Location: Dublin City University
Level: PhD

Post Title: PhD Studentship in Information Retrieval (PhD_IR_AC)
Anticipated start date: September 2021 / October 2021
Stipend: €18,500 per annum (non taxed) plus university fees 
Closing Date: 12th April 2021
Full Role Description
Apply HERE


  • Contribute to the ADAPT research agenda that pioneers and combines research in AI driven technologies: Natural Language Processing, Video/Text/Image/Speech processing, digital engagement & HCI, semantic modeling, personalisation, privacy & data governance. 
  • Work with our interdisciplinary team of  leading experts from the complementary fields of, Social Sciences,  Communications, Commerce/Fintech, Ethics, Law,  Health, Environment and Sustainability.
  • Leverage our success.  ADAPT’s researchers have signed 43 collaborative research projects, 52 licence agreements and oversee 16 active commercialisation funds and 52 commercialisation awards.  ADAPT has won 40 competitive EU research projects and obtained €18.5 million in non-exchequer non-commercial funding. Additionally, six spinout companies have been formed. ADAPT’s researchers have produced over 1,500 journal and conference publications and nearly 100 PhD students have been trained. 

As an ADAPT funded PhD researcher you will have access to a network of 85 global experts and over 250 staff as well as a wide multi-disciplinary ecosystem across 8 leading Irish universities. We can influence and inform your work, share our networks and collaborate with you to increase your impact, and accelerate your career opportunities. Specifically we offer: 

  1. Opportunity to build your profile at international conferences and global events.
  2. A solid career pathway through formalised training & development, expert one-on-one supervision and exposure to top specialists.
  3. A Fully funded, 4 year PhD postgraduate studentship which includes  a stipend of (€18,500 per annum - non taxed), along with equipment, annual travel funding 
  4. Funding for annual student fees 


The aim of this PhD is to explore challenges of responsible AI in Personalised Information Retrieval. The project will investigate Fair, Accountable, Confidential, Transparent, Safe (FACTS) AI approaches at personalised information retrieval. Major challenges in this field include the accountability of AI algorithms for the generation of ranked results.  In this context the investigation will focus on the balance between the performance of the algorithms and their fairness and scrutability/interpretability to generate explanations for the users. The PhD will also focus on privacy aware personalisation, which concerns the investigation/definition of user profile that guarantee privacy protection. The student will investigate techniques and define appropriate approaches to balance privacy and accuracy of algorithms.

  • You will work within a large group of Academics, Postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and Software Developers and will research the specialist area of Information Retrieval, specifically Fair Accountable and Transparent proactive Information Retrieval. As part of this studentship, you will have the opportunity to:
  • Design and deploying new algorithms in the specific area of FAT proactive IR;
  • Design of appropriate research methodology and evaluation protocols for the proposed ideas and models;
  • Enhance your reputation through publishing in top-quality journals and conferences in collaboration with team members
  • You will have the opportunity to nationally and internationally present and represent the ground breaking research carried out by you and the research team;
  • Contributing to short-term, focused industry projects with ADAPT.

On completion of the PhD program the candidate

  • Will have demonstrated understanding of the problems related to FACTS AI and IR, and have mastered  the skills and methods of research in this field;
  • Will have demonstrated capabilities of defining, designing and implementing appropriate research methodologies with academic integrity and made substantial contribution that extends the knowledge in the field;
  • Be able to communicate concepts and research outputs with their peers and the research community at large and with people outside the field. 

Minimum qualifications

  • Applicants should have a strong undergraduate (2.1 or above) or Masters degree in  Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related degree. 
  • To register for a Postgraduate Research programme, a candidate must normally have obtained a primary degree classification equivalent to Lower Second Class Honours or above, from an approved University or an approved equivalent degree-awarding body, or have an approved equivalent professional qualification in an area cognate to the proposed research topic. See http://www.dcu.ie/registry/postgraduate/faq.shtml#q3
  • English language requirements for non-native speakers of English is available here: https://www.dcu.ie/registry/english.shtml

Preferred qualifications

  • Excellent communication, teamwork and organizational skills.
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Aptitude for technology
  • Experience of the research process (at least an undergraduate level)
  • Strong data and statistical analysis skills 
  • Must be eager to work in and learn from a multi-disciplinary multi-organisation team
  • Demonstrated proficiency in software development with strong design and programming skills.

Advantageous experience

  • Experience with communicating research and/or science to a lay audience
  • Knowledge of Information Retrieval, Recommender System, Machine Learning and/or Deep Learning is a distinctive advantage.

Informal enquiries about this position can be made via email to Prof Annalina Caputo (annalina.caputo@dcu.ie) referencing ‘PhD_IR_AC’ in the subject line. 

Application Process

Each application should only consist of and should be submitted via https://forms.gle/G5aCAFLbgjRCx5vFA 

  • a detailed CV
  • transcripts of degrees
  • the name and email contacts of two academic referees
  • a letter of introduction (max 3000 words). In the letter, applicants should include the following details: 
    • An explanation of your interest in the research we plan to conduct and why you believe they are suitable for the position. 
    • Details of your final year undergraduate project (if applicable) 
    • Details of your MSc project (if applicable)
    • Details of any relevant modules previously taken, at undergraduate and/or Master level. 
    • Details of any relevant work experience (if applicable). 


ADAPT is committed to achieving better diversity and gender representation at all levels of the organisation, across leadership, academic, operations, research staff and studentship levels. ADAPT is committed to the continued development of employment policies, procedures and practices that promote gender equality. On that basis we encourage and welcome talented people from all backgrounds to join ADAPT.

About the ADAPT Centre

ADAPT is the world-leading SFI research centre for AI Driven Digital Content Technology hosted by Trinity College Dublin.  ADAPT’s partner institutions include Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin, Maynooth University, Munster Technological University, Athlone Institute of Technology, and the National University of Ireland Galway. ADAPT's research vision is to pioneer new forms of proactive, scalable, and integrated AI-driven Digital Content Technology that empower individuals and society to engage in digital experiences with control, inclusion, and accountability with the long term goal of a balanced digital society by 2030. ADAPT is pioneering new Human Centric AI techniques and technologies including personalisation, natural language processing, data analytics,   intelligent machine translation human-computer interaction, as well as setting the standards for data governance, privacy and ethics for digital content.