1 PHD POSITION in “Conversational Interfaces for humanoid robots” AT THE IIT IN COLLABORATION WITH NTT-DATA and the UNIVERSITY of MANCHESTER - [ PhD ]

Workplace: Genova, IIT
Added on: 15/11/2019 - Expires on: 31/12/2020

IIT has established a collaboration with NTT-Data and the University of Manchester, at the Department of Computer Science, and finances scholarships linked to 1 PhD positions available at the 3 year PhD program organized by University of Manchester. Research and training activities are jointly conducted within IIT structure and University of Manchester, while the PhD is funded by NTT-Data.

Each recipient of the scholarship will develop the project at the Humanoid Sensing and Perception research line (PI Lorenzo Natale), at the premises of IIT in Genova, and at the University of Manchester.

The successful candidate will be part of an exciting and international working environment and will work in brand new laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art humanoid robots and instrumentation.

The PhD project will focus on improving the social abilities of the iCub and R1 robots developed at IIT, focusing in particular on the integration between Natural Language Processing (NLP), computer vision and machine learning. Specifically the project has the goal of i) integrating the IVE NLP platform, developed by NTT Data Italy, on the iCub and R1 robots to implement a bi-directional communication interface and ii) study how contextual information derived by other sensory channels (e.g. vision) can be used to enhance the effectiveness of NLP in applications involving human-robot interaction.

This PhD project will be carried out within the Humanoid Sensing and Perception lab (iCub Facility), and the NTT Data Italy company. The project will combine IIT knowledge in robotics and robot vision with NTT Data Italy knowledge in NLP. The candidate will gain in depth knowledge of natural language processing systems, modern computer vision techniques and their application in robotics.

The ideal candidate should have a degree in Computer Science Data Science, Applied Mathematics, Engineering (or equivalent) and background in Machine Learning and Robotics. He should be highly motivated to work on a robotic platform and have strong computer programming skills (C++, Python and Machine Learning/Deep Learning frameworks (e.g. Scikit-learn, Tensorflow, Pytorch). Experience with robotic middleware (e.g. YARP, ROS) and robot simulators (e.g. Gazebo) will be considered a plus.

Excellent communication skills in English, as well as ability to interact effectively with members of the research team, are mandatory.

In order to be eligible for this position, each candidate must comply to University of Manchester eligibility criteria for a PhD Program.

For further information about this position please contact: Lorenzo Natale (lorenzo.natale@iit.it)

This position will remain open until filled. Please apply by sending your application to applications@iit.it quoting exactly “BC77793 – PhD position in Conversational Interfaces for humanoid robots“ in the e-mail subject.

Your application shall contain:

  • a detailed CV;
  • a research statement;
  • contact information of at least two referees;
  • English language certificate: the selected candidate whose first language is not English shall be required to obtain the following scores before the contract starting date:
    • IELTS: greater than or equal to 6.5 overall (with a 6.5 in the written component and no other subtest below 5.5)
    • IBT TOEFL greater than or equal to 90 overall (with 22 in the written component and no other subtest below 20)               
    • English language test validity: Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test results must be valid on the start date of your course.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with its headquarters in Genova, Italy, is a non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy’s technological competitiveness. The Institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and a top-level interdisciplinary research environment focused on robotics and computer vision, neuroscience, drug discovery, nanoscience and technology.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an equal opportunity employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.

Please note that the data that you provide will be used exclusively for the purpose of  professional profiles’ evaluation and selection, and in order to meet the requirements of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

Your data will be processed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, based in Genoa, Via Morego 30, acting as Data Controller, in compliance with the rules on protection of personal data, including those related to data security.

Please also note that, pursuant to articles 15 et. seq. of European Regulation no. 679/2016 (General Data Protection Regulation), you may exercise your rights at any time by contacting the Data Protection Officer (phone +39 010 71781 - email: dpo[at]iit.it)


Involved Research lines
Humanoid Sensing and Perception


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