Vacancies – POSTS NOW FILLED

12 Fully Funded Research Training Positions (PhD Fellowships) across Europe

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.

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.

ESR1 Project Title: Demonstratives across languages (WP1)
Host Institution: Universitat de les Illes Ballears (UIB), Spain
PI: Professor Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes. Key collaborators: Professor Kenny Coventry, UEA; Professor Holger Diessel, FSU.

Project DescriptionThis project will consider spatial demonstratives across languages using a combination of linguistic and experimental approaches to spatial demonstratives (Coventry et al., 2008, 2014) Although spatial demonstratives occur in all languages (Dixon, 2003; Diessel, 1999), demonstrative systems differ across languages in how they map onto space. This project will systematically test demonstrative use across languages in order to chart for the first time whether demonstrative systems across languages are governed by the same basic (universal) perceptual distinctions (Coventry et al., 2014; Diessel, 2014). This project will also examine the relationship between spatial and temporal uses of demonstratives, thus testing whether space and time are symmetrical or asymmetrically related in language.
Essential criteria for applications:
The successful candidate is expected to hold a good first BA degree and/or a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, or Cognitive Science (or related discipline) and to have a research focus in the field of linguistics, applied linguistics, and cognition, broadly construed. Excellent spoken and written English language skills are essential.
Desirable criteria for applications:
The successful candidate ideally needs to have documented research activities, such as presentations/publications and experience of advanced statistical analyses. Note that some knowledge of Spanish is preferable to attend some PhD courses.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Dr Pedro Guijarro Fuentes, p.guijarro@uib.es
Application information: available here UIB application information
Application Deadline: 21 March 2016

ESR2 Project Title:  Deictic language and deictic gestures in developmental deficits (WP1)
Host Institution: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
PI: Professor Mila Vulchanova/Dr Valentin Vulchanov. Key collaborators: Dr Andrew Bayliss/Dr Martin Doherty, UEA; Professor Holger Diessel, FSU.

Project Description – This project focuses on deictic communication in neurodevelopmental disorders. It is well know that there are pragmatic deficits in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. For example, problems with some pragmatic language persist even in the presence of preserved structural language at the high end of the autistic spectrum (Tager-Flusberg et al, 2005). It is also well known that there are deficits in visual attention in neurodevelopmental disorders, but with different disorders showing varying deficit profiles (Riby et al, 2008). This project will employ a range of experimental (EEG, eye tracking) and linguistic methods to provide the first detailed examination of (possible) deficits in deictic gesture and deictic language in autism in comparison with other developmental deficits (e.g. Williams Syndrome) (Landau & Hoffman, 2012).
Essential criteria for applications:
Applicants should have a strong background in developmental deficits of language and cognition (from the perspective of linguistics, psychology or cognitive (neuro-) science), preferably with experience from experimental research, speech therapy, assessment and/or intervention. They should have high proficiency in English and good research writing skills. Experience with experimental research methods (eye-tracking, ERP/EEG) and statistical analyses is mandatory. Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Professor Mila Vulchanova mila.vulchanova@ntnu.no

Application information: available here NTNU application information
Application Deadline: 31 March 2016

ESR3 Project Title: Spatial language and joint attention in child development (WP1)
Host Institution: University of East Anglia (UEA), UK
PI: Dr Martin Doherty/Dr Andrew Bayliss. Key collaborators: Professor Holger Diessel, FSU; Professor Angelo Cangelosi, UOP.

Project Description – This project will examine spatial language in typical development, and the relationship between the use of ‘demonstratives’, gesture, and theory of mind. Eye tracking will be used with infants and toddlers during simple play, employing tasks that will encourage children to identify objects being referred to and joint attention cues (e.g. checking the gaze of the speaker). This project will be the first to examine the relationship between demonstratives, perspective taking/theory of mind, and joint attention using a range of controlled and ecologically valid metacognitive tasks. The successful applicant will complete this programme of research at the University of East Anglia but will have the opportunity to travel to other sites hosting researchers working on the ITN.
Essential criteria for applications:
a Degree in Psychology or a related discipline
-a Masters degree in Psychology or a related discipline.  Masters studies must be completed before taking up this post
-fluency in spoken and written English commensurate with PhD study
Desirable criteria for applications:
experience of research with children

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Dr Martin Doherty Martin.Doherty@uea.ac.uk
Application information: available here UEA Application information
Application Deadline:  12 midnight, 2 June 2016

ESR4 Project Title: Investigating deictic communication in stroke patients with visual neglect (WP1)
Host Institution: University of East Anglia (UEA), UK
PI: Professor Kenny Coventry/Dr Stephanie Rossit. Key collaborators: Headway, UK; Associate Professor Mikkel Wallentin, AU.

