as the mobility rule is observed. Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

‘Early Stage Researcher’ criteria: The Early Stage Researchers, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, must not yet have been awarded a doctorate degree and must be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided.

Selection process
The selection of candidates for interview will be made by a specifically designed committee including the project PIs. Initial long-listing interviews may be carried out via Skype. Short-listed applicants may be invited for an interview at the relevant organisation. The closing date for most applications is in March 2016 although please note some are much earlier/later. The candidates must start in September 2016.

Each ESR will be paid a basic salary of 3110 euros per month (before local taxes etc. are applied), subject to a country correction coefficient. In addition, ESRs will be paid a mobility allowance of 600 euros per month to cover living and relocation costs, and a possible family allowance of 500 euros for eligible applicants.

Working environment
The Institute for Geoinformatics is a fundamentally interdisciplinary organisation committed to conducting innovative and internationally visible research related to Geoinformatics. We actively encourage collaboration across disciplines and research groups, and support staff in developing their own research profile and agenda. English is the main language spoken at the Institute, which harbours staff from all continents with highly diverse cultural backgrounds. More information about the Institute can be found on its homepage (http://ifgi.uni-muenster.de).

The University of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities. Applicants with disabilities will be subject to preferential consideration in accordance with the applicable laws and university statutes.

How to apply

Applications should include copies of degree certificates, curriculum vitae, motivation statement, list of publications (if applicable) and a brief research sketch (up to two pages A4). The research sketch should outline the candidate’s ideas and plans for the topic outlined above. Please email applications in the form of a single PDF to Christian Kray at c.kray@uni-muenster.de, quoting DCOMM in the subject line. The deadline for applications is the 31st of March 2016. In case of any further questions, please use the same contact details.

General Enquiries

If you have general enquiries about the DComm Project please contact the Administrator, Jackie Orford at J.Orford@uea.ac.uk or +44 (0) 1603 597146