2 funded PhD positions in interactive virtual characters and social
robots at KTH, Sweden**

Embodied Social Agents Lab
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Stockholm, Sweden
Deadline: 15th January 2018


KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one
of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a
key center of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s
largest technical research and learning institution and home to
students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research
and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all
branches of engineering, as well as in architecture, industrial
management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

The Embodied Social Agents Lab (http://www.csc.kth.se/~chpeters/ESAL/)
led by Dr. Christopher Peters aims to develop virtual characters and
other systems capable of interacting socially with humans for real-world
application to areas such as education. The lab is already involved in a
number of local and international initiatives involving virtual
characters, social robots and education. It is based out of the
Visualization Studio (VIC) at KTH, a research, teaching and
dissemination resource with some of the most advanced interactive
visualization technologies in the world, supporting platforms for
interacting with sophisticated virtual characters.


Two PhD positions are available in the area of interactive virtual
characters and social robots for application to education. Research in
this area brings together multidisciplinary expertise to address new
challenges and opportunities in the area of virtual characters, based on
real-time computer graphics and animation techniques, to investigate
multimodal and natural interaction for both individuals and groups,
multimodal generation of expressions, individualization of behaviour and
effects of embodiment (appearance, virtual versus physical objects).
Applications are the design of interactive virtual and physical systems
for educational purposes.

The topics to be pursued respectively in the PhDs are:

1. Compliant Small Group Behaviour (ref: ESR5)

Develop socially compliant behaviours allowing agents to join and
leave free-standing formations based on their varying roles as
teachers, teaching assistants and learners in pedagogical
scenarios. Investigate the impact of variations in the artificial
behaviour of agents on the efficacy of pedagogical approaches and
potential for application to mobile robots through virtual replicas.

2. Impact of Appearance Customisation on Interaction (ref: ESR15)

Investigate technological approaches for customising the appearances
and behaviours of avatars (user controlled virtual characters and
robot replicas) in relation to their users and assess the impact on
interactions during learning scenarios.

Both of the PhDs involve crossovers between virtual and augmented
reality, virtual characters and mobile social robots and take place
within the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska Curie European Training Network

ANIMATAS will establish a leading European Training Network (ETN)
devoted to the development of a new generation of creative and critical
research leaders and innovators who have a skill-set tailored for the
creation of social capabilities necessary for realising step changes in
the development of intuitive human-machine interaction (HMI) in
educational settings. 15 early-stage researcher (ESR) positions are
available within ANIMATAS.

The successful candidates will participate in the network’s training
activities offered by the European academic and industrial participating
teams. PhD students will have the opportunity to work with the partners
of the ANIMATAS project, such as Uppsala University, Jacobs University
Bremen, Institut Mines-Télécom, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pierre
et Marie Curie University and Softbank Robotics, with possible
opportunities for secondments at these institutions according to the


The candidates must have an MSc degree in computer science or related
areas relevant to the PhD topics. Good programming skills are
required. A background in computer graphics and animation techniques or
similar areas is appreciated. The PhD positions are highly
interdisciplinary and require an understanding and/or interest in
psychology and social sciences. The applicant should have excellent
communication skills and be motivated to work in an interdisciplinary
environment involving multiple stakeholders across academia, industry
and education. An excellent level of written and spoken English is

Read more about eligibility requirements at this link:
The positions are for four years.


To apply, candidates must submit their CV, a letter of application, two
letters of reference and academic credentials to the ANIMATAS
recruitment committee: Mohamed Chetouani (network coordinator), Ana
Paiva and Arvid Kappas at contact-animatas@listes.upmc.fr, and to the
main supervisor of the research project of interest (Christopher Peters,
chpeters@kth.se<mailto:chpeters@kth.se>). All applications should be
made in English.  Please include the keyword “ANIMATAS” somewhere in the
subject line and specify which project you are applying for (ESR5 or

The application deadline is 15th January 2018

Information about the positions can be provided by Dr. Christopher
Peters, chpeters@kth.se<mailto:chpeters@kth.se>