Project Description – This project will investigate deictic communication in stroke for the first time. Two thirds of stroke patients exhibit visual neglect (Stone et al, 1993). Visual neglect is the most severe and common visual processing problem observed after stroke (Stroke association) and is characterised by a loss of awareness of the side of space opposite to the side of the stroke. Although patients are not blind to that side of space, they do not perceive or attend to it. This project will for the first time examine deictic communication deficits in stroke patients, and the relationship between deictic communication abilities and visual neglect. Following screening for the presence of visual neglect and other associated neuropsychological deficits, patients will perform a range of deictic communication tasks (including the ‘memory game task’ used successfully to elicit demonstratives under controlled conditions (Coventry et al, 2008, 2014). Voxel-based lesion-symptom analysis (Rossit et al, 2011) will be used to identify which brain regions when damaged are associated with deictic communication deficits. In turn, a rehabilitation trial will establish whether deictic communication enhancement may improve visual neglect.
Essential criteria for applications:
a first degree in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, or a related discipline
-a Masters level degree in psychological science, cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology or a related discipline
-fluency in spoken and written English commensurate with PhD study
Desirable criteria for applications:
experience working with neurological patients including obtaining ethical approval for clinical studies and neuropsychological assessment
-experience of lesion-symptom analyses
-experience working with neuroimaging software (e.g., SPM, MRICROn)
-experience working with programming languages (e.g., E-prime, Matlab)
-experience of collecting and analysing motion-tracking data
-experience of advanced statistical analyses

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Dr Stephanie Rossit S.Rossit@uea.ac.uk
Application information: available here UEA application information
Application Deadline: 28 March 2016

ESR5 Project Title: Spatial deixis in (diachronic) language development (WP1)
Host Institution: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität (FSU) Jena, Germany
PI: Professor Holger Diessel. Key collaborators: Dr Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes, UIB; Dr Andrew Bayliss/Dr Martin Doherty, UEA; Professor Mila Vulchanova/Dr Valentin Vulchanov, NTNU; Ordnance Survey.

Project Description – The project will investigate aspects of spatial deixis from synchronic, diachronic, and cross-linguistic perspectives. Of particular importance will be the origins and diachronic developments of spatial deictic expressions. Methodologically, the project will combine qualitative analyses of data from historical texts, etymological dictionaries, and historical grammars with quantitative analyses of (diachronic) corpus data and data from a typological database to be established in the course of the project.
Essential criteria for applications:
a Masters level degree in linguistics or related discipline (eg English Linguistics; Cognititve Psychology)
-fluency in spoken and written English commensurate with PhD study
-Desirable criteria for applications:
-experience in language typology and/or diachronic linguistics
-experience in corpus linguistics
-experience of statistical analysis

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: holger.diessel@uni-jena.de
Application information: available here Jena application information
Application Deadline: 21 March 2016

ESR6 Project Title: The neural correlates of spatial demonstratives (WP1).
Host Institution: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark
PI: Associate Professor Mikkel Wallentin. Key collaborators: Professor Kenny Coventry, UEA.

Project Description – This project will employ functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to elucidate the mapping between spatial demonstratives and non-linguistic brain regions involved in the perception of space; specifically peripersonal (near space) versus extrapersonal (far) space (Kemmerer, 1999; Làdavas, 2002; Longo & Lourenco, 2006). Spatial demonstratives will be used as auditory stimuli, presented both within a larger linguistic context (e.g. in stories) and in isolation in a standard forced choice response paradigm. These paradigms will allow for investigation of the differences between demonstratives in different contextual and attentional settings. It will be established if there is a close neurological mapping between perceptual space (Kemmerer, 1999; Làdavas, 2002; Longo, & Lourenco, 2006; Lane et al, 2013) and demonstratives.
Essential criteria for applications:
a Masters level degree in cognitive science, neuroscience, linguistics, psychology or a related discipline
-fluency in spoken and written English commensurate with PhD study.
Desirable criteria for applications:
-Experience with neuroimaging and analyses of neuroimaging data.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Associate Professor Mikkel Wallentin
mikkel@cc.au.dk
Application information: available here AU application information
Application deadline: 1 June 2016

ESR7 Project Title: Deictic communication in sign languages (WP1).
Host Institution: ISTC Consiglio Nazionale Delie Ricerche (CNR), Italy
PI: Dr Olga Capirci/Dr Cristina Caselli. Key collaborators: QUALISYS; Professor Holger Diessel, FSU.

