PhD position in Language Technology at MediaFutures

Deadline: 25.05.2024

University of Bergen

The University of Bergen is a renowned educational and research institution, organised into seven faculties and approximately 54 institutes and academic centres. Campus is located in the centre of Bergen with university areas at Nygårdshøyden, Haukeland, Marineholmen, Møllendalsveien and Årstad. 

There are seven departments at Faculty of Social Sciences. Read more about the faculty and departments

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PhD position

There is a vacancy for a PhD position at MediaFutures: Research Centre for Responsible Media Technology & Innovation. The position is for a fixed-term period of 3 years.

MediaFutures is a centre for research-based innovation at the Department for information science and media studies, University of Bergen, and located at Media City Bergen. The centre is a part of the Norwegian Research Council’s Research-based Innovation scheme. MediaFutures is in cooperation with industry partners from news media and media technology research topics like media experiences, recommender technology, content production and analysis, content interaction and availability, and Norwegian language technology. The goal is to develop responsible technological solutions to societal challenges like AI, fake news, echo chambers and political polarization. The results will be new digital tools, analysis methods and content types for the future of media. The center will also perform research training within media technology and innovation. This will create outputs such as new patents, prototypes, research articles and software, as well as innovative start-up companies.

Read more about the centre here.

About the project/work tasks:

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate to join our research team in WP5 on Norwegian Language Technologies. As a PhD researcher, you will work at the forefront of responsible media technologies, exploring innovative approaches to generate news content using advanced language technology methods. This position offers an exciting opportunity to contribute to innovative research and make a meaningful impact in the field. The primary task of this position will be to develop novel techniques for generating Norwegian news articles. This involves creating resources that adapt lexical, grammatical, and stylistic choices based on various parameters, including user profiles, cognitive accessibility, media characteristics (such as screen size), and journalistic formats. We are also interested in exploring how news content can be versioned and adapted dynamically. This includes tailoring news articles to different user preferences and user segments, ensuring readability, and optimizing content delivery across various platforms. We envision the use of generative large language models in solving this task. We expect that the candidate will explore how these models can be fine-tuned for news generation while maintaining ethical and responsible practices. The position also offers the opportunity to collaborate with industry partners and gather domain-specific datasets. This real-world collaboration will enhance the relevance and impact of the produced research.

The PhD candidate will work at MediaFutures in Work Package 5 and will co-operate with researchers and partners in the work package, including the Language Technology Group at the University of Oslo, the National Library of Norway, Schibsted, Amedia, and TV 2. In addition to relevant researchers and partners in other work packages.

The work will be performed in close collaboration with the industry partners in the centre. Expected outputs of the thesis work include publication of high-impact papers, demos with code repositories and novel types of data and insights, e.g., in the form of reports both for academia and industry partners in the centre. The position has an orientation towards innovation and will support the transfer of scientific knowledge into prototypes developed by the industrial partners, and the researcher may also aid in the implementation of solutions in real life applications.

The candidate will be supervised by the work package leadership in WP5 and will carry out secondments at industry partners in MediaFutures.

The candidate will submit a PhD plan to The Faculty of Social Sciences within 3 months after the start of the PhD together with the work package leaders and approved by the center's director. 

Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The applicant must hold a Norwegian master’s degree or an equivalent foreign master’s degree in a relevant discipline such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computational Linguistics, Language Technology, Computer Science with a specialization in NLP or machine learning, or equivalent. The master's thesis must be submitted before the application deadline. It is a requirement that the degree must be fulfilled before commencement of the position. The requirement is a grade B or better on the master's thesis and for the master's degree in total. See section “About the PhD position” for formal requirements regarding the master’s degree.
  • Good programming skills in Python.
  • Previous experience with neural approaches and particularly generative language models is an advantage.
  • Experience from relevant scientific work (e.g., previous conference and journal publications) is an advantage.
  • As an applicant you should have an excellent written and spoken command of English.
  • Proficiency in both written and oral Norwegian is an important advantage, but not a requirement.
  • We seek applicants who can work independently, maintain structure, collaborate effectively, and exhibit enthusiasm for research. Personal qualities and relational skills are highly valued, alongside an assessment of ambitions and potential.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview.

About the PhD position (applies to university PhD positions):

The duration of the PhD position is 3 years. The employment period for the successful candidate may be reduced if he or she previously has been employed in a PhD position.

As a PhD research fellow, you will take part in the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences, UiB. The programme corresponds to a period of three years and leads to the PhD degree. To be eligible for admission you must normally have an educational background corresponding to a master’s degree with a scope of 120 ECTS credits, which builds on a bachelor’s degree with a scope of 180 ECTS credits (normally 2 + 3 years), or an integrated master’s degree with a scope of 300 ECTS credits (5 years). Master’s degrees must normally include an independent work of a minimum of 30 ECTS credits. It is expected that the topic of the master’s degree is connected to the academic field to which you are seeking admission.

We can offer:

  • Exciting development opportunities as part of your role in a strong professional environment
  • Salary at pay grade 54 upon appointment (Code 1017) on the government salary scale (equivalent to NOK 532 200 per year). Further promotions are made according to length of service in the position
  • A cross-disciplinary, interactive and challenging working environment
  • Workplace is Media City Bergen
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Good welfare benefits

For more information about moving to Bergen and Norway, please visit here.

Your application must include:

  • A cover letter that includes a brief account of your research interests and motivation for applying for the position must accompany the application.
  • The names and contact information for two reference persons. One of them must be the main advisor for the master's thesis or equivalent thesis CV
  • It is an advantage (but not a requirement) to include a sample of some code you have written (either as a file or as a Github link or similar) that you are proud of, such as a script you wrote for your thesis or an assignment, or a hobby project you liked.
  • Transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Relevant certificates/references.
  • A list of academic publications/conference presentations (if any).
  • If you have a master's degree from an institution outside of the Nordic countries, or a 2-year discipline- based master's degree (or the equivalent) in a subject area other than the one associated with the applic.

Incomplete applications or applications sent as e-mails will not be considered. Only documents submitted via Jobnorge will be subjected to an expert assessment.

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be also uploaded to Jobbnorge.

Closing date: May 25th 2024. 

The application has to be marked: 24/4533

General information:

Information about the position is obtainable by contacting:

  • WP co-leader Samia Touileb (samia.touileb@uib.no) or the center’s director Christoph Trattner (christoph.trattner@uib.no)

Practical questions regarding the application procedures should be directed to Adviser – HR, Pernille Hole (pernille.hole@uib.no).

Appointed research fellows will be admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Questions about the programme may be directed to Adviser-PhD: Hanne.Gravermoen@uib.no.

Diversity is a strength that enables us to solve our tasks even better. UiB therefore needs qualified employees regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, worldview, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and age.

The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.

Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at all times.

We encourage applicants with disabilities, immigrant backgrounds, or gaps in their CV to apply. By indicating such circumstances in your application, you may receive favourable consideration. We ensure that at least one qualified applicant from each of these groups is invited for an interview as part of our commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunity. For further information about the recruitment process, click here.

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