Application Form
PhD Studentship in Conversational Proactive Information Retrieval (PhD_IR_GJ)

JobRef: 9690
  • Accepted file types: pdf.
  • Accepted file types: pdf.

PhD Studentship in Conversational Proactive Information Retrieval (PhD_IR_GJ)

POSTED:July 2, 2021
LOCATION:Dublin City University
CLOSES:July 31, 2021
Duration:4 Years
Reports to:Prof Gareth Jones
Salary:€18,500 per annum (non taxed)
Closing Date:July 31, 2021

Studentship Focus

Information retrieval technologies are a ubiquitous part of many people’s daily lives in the form of online search engines. Proactive information retrieval is an emerging area of research in which search systems are empowered to act autonomously to anticipate the information needs of a user or seek opportunities to provide the user with potentially useful information of which they may be unaware. This poses challenges of interpreting the user’s current activities and its relationship to the existing knowledge of the user. Conversational information retrieval aims to ease user engagement in a search engine by supporting them in identifying relevant information. 

This project will focus on examining the use of conversational agents to enable the user to engage with the proactive information retrieval to identify useful suggested information, enable the proactive system to explain the reasons for its recommendations and for the user to provide feedback. 

On completion of this PhD project, the student will have a strong knowledge of the state-of-the-art in established and emerging topics in information retrieval, including models of information seeking and information retrieval, development of experimental prototype systems and related evaluation strategies. The student will be expected to seek publication of their work at leading international venues and engage with international research benchmarks in information retrieval. 


  • 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 


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

English language requirements for non-native speakers of English is available here: 

Preferred qualifications

  • Candidates should be able to code in python, Java or an equivalent modern programming language.
  • Strong design and programming skills.
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Experience of the research process (at least an undergraduate level)
  • Excellent communication, teamwork and organizational skills.
  • Must be eager to work in and learn from a multi-disciplinary multi-organisation team

Advantageous experience

  • Knowledge of Information Retrieval, Conversational Systems, Development of Interactive Systems

Informal enquiries about this position can be made via email to Prof Gareth Jones ( referencing ‘PhD_IR_GJ’ in the subject line.

Application Process

Each application should only consist of

  1. Detailed curriculum vitae, including – if applicable – relevant publications;
  2. Transcripts of degrees,
  3. The name and email contacts of two academic referees,
  4. A cover letter/letter of introduction (max 2000 words). In the letter, applicants should include the following details:
  • An explanation of your interest in the research to be conducted and why you believe they are suitable for the position.
  • Why you wish to study for a PhD and why this is important to your future career.
  • 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.

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