Project Description – The ESR will focus on deictic communication in sign languages – languages where action is privileged, but also provides key grammatical functions. Drawing on previous work on Sign Languages (SL) and Spoken-Vocal Languages (VL), and on new evidence on the development of deictic gesture and words for demonstrative versus person reference, the project will explore typological, modality-specific features affecting deixis and anaphora in SL. Deictic-anaphoric reference is produced in SL via complex manual and non-manual units, which exhibit highly iconic features and are marked by specific eye-gaze patterns which distinguish them from standard signs. Signed data will be analysed also referring to co-speech deictic gestures and to other deictic devices (e.g. demonstratives), in order to analyze bimodal bilingual (spoken/signed language) patterns of both adults and children.  Together the seven projects in WP1 will afford the first comprehensive picture of deictic communication using complementary methods from complementary disciplines. ESRs will benefit from training using all the relevant techniques typically isolated to single disciplines, conjoined with a programme of transferable skills that will prepare them for future employment.
Essential criteria for applications:
a Bachelor degree in Linguistics, Psychology, Cognitive Sciences, or a related discipline
-a Masters level degree in Linguistics, Psychology, Cognitive Sciences, Interpreters and Translators, or a related discipline
-fluency in spoken and written English commensurate with PhD study
-documented fluency in at least  one Sign Language
Desirable criteria for applications:
experience in transcription, coding and analyses of SL corpora
-experience in using a video-coding software (e.g. ELAN)
-experience in working with deaf signing people (children and/or adults)
-experience in statistical analyses and in use of dedicated software (e.g. SPSS)

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Olga Capirci, Senior Researcher, ISTC – CNR, Rome olgacapi@gmail.com
Application information: available here CNR application information
Application deadline: 31 March 2016

ESR8 Project Title: Developmental robotics architecture for the co-development of demonstratives and gestures in human-robot cooperation (WP2)
Host Institution: Plymouth University, UK
PI: Professor Angelo Cangelosi/Dr Anthony Morse. Key collaborators: Dr Martin Doherty/Dr Andrew Bayliss, UEA; Telerobot; IIT.

Project Description – This project will target the important issue of the robot’s understanding of function words, including demonstratives, to go beyond current state-of-the-art learning and understanding of words naming objects and actions in robots. The interaction between robots and humans, as in cooperation on joint object manipulation, requires the robot’s understanding of sentences such as “Pass me that ball” and “Put that yellow block there.” The cognitive architecture will extend the “ERA” architecture developed by Morse et al. (2010) used in HRI experiments on word learning for object and action names, with the addition of a recurrent module for the processing of action sequences and gestures. The extended architecture will focus on the development of robotics architecture for deictic communication, focusing on demonstratives. This work aims to be developmentally inspired, taking what is known about the developmental trajectory of gesture and language to impact upon robot architecture and learning. The extended cognitive architecture will provide the first cognitive robotic model for the understanding of function words and their grounding in sensorimotor strategies and social interaction, and its application to human-robot interaction/cooperation across a range of settings (e.g. robot companions for older adults).
Essential criteria for applications:
First degree in computer science, robotics, cognitive science or related discipline.
-Good programming skills
Desirable criteria for applications:
A Masters level degree in the same disciplines.
-knowledge and skills on computational cognitive modelling (e.g. neural networks, robotics, artificial intelligence) previous research experience

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Professor Angelo Cangelosi acangelosi@plymouth.ac.uk
Application information: available here UOP Application information
Application deadline: 6 March 2016

ESR9 Project Title: From single words to compositional language via gestures: Applications in robot language learning (WP2)
Host Institution: Plymouth University, UK
PI: Professor Angelo Cangelosi/Dr Anthony Morse. Key collaborators: Dr Olga Capirci/Dr Cristina Caselli, CNR; Telerobot; IIT.

