PhD Studentship Available in Argument Mining

Posted by chris on July 7, 2016

RCUK Stipend (£14,296 tax-free per annum in 2016/17).

Fixed Term 42 months.

Applications are invited for a PhD student to work in the interdisciplinary area lying between computational linguistics and argumentation. The studentship aims to explore techniques in computational linguistics, text mining and deep learning to exploit theories of argument structure and classical rhetoric in order to automatically identify human reasoning in unconstrained natural language texts. Because of the team’s current research with IBM, the research conducted as a part of this PhD studentship will also be able to make use of Bluemix and Watson components.

Argument Mining – automatically extracting the structure of reasoning from text – is an exciting and rapidly expanding area of computational linguistics and text analytics. In 2013, there were only a handful of papers in the area; since then, there have been a range of specialised international events, including a new annual workshop series, hundreds of papers, and dozens of research groups around the world gearing up to tackle the problem. The Centre for Argument Technology is playing a significant role in this field, providing not only theoretical advances but also some of the most widely used software tools and datasets.

The PhD student will be able to explore theories of argument structure from linguistic and computational perspectives with a view to automatically extracting such structure. The work will involve working in one or more application domains, and could involve working with  commercial partners.

A basic understanding of linguistics or computational linguistics would be a significant advantage, whilst exposure to theories of reasoning, argument or critical thinking would be a benefit. Candidates would typically be expected to have, or be on track for, a first class honours degree or equivalent, or a distinction at Masters level.

The post will be held in the Centre for Argument Technology in the School of Science & Engineering at the University of Dundee. At the most recent REF, research in the discipline of Computer Science was rated third in Scotland, with 79% of its research rated world-leading or internationally excellent (4* or 3*). Dundee has been ranked amongst the top places in the world for scientists to work (The Scientist), and has one of the lowest costs of living in the UK.

Though candidates of any nationality may apply, the post only includes fees at Home/EU level, so fees would be levied by the University on students who do not meet the definition of Home/EU students.

The starting date for the 42-month PhD studentship is negotiable.

More information is available from the research group web site at, and applicants should apply by sending a CV and covering letter to Prof. Chris Reed. Closing date for applications is 31 August 2016.