Doctoral student in machine learning for social robotics

Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap

Project description

Third-cycle subject: computer science or speech technology

Face-to-face conversation is our most fundamental form of communication, based on a carefully orchestrated interplay between spoken and non-verbal signals such as head movements, glances, facial expressions, gestures and the shared space where the conversation takes place - signals that often are essential for the conversation to be successful. One of the reasons that spoken face-to-face interaction is such an effective form of communication is our ability to continuously adapt to the other interlocutor: gestures, expressions, intonation- and gaze patterns reflect on the other dialog party. This type of mimicry is a fundamental social glue that improves the interaction. Successfully modelling these mechanisms in robots and virtual agents opens up for applications where social robots collaborate and interact with humans e.g. in education, training, simulation, health care or entertainment.

You will work with the latest methods in machine learning (e.g. generative models based on normalizing flows) to model behaviours in human-robot interaction and explore how these can be made adaptive to the situation. The project will involve data collection using e.g. motion capture and gaze tracking; development and evaluation of models as well as implementation and user tests with physical or virtual robots.

You will be part of a large and dynamic research group in machine learning for human speech, motion, behaviour and social robotics, to which we will add a total of five new PhD students in the coming year.

Supervision: The doctoral student will be placed at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and supervised by Jonas Beskow.

What we offer

  • The possibility to study in a dynamic and international research environment in collaboration with industries and prominent universities from all over the world.
  • A compulsory individual study plan to support your development in your area of interest.
  • A workplace with many employee benefits and monthly salary according to KTH s Doctoral student salary agreement .
  • A postgraduate education at an institution that is active and supportive in matters pertaining to working conditions, gender equality and diversity as well as study environment.
  • Work and study in Stockholm, one of Europe s fastest growing capitals, which is close to both nature and the sea.
  • Help to relocate and be settled in Sweden and at KTH .


To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, 39 Swedish Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic eligibility in accordance with either of the following:

  • passed a degree at advanced level,
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits at advanced level, or
  • in any other way acquired within or outside the country acquired essentially equivalent knowledge.


In order to succeed as an doctoral student at KTH you need to be goal oriented and persevering in your work. In the selection of the applicants, the following will be assessed:

  • ability to independently pursue his or hers work,
  • ability to collaborate with others,
  • have a professional approach and
  • analyse and work with complex issues.

Other important traits are openness toward interdisciplinary research, creativity and a structured approach.

Good command of spoken and written English is required. Expertise in machine learning/deep learning and good programming skills are strongly desirable. Experience and interest in areas like speech technology, signal processing, robotics, computer graphics/animation, AR/VR, natural language processing, linguistics and perception is also considered as asset.

After the qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal qualities and personal suitability.

Target degree: Doctoral degree

Information regarding admission and employment

Only those admitted to postgraduate education may be employed as a doctoral student. The total length of employment may not be longer than what corresponds to full-time doctoral education in four years ' time. An employed doctoral student can, to a limited extent (maximum 20%), perform certain tasks within their role, e.g. training and administration. A new position as a doctoral student is for a maximum of one year, and then the employment may be renewed for a maximum of two years at a time.

Union representatives

You will find contact information for union representatives on KTH's website .

Doctoral section (Students union on KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

You will find contact information for doctoral section on the section's website .


Apply for the position and admission through KTH's recruitment system. It is the applicant s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement.

Applications must be received at the last closing date at midnight, CET/CEST (Central European Time/entral European Summer Time).

Applications must include the following elements:

  • CV including your relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Application letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies, about what your academic interests are and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals. (Maximum 2 pages long)
  • Copy of the degree certificate(s) and transcripts of records from your previously attended university-level institutions. Translations into English or Swedish if the original documents are not issued in one of these languages.
  • Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.

Other information

Gender equality, diversity and zero tolerance against discrimination and harassment are important aspects of KTH's work with quality as well as core values in our organization.

For information about processing of personal data in the recruitment process please read here.

We firmly decline all contact with staffing and recruitment agencies and job ad salespersons.

Disclaimer: In case of discrepancy between the Swedish original and the English translation of the job announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

Type of employment: Temporary position longer than 6 months
Working hours: Full time
Salary: Monthly salary according to kth's doctoral student salary agreement
City: Stockholm
Reference number: J-2019-3085
Published: 2019-12-05
Last application date: 2020-02-02


Kungliga Tekniska högskolan



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