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[ecrea] PhD scholarship in AI, personalisation and narratives
Wed Jul 04 22:25:17 GMT 2018
*Royal Holloway University of London, Departments: Media Arts, School of
*‘Persons, people and personalisation: Understanding subjectivity
Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship on
Artificial Intelligence (AI), personalisation and narratives at Royal
Holloway, University of London, in partnership with a range of
commercial firms (covering AI, media content production and gaming
platforms). This award, tenable for three years and covering both fees
and an enhanced maintenance grant, is made by the TECHNE AHRC Doctoral
Training Partnership under the National Productivity Investment Fund
Partnership Award scheme. The project, due to begin on the 1^st of
September 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter, will be supervised by
Dr Olga Goriunova (Media Arts) and Professor Mark Lycett (School of
AI-driven personalisation offers a clear opportunity for creative
industries to more effectively engage audiences. But personalisation is
reliant on profiles created from individual and collective data, raising
questions as to what gaps exist between the models and human experience.
This project will partner with world-leading media and AI firms to
understand how such personalisation can be effectively and ethically
exploited in story experiences to generate greater audience engagement.
It addresses a clear creative industries business challenge with clear
Living human beings generate data that both individually and
collectively feed the profile-creation and various other methods through
which machine learning techniques personalise content. This raises
several interesting research questions, such as:
* How are living human beings mapped onto the profiles and personas
used for personalisation?
* How effective (or constraining) is that mapping process?
* What ‘gaps’ exist between the AI ‘models’ of the human experience
and the actual experiences of those humans when they receive their
Consequently, this PhD focuses on such questions, covering the
techniques of personalisation both in terms of machine learning
innovation and their cultural effects, to the practical ones, on how
specific audiences respond to personalised content. The overall aim of
the project is to understand how effectively a ‘subjectivity’ modelled
by AI works with human experiences, conceptually, technologically,
ethically, and in terms of personalised cultural content.
The methodology for this project will draw ondigital and cultural
theory, ethics, audience research and Design Science Research (DSR).
Using mixed methods is the most fitting approach for an
interdisciplinary PhD. DSR will be especially useful in that it
partners critical/theoretical reflection with a practical approach to
delivering value to our partner via its: (a) iterative nature, promoting
continuous learning between problems and solutions; (b) focus on
utility, ensuring that the outcomes are of practical economic benefit;
(c) ability to both integrate theory from reference disciplines and
generate new theory via the design process; and (d) focus on improving a
knowledge base via reflection on practice and generation of innovation.
The successful candidate will sit between two departments (Media Arts
and School of Management) as part of the new Centre for Digital
Creativity, working collaboratively with our industrial partners. We
anticipate that this will include at least 9 months of work at a
collaborator site over the tenure of the project. A good grasp of
machine learning techniques is necessary, to further research on how
those techniques ‘construct’ persons and audiences – thus, the
successful candidate will be qualified to a level that demonstrates
knowledge of both supervised and unsupervised machine learning
techniques and their application in the context of personalisation.
Ideally, this knowledge will be partnered with a critical cultural
training, perhaps in fields, such as philosophy, ethics, social, media,
digital and cultural theory or software studies – such that a critical
perspective is brought to the work.
The studentship includes a stipend of £16,777 (plus fees at home/EU
rates) for three years. There is an additional NPIF stipend of £550 per
year to facilitate engagement with the Partner, and students can apply
for an additional six months stipend to engage in extended development
activities such as work placements.
As a TECHNE student, the successful candidate will have full access to
the TECHNE Doctoral Training Partnership development activities and
networking opportunities, joining a cohort of about 50 students per year
from across seven universities in London and the south-east. TECHNE
students can apply for additional funding to support individual or group
training and development activities.
Applicants must meet the UK/EU residency requirements as described Annex
1 of the ‘Research Council Training Grant Guide ’ and comply with the
other Training Grant conditions set out there and in the ‘Terms and
Conditions of Training Grants’ Both documents are available at;
AHRC Techne Doctoral Training Consortium
*Further Information and How to Apply*
The post is based in Egham, Surrey where the College is situated in a
beautiful, leafy campus and within commuting distance from London. The
successful applicant should be prepared to spend significant time on
secondment with industry partners.
For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Dr Olga
Goriunova at (_olga.goriunova /at/ rhul.ac.uk)
<mailto:(olga.goriunova /at/ rhul.ac.uk)>_and Professor Mark Lycett at
(_mark.lycett /at/ rhul.ac.uk) <mailto:(mark.lycett /at/ rhul.ac.uk)>_
*How to Apply*
Applicants should submit the following to Dr Olga Goriunova
at (olga.goriunova /at/ rhul.ac.ukno) later than *10 August 2017*: (1) A
two-page curriculum vitae, including contact details of one academic
referee; (2) a 1 to 2 page letter outlining their qualification for the
studentship; and (3) a writing sample if such is available.
*Interviews: *Shortlisted applicants will be notified by Monday,
*20August*. Shortlisted candidates will be required to make a 10-minute
presentation to a group of staff on their proposed take on this project.
Interviews are scheduled to be held at Royal Holloway on *28 August 2017*.
/The College is committed to equality and diversity, and encourages
applications from all sections of the community./
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