Research Opportunities

The Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford invite applications for a three-year doctoral studentship on the future of online consumption that will lead to a DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences at the University of Oxford beginning in the academic year 2019-20.

The DPhil studentship will be sponsored by Tesco Labs, and will commence in October 2019. Eligible candidates will ordinarily resident in the UK or EU, but applications from overseas will also be considered.

This studentship will be supervised in the first instance by Dr Victoria Nash, Deputy Director, Policy and Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute. Other faculty may also be identified as appropriate supervisors based on the student’s proposal.

The studentship would be awarded to an OII DPhil student focusing on changing consumption patterns in online shopping.  Innovative research proposals are invited around the following broad themes:

  • Automation, Routine and Desire
  • Domestication of online shopping
  • Online shopping and the Quantified Self
  • Shopping and Social Institutions

Applicants should have a masters degree in a relevant area, or plan to have completed a masters prior to October 2019.

The award pays all tuition and college fees for home or EU applicants. For UK citizens only the award pays an annual maintenance grant of £15,000. The usual University of Oxford eligibility rules apply to these studentships. Please see http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate for more information.

The closing date for applications is 25th January 2019, although we strongly recommend submitting all your materials a week or two early since applications missing any part of the required materials (including letters of reference) cannot be considered. Interviews will be held in either February or March 2019. Further details on the Oxford Internet Institute are available at http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk. Informal inquiries should be made to Laura Maynard, Oxford Internet Institute (teaching@oii.ox.ac.uk).

For further details on the studentship, and details on how to apply, please download the full Tesco Labs studentship advert, and  read more about the DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences.

Only applications received before 0:00am GMT on Friday 25 January 2019 will be considered.

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University of Cambridge, Department of Psychology

ESRC Interdisciplinary Studentship (Fixed Term)

Applications are invited for a 4-year ESRC Targeted PhD studentship in the areas of memory, imagination, and creativity starting in October 2019 at the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. The successful candidate will conduct research under the supervision of Dr Lucy Cheke at the Cognition and Motivated Behaviour Lab within the Department of Psychology (http://www.camblab.psychol.cam.ac.uk/) and Dr Marta Halina in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (https://www.people.hps.cam.ac.uk/index/teaching-officers/halina) and Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (http://lcfi.ac.uk/).

The project develops a psychological account of creative intelligence aimed at informing contemporary work in AI research. The focus of the project will be on the development of “creative imagination” and how it leads to domain-general problem solving abilities, such as those associated with insight and general intelligence. In addition to being informed by contemporary work in psychology and AI, the project will have a significant philosophical dimension. The student will draw on these tools to ground their analysis of creative imagination and critically engage with methods for testing it in biological and artificial systems.

During the project, the student will experimentally investigate the role of memory and imaginative play in concept formation and problem solving in children. Imaginative play has been considered to be the foundation upon which a range of “higher” cognition functions are built. We suggest that through an integration of memory, imagination and current experiences, children are able to form concepts and hypotheses about how the world is structured, which can be “tested” through imaginative play. This process of “offline” manipulation and transformation of representations may be a key cognitive mechanism for creative problem solving that is missing in current AI agents.

These investigations will be informed by the philosophical and psychological literature on creativity, the psychological concepts surrounding mental scene and episode construction (“episodic cognition”), as well as the practical and conceptual problems encountered by AI researchers and developers attempting to promote creativity and imagination in their agents. Previous work in psychology and philosophy on creativity has focused on adult humans. This study will help fill a gap in this literature by examining creative imagination from a comparative and developmental perspective. Through interaction with experts in episodic cognition, child development, the philosophy of creativity and AI, the student will be in a unique position to develop and test hypotheses surrounding creative imagination and insightful problem solving, which could lead to significant new developments in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and AI.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years in the first instance.

Eligibility and Funding:

Candidates should have a first or upper second class degree in psychology, neuroscience or in another related subject (e.g., engineering, computer science, Mathematics, philosophy) and meet the University of Cambridge entrance requirements – see: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/entry-requirements

All applicants must meet the ESRC funding eligibility requirements outlined at: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/skills-and-careers/studentships/prospective-students/am-i-eligible-for-an-esrc-studentship/

UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements will be eligible for a full studentship, which includes University and College fees as well as an annual stipend at UK Research Council rates (TBC). Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.

Candidates from Overseas are not eligible for this studentship and should not apply.

Informal enquiries about the project may be made to Dr Lucy Cheke (lgc23@cam.ac.uk) or Dr Marta Halina (mh801@cam.ac.uk).

Application process:

To apply please:

Complete the University GRADSAF application form by 5 December 2018. The course code is BLPC22 (PhD in Psychology).

https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/how-do-i-apply

With your GRADSAF application you will be required to submit (i) a draft research proposal outlining your suitability, why you are interested in pursuing a PhD in this area, your background and research interests. (ii) your CV stating your citizenship and years of residence in the UK (iii) copies of your academic transcripts (iv) details of two academic referees.

Please then inform the graduate office (graduateoffice@psychol.cam.ac.uk) when you have made an application. Please add ‘ESRC Interdisciplinary Studentship: From Creative Imagination to General Artificial Intelligence’ to the subject line of your e-mail.

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