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Post Doctoral Researcher in User Autonomy and Intelligent Systems

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Post Doctoral Researcher in User Autonomy and Intelligent Systems

Level:Postdoctoral Researcher
POSTED:October 5, 2021
LOCATION:University College Dublin
CLOSES:October 15, 2021
Duration:2 Years
Reports to:Dr David Coyle
Salary:€38,631 – €47,264
Closing Date:October 15, 2021

Deadline: 5pm October 15th 2021
Applications: please apply through the UCD HR website, using the reference number 013643.

The School of Computer Science at University College Dublin invites applications for a full-time, 2-year fixed term position as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the HCI@UCD research group and ADAPT SFI Research Centre. The overall vision of ADAPT is to pioneer new forms of proactive and integrated AI-driven Digital Technology that empower individuals and society. This position is in the area of Human Computer Interaction and will focus on the issue of user autonomy in interactions with intelligent systems.

Autonomy is considered fundamental to human motivation and wellbeing. It is a complex experience, and becomes more complex still when interacting with intelligent computer systems that have the potential to become co-actors. As a phenomena autonomy be can approached from diverse perspectives and within different timeframes. We can for example consider users’ sense of agency or control in their moment-to- moment interactions with multimodal or predictive interfaces. Equally autonomy can be expressed through the choices we make, and are empowered to make, in using digital health technologies and interacting with recommender systems. On occasion we may even choose to cede autonomy to a machine, e.g. a self-driving car.

Research undertaken in this post will contribute to the our understanding of how to design interactive systems that support and respect human autonomy, whilst also maximising the potential of human-computer collaboration. The successful candidate will be expected to design and evaluate interactive probes or prototypes, and undertake user studies that explore the human experience of autonomy is specific interaction contexts. The exact context in which autonomy will be addressed is open to discussion and will be based on the joint interests of the research team and post-doctoral researcher. As such the post-doctoral research will be expected to both drive an individual research agenda and contribute to the broader agenda of the HCI@UCD research group.

HCI@UCD is an interdisciplinary research group bringing together designers, computer scientists, social and cognitive scientists. We have core research interests in areas including digital health technology, conversational user interfaces, user autonomy, and ethical aspects of design for HCI. We publish regularly at conferences including the ACM CHI and seek to develop technologies that have a positive impact on society.

The successful candidate will be expected to play a full role in the HCI@UCD group, e.g. by helping to mentor PhD students, collaborating with other post-doctoral researchers, and by actively participating in group meetings and seminars. As a member of the ADAPT Centre the successful candidate will also be expected to assist in identifying future funding opportunities and in preparing funding proposals at both a national and international level, and with industry partners.

This is a research focused role, where you will conduct a specified programme of research supported by research training and development under the supervision and direction of a Principal Investigator. The primary purpose of the role is to further develop your research skills and competences, including the processes of publication in peer-reviewed academic publications, the development of funding proposals, the mentorship of graduate students along with the opportunity to develop your skills in research led teaching.

For informal questions please contact David Coyle at

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct a specified programme of research and scholarship under the supervision and direction of your Principal Investigator.
  • Engage in appropriate training and professional development opportunities as required by your Principal Investigator, your School or Institute, or the University.
  • Engage in the dissemination of the results of the research in which you are engaged as directed by and with the support of and under the supervision of your Principal Investigator.
  • Engage in the wider research and scholarly activities of your research group, School and Institute.
  • Mentor and assist, as appropriate and as directed, the research graduate students in your group, School and Institute.
  • Carry out administrative work associated with your programme of research.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria outline the qualifications, skills, knowledge and/or experience that the successful candidate would need to demonstrate for successful discharge of the responsibilities of the post. Applications will be assessed on the basis of how well candidates satisfy these criteria.


  • PhD in Human Computer Interaction, Interaction Design or relevant discipline, e.g. Cognitive Science. Candidates nearing completing of a PhD will also be considered.
  • A demonstrated commitment to research and publications
  • An understanding of the operational requirements for a successful research project
  • Evidence of research activity (publications, conference presentations, awards) and future scholarly output (working papers, research proposals, and ability to outline a research project.
  • Excellent Communication Skills (Oral, Written , Presentation etc).
  • Excellent Organisational and Administrative skills including a proven ability to work to deadlines.
  • Candidates must demonstrate an awareness of equality, diversity and inclusion agenda.

The PD1 position is intended for early stage researchers, either just after completion of a PhD or for someone entering a new area for the first time. If you have already completed your PD1 stage in UCD or will soon complete a PD1, or you are an external applicant whose total Postdoctoral experience, inclusive of the duration of the advertised post, would exceed 4 years, you should not apply and should refer to PD2 posts instead.


  • Experience in the design of quantitative or qualitative studies of human interaction with intelligent systems.
  • Experience in the design of interactive probes or prototypes.
  • A deep understanding of relevant theories in areas such as the sense of agency, embodied cognition or human wellbeing.
  • A commitment to user-centric design methods.
  • Successful record of publication in leading HCI conferences and journals (e.g. ACM CHI, CSCW, IJHCS or TOCHI)


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