Vacancy: PhD position in Machine learning for essay scoring

(02-05-2018)

Context 

This position concerns a joint PhD project between UGent and KU Leuven.

IDLab is a core research group of imec and its research activities are embedded in Ghent University and University of Antwerp. ITEC is also an imec (formerly: iMinds) research team, Flanders’ world-leading R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies.

Project

Students regularly have to write essays throughout their curriculum. Essay scoring is a very time-consuming task for human evaluators. Moreover, the score and corresponding feedback is often only based on the final product, not taking into account the process of writing. This PhD project will investigate the automatic scoring and feedback generation (for the student and/or teacher) for essays, with specific attention to process based assessment.

The research will combine techniques from machine learning to model the learning task, with advanced natural language processing methods for text representation, and process modelling techniques. The student will be working with real data and will have the opportunity to contribute to a smarter education. 

Besides doing research, the candidate is expected to participate in educational activities (participate in seminars, be involved in teaching, ...).

Profile

  • You have (or will obtain in the next months) a master degree in computer science, informatics, statistics, artificial intelligence, or equivalent, with excellent ('honors'-level) grades.

  • You have followed courses related to data mining, machine learning and natural language processing, and show a significant enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, this domain.
  • You are an experienced programmer in Java or Python. Familiarity with other languages, such as R or Matlab will be considered an asset.

  • You are interested in working on educational applications; you are motivated, curious and creative.

  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills, especially in English. Knowledge of Dutch will be considered an important asset.
  • You are flexible, able to work independently, and don’t mind to travel occasionally (international congresses or study visits). 

Offer

We offer full-time employment for a PhD researcher. Starting date is flexible, ideally starting between 1 May and 1 October 2018. The appointment will be for 1 year initially and will be extended after positive evaluation. The candidate may be expected to apply for a PhD grant with an external funder (e.g. FWO). The candidate will be working partly at the Ugent IDLab and partly at the KU Leuven Campus Kulak in Kortrijk (approx. 1 hour travel time between both work places by public transportation). (S)he will enter the doctoral program of UGent, KUL or both.

Interested?

Apply with motivation letter, scientific resume, academic results, English proficiency scores, relevant publications, and two reference contacts.

Send your application by email or any questions concerning this vacancy to prof. dr. ir. Erik Mannens and dr. Gayane Sedrakyan.

After the first screening, suitable candidates will be invited for an interview (also possible via Skype).

Applications are considered until the vacancy is filled. The selected candidate should start on October 1st at the latest.

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