Project Description – Studies on sign language and language-gesture development have shown that children go through a gesture-word combination stage before they make full transition to two-word and longer sentences (Capirci et al, 1996). This project will follow the language and action integration roadmap proposed in Cangelosi et al. (2010) on the co-development and sharing of compositional representations common to language and action (Pastra & Aloimonos, 2011) for extended language learning systems in human-robot cooperation tasks. The neural control architecture will integrate both action and language learning through integrated sensorimotor/linguistic areas, using interaction scenarios requiring compositional and recursive actions, and the learning of both words and gestures to describe action-object combination related to the task execution. Analyses of the neural controller’s shared action/language layers will shed light on the nature of shared, compositional representation bootstrapping both motor and linguistic capabilities.
Essential criteria for applications:
First degree in computer science, robotics, cognitive science or related discipline.
-Good programming skills
Desirable criteria for applications:
-A Masters level degree in the same disciplines.
-knowledge and skills on computational cognitive modelling (e.g. neural networks, robotics, artificial intelligence) previous research experience

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Professor Angelo Cangelosi acangelosi@plymouth.ac.uk
Application information: available here UOP application information
Application deadline: 6 March 2016

ESR10 Project Title: Deictic communication and mobile phones (WP2)
Host Institution: University of Münster, Germany
PI: Dr Cristian Kray. Key collaborators: Professor Christoph Hölscher/Professor Martin Raubal, ETH; 52°North .

Project Description – 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

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Dr Christian Kray c.kray@uni-muenster.de
Application information: available here Muenster application information
Application deadline: 31 March 2016

ESR11 Project Title: Improved motion capture methodology and tools in Linguistic research (WP2)
Host Institution: Qualisys, Sweden
PI: Mr Fredrik Muller. Key collaborators: Dr Olga Capirci/Dr Cristina Caselli, CNR; Dr Stephanie Rossit/Professor Kenny Coventry, UEA; Professor Mila Vulchanova, NTNU.

Project Description – The goal of this project will be to focus on motion tracking technology development and integration with respect to communication. Many of the above projects tap how language and gesture are coordinated in deictic communication across populations. This project will develop motion-tracking integration for communication settings. This will involve the optimization of marker sets for motion tracking, the coordination of these sets with speech streams, and the associated algorithmic improvements in the motion capture tool chain required. The ESR will work closely across other projects, developing the technology needed for novel data collection and analyses methods. There will be a strong training component also, with the ESR learning how to train others, adapting training to the specific needs of researchers coming from different disciplines and approaches
Essential criteria for applications:
– MSc level degree in computer science or a related discipline
– fluency in spoken and written English commensurate with PhD study
– thorough programming experience in some programming language preferably C# or C++
Desirable criteria for applications:
– experience in human-computer interaction
– experience/interest in Virtual reality/Augmented reality
– experience in working in an interdisciplinary team

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Fredrik Müller Fredrik.muller@qualisys.se
Application information: available at Qualisys application information
Application deadline: 6 June 2016

ESR13 Project Title: Deictic communication in architectural and urban design (WP2)
Host Institution: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Switzerland
PI: Professor Christoph Hölscher/Dr Martin Brösamle. Key collaborators: KCAP; Dr Christian Kray, WWU.

Project Description – The spatial arrangements in architectural design tasks are too detailed and nuanced to be reliably communicated by verbal descriptions alone. Thus, the dialogue between designers and with clients is based on deictic gestures and verbal references to objects such as plans, 3d models and ad-hoc sketches. This project will characterize and classify the deictic references occurring in different stages of the design process. The project will also distinguish between novice and senior designers with respect to their deictic reference strategies and their ability to adjust such behaviours to different communication partners.
Essential criteria for applications:
The successful candidate is expected to hold a good Master’s level degree (or equivalent) in Cognitive Science, Psychology, Anthropology or other relevant behavioural science, or to have Master’s level training in Architecture, Urban Planning or related design disciplines. The candidate must have some experience with collecting data about human cognitive processes. Candidates from a design background must have strong exposure to scientific thinking and some research experience in the area of Design Studies or Design Cognition, or some other cognitively or human-centered research work. Excellent spoken and written English language skills are essential.
Desirable criteria for applications:
The successful candidate ideally needs to have documented research activities, such as presentations/publications and experience of advanced statistical analyses. Experience with design experiments, design interviews, observation studies and protocol analysis, video analysis or eye-tracking is also desirable. The ideal candidate with have a passion for linking cognitive science with understanding architectural design.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to: Professor Christoph Hölscher christoph.hoelscher@gess.ethz.ch
Application information: available here ETH application information
Application deadline: 21 March 2016

How to apply
Each organisation has a separate application procedure – where details are available at the time of posting the vacancies then the information is added above. If they are not available, they will be added to the website in the very near future. In most applications, applicants will be required to address how they meet the selection criteria, and supply evidence of documentation as required.

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

The positions are full-time for 36 months.

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.

Salaries
Each ESR will be paid a basic salary of 3110 euros per month (before local taxes 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.