PhD Scholarship in Computer Science: Human-Computer Interaction

In the context of a research infrastructure project, a scholarship is offered for a PhD student in Computer Science to join the multidisciplinary research collaboration between UGent (ΔiaLing and LT3) and UHasselt (Expertise Centre for Digital Media). The PhD research topic is part of a Hercules (FWO) project (see description below), and focuses on design and realisation of “Games with a purpose / Serious games” with applications in the domain of Spanish dialectology and Natural Language Processing.

The envisaged starting date is February 1st, 2019.

Description of the Hercules project:

The study of dialectal microvariation of Spanish spoken in Spain has until recently mainly focused on lexical and phonetic features. The morphosyntax of these dialects, on the contrary, remains largely unexplored, despite the recent surge in interest in dialect grammars. This is due to the lack of large annotated dialectal corpora. This project aims to fill this lacuna and will create the first morphosyntactically annotated and parsed corpus of the European Spanish dialects. This dialect corpus will be designed in a geographically balanced way and its material will proceed from the COSER corpus (Corpus Oral y Sonoro del Español Rural ‘Audible Corpus of Spoken Rural Spanish’;, which is the largest collection of oral data in the Spanish-speaking world. As transcribing and annotating are expensive and labour-intensive, this project takes a collaborative game-based approach to building the parsed corpus of European Spanish dialects. In other words, a crowdsourced game will be built through which members of the public contribute to the co-creation of the parsed corpus by providing annotations in the context of a game.


  • The candidate has a Master of Science degree in Computer Science or Civil Engineer/Computer Science (or equivalent).
  • The candidate should have outstanding academic skills, and a clear interest in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research.
  • The candidate has extensive knowledge and a great interest in software development, because software development of gaming applications is done throughout the research trajectory.
  • The candidate should be able to work independently as well as in a multidisciplinary team, and will be guided by advisors with a computer science/HCI background (UHasselt) and with a background in language studies / linguistics (UGent). Therefore, the candidate will spend time in both host universities.

Additional elements:

  • It is a strong advantage if the candidate has received training and/or gained experience in Human-Computer Interaction topics related to end-user interaction and motivation, user-centred design approaches, prototyping and evaluation techniques.
  • Experience developing applications for mobile devices as well as game development is a plus. A possible category of games that is envisioned in the research are 2D online games.
  • Due to the application domain of the project and the activities to perform during the PhD trajectory, having advanced knowledge of the Spanish language is highly desirable.

The successful candidate is appointed for two years, and the scholarship is prolonged for another two years after a positive evaluation of the candidate’s research trajectory.

How to apply:

The application in English should include

  • a motivation letter, summarizing the candidate’s background and capabilities, and describing his/her motivation for this position
  • attested copies of education certificates, and a list of master courses with the grades obtained
  • an extensive CV
  • contact information (e-mail) of potential referees

Applications are to be sent by e-mail to Prof. Dr Miriam Bouzouita ( and Dr Gustavo Rovelo Application deadline: January 7th, 2019.

Contact persons for more information:

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