Assistant Professor in Social Robotics

Uppsala University Department of Information Technology

Sweden

Assistant Professor in Social Robotics with Specialization in Trustworthy Human-Robot Interaction

Published: 2021-04-01

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 45,000 students, more than 7,000 employees and a turnover of around SEK 7 billion.

The Department of Information Technology has approximately 350 employees and 4000 students per year and provides education and research of the highest international quality in Computer Science and its sub-disciplines. The strong focus on research impacts provides an excellent foundation for undergraduate education at the department. The department also hosts several interdisciplinary research groups, and the department supports initiatives in the areas of equal opportunities and equality. Research is organized in five divisions. For more information, see www.it.uu.se.

At the Division of Visual Information and Interaction we gather a unique combination of expertise in social robotics, human-computer interaction and computerized image analysis. The division is divided into eight different research groups. The assistant professor will join the Uppsala Social Robotics Lab, which aims to design and develop computational social abilities for robots in socially assistive human-robot interaction scenarios, for example in application areas such as education and assistive technology. The recruitment is part of a strategic investment in trustworthy human-robot interaction by the Department of Information Technology. For more information, and to see the latest research from the division and the Uppsala Social Robotics Lab, see https://www.it.uu.se/research/visual_information_and_interaction/research and https://www.it.uu.se/research/visual_information_and_interaction/research/socialrobotics.

Description of subject area of the employment: Social robotics is an interdisciplinary research field that aims to develop robots that can interact with humans in an efficient and socially acceptable manner, as well as understand the social consequences of human-robot interaction. The focus of the position is on trustworthy human-robot interaction, covering aspects of fairness, trust, transparency, responsible robotics and ethics in human-robot interaction. This includes designing and developing computational methods for human-centred human-robot interaction, where humans are in the loop in the system’s entire life cycle.

Duties: Teaching, research and administration. Teaching duties include course responsibility and course administration and supervision of second- and third-cycle students.

The assistant professor is expected to contribute to teaching and course development in the areas of human-robot interaction, intelligent interactive systems and human-computer interaction, in both basic and advanced courses. 

Follow developments within the subject area and the development of society in general that is important for the work at the university.

  • The primary role of the assistant professor will be to contribute to ongoing research at the Uppsala Social Robotics Lab, including participating in the lab’s existing projects, writing joint funding proposals with the lab, co-supervising PhD students and researchers, and also expanding the lab’s research, teaching and public engagement activities.
  • Additionally, to facilitate the creation of new collaborations within the Department, the assistant professor is expected to set up and coordinate intradepartmental activities pertaining to trustworthy artificial intelligence and robotics, including joint projects with researchers outside of the Division and an open seminar series covering relevant topics.
  • The position may also include other leadership/administrative duties, such as tasks related to interaction with industry and society.

Appointment Period: The position can be held for a maximum of six years. An Assistant Professor can apply for promotion to Associate Professor. If the Assistant Professor is deemed suitable and fulfills the criteria for promotion established by the Faculty Board he/she shall be promoted to and employed as Associate Professor. 

Qualifications Required:

  • PhD or have the corresponding research competence or some other professional expertise in human-robot interaction, robotics or related field. The candidate must have completed the PhD degree by the time of application. Applicants who have obtained a PhD degree or achieved the equivalent competence in five years or less prior to the end of the application period will be given priority.
  • Research Expertise and Teaching Expertise. It is necessary that the pedagogical skills, the research expertise and the professional skills are relevant to the content of the employment and the tasks that will be included in the employment.
  • Applicants should have completed teacher training of relevance to operations at the University, comprising five weeks, or have acquired the equivalent knowledge. If special circumstances apply, this training for teachers in higher education may be completed during the first two years of employment.
  • Documented ability to teach in Swedish or English is a requirement unless special reasons prevail. The holder is expected to be able to teach in Swedish within two years.
  • Personal capabilities necessary to carry out fully the duties of the appointment.

Assessment Criteria/Ranking of applicants that fulfil the above-mentioned qualifications required: 

The ranking of eligible applicants will be based primarily on research and teaching expertise, of which weight will be primarily given to research expertise. 

Research Expertise comprises research merits as well as the applicant´s potential to contribute to the future development of both research and teaching. In assessing research expertise research quality must be the prime consideration. The scope of research, primarily in regard to depth and breadth, must also be afforded consideration. In assessing research expertise special weight will be attached to research merits in social robotics in socially assistive scenarios. Particular focus will be given to proven ability to publish research in top conferences and journals in social robotics and human-robot interaction.

Moreover, strong emphasis will be given on proven research track record in both (a) and (b):

(a) social consequences of human-robot interaction, including aspects of trustworthy human-robot interaction such as fairness, avoidance of unfair bias, trust or transparency, i.e. responsible robotics and robot ethics;

(b) the development of computational machine learning methods for human-in-the-loop social human-robot interaction.

Teaching Expertise comprises educational and teaching qualifications. In assessing teaching expertise teaching quality must be the prime consideration. The scope of teaching experience, in terms of both breadth and depth, must also be afforded consideration. In assessing teaching expertise special weight will be attached to merits in teaching courses in social robotics, robotics, human-computer interaction, and/or artificial intelligence.  

All merits must be documented in a manner that makes it possible to assess both quality and scope. 

In filling this position the university aims to appoint the applicant who, following a qualitative holistic assessment of her/his competence and expertise, is judged to have the best potential to carry out and develop the relevant duties and to help advance operations. 

Further information: In an overall assessment of the applicant’s qualifications, parental leave, part-time work relating to care of children, union assignments, military service, or the like are to be regarded as work experience.

University appointment regulations

Faculty appointment regulations

Instructions for applications

For further information about the position, please contact: Head of Division Professor Robin Strand, e-mail robin.strand@it.uu.se and and Director of Uppsala Social Robotics Lab Professor Ginevra Castellano, e-mail ginevra.castellano@it.uu.se. 

Salary: Individually negotiated salary.

Starting date: As soon as possibleor as otherwise agreed.

Type of employment: Temporary position six years.

Scope of employment: 100 %.

Please submit your application by May 12 2021, UFV-PA 2021/1051.

In the event of any disagreement between the English and the Swedish versions of this announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

If you are an international candidate, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at www.uu.se/joinus.

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services.

Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Information Technology

Type of employment: Full time , Permanent position

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100%

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: Seko Universitetsklubben seko@uadm.uu.se
ST/TCO tco@fackorg.uu.se
Saco-rådet saco@uadm.uu.se

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2021/1051

Last application date: 2021-05-12

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