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WDAqua (Answering Questions using Web Data), a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN), is seeking 15 highly skilled PhD candidates.

PhD students in WDAqua will spend 3 years working at one of 6 research institutions in Europe (France, Germany, Greece, UK), will participate in an outstanding web science and data science training programme, and will have the chance to visit other of these organisations plus further application partners. The gross monthly salary (including social security, before taxes) is 3,110 € (adjusted depending on the country of employment) plus a mobility allowance of 600 €/month and, if applicable, a family allowance of 500 €/month.

Smart infrastructures and citizens’ participation in the digital society are increasingly data-driven. Sharing, connecting, managing, analysing and understanding data on the Web will enable better services for citizens, communities and industry. However, turning web data into successful services for the public and private sector requires skilled web and data scientists, and it still requires further research. WDAqua aims at advancing the state of the art by intertwining training, research and innovation efforts, centred around data-driven question answering. Question answering is immediately useful to a wide audience of end users, and we will demonstrate this in settings including e-commerce, public sector information, publishing and smart cities. Steps to answering a question are (1) understanding a spoken question, (2) analysing the question’s text, (3) finding data to answer the question, and (4) presenting the answer(s). Every individual research project in WDAqua connects at least two of these steps.

University of Bonn, Germany
Department: Enterprise Information Systems
3 positions (job posting/on EURAXESS; one of them with a dual degree with Saint-Étienne)
Topics: linked data publishing, data quality assessment, data cleaning, federated queries
University of Athens, Greece
Department of Informatics and Telecommunications
2 positions (job posting/on EURAXESS)
Topics: dataset alignment and merging, user interaction, interactive disambiguation
Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne, France
Department: Laboratoire Hubert Curien
3 positions (job posting/on EURAXESS; two of them with dual degrees with the University of Bonn)
Topics: provenance, trust, link discovery, data dynamicity and evolution, named entity recognition, disambiguation, reasoning
Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS), Germany
Departments: Organized Knowledge, NetMedia, Knowledge Discovery
2 positions (job posting/on EURAXESS; PhD awarded by the University of Bonn, one position with a dual degree with Saint-Étienne)
Topics: cloud computing, plugin architecture, voice input, natural language processing
University of Southampton, UK
Department: Web and Internet Science Research Group
3 positions (job posting)
Topics: visualisation, verbalisation, natural language synthesis, interaction flows, information discovery
Open Data Institute, UK
2 positions (PhD awarded by the University of Southampton)
Topics: visualisation, verbalisation, data licensing, pricing of services, privacy

Partner organisations (where PhD students may spend secondments):

The individual project partners make individual, specific job postings (linked above as soon as available). Candidates apply for individual jobs, with individual organisations, as listed above.

The ideal candidate must not have resided for more than 12 months in the country of their employment in the 3 years before starting to work. For full details, please check this document for the “mobility rule”. Please check page 4 of the same document for further formal eligibility criteria. He or she holds a degree in computer science or a related field and is able to combine theory and practice in her/his work. Fluent English communication and a passion for developing modern software solutions (e.g. in Java/Scala, JavaScript) are fundamental requirements. Command of the language of the country of employment is a plus but not required. The candidate should have experience and commitment to work in teams and on the forefront of research in one of the following fields:

Application deadlines will be in February; each organisation will define a specific date in their job postings. You will need to submit a CV, university transcripts, a motivation letter including a short research plan targeted to the topics of the respective partner, two letters of recommendation and English writing sample (e.g. prior publication or master thesis excerpt). The individual organisations will announce specific requirements and guidelines.

It is possible to apply with more than one partner, but it is not recommended to send the same motivation letter and research plan to multiple partners. Instead, these should be focused w.r.t. the partners' focus areas.

You may, at any time, email or phone
Christoph Lange (WDAqua assistant coordinator)
langec@cs.uni-bonn.de, Phone +49 2241 14-2428