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TSB-funded research assistant position last updated September 30, 2014 by Katarzyna Budzynska

TSB-funded research assistant position

TSB-funded project “Argument Analytics”
Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research assistant in the project “Argument Analytics” to be developed with an industrial partner. This R&D project is funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) within the scope of Technology-inspired innovation – ICT, and specifically in the area of “Big data exploration”. The research sits on the border of the areas of computer models of argument, natural language processing and big data. Our aim will be to provide technologies for processing, navigating, manipulating and exploring argument structures through the big datasets of texts in natural language.

Important dates
Application deadline: 30 Sept 2014, you can apply here

*** IMPORTANT: Due to some technical problems, the application site was not available for some time earlier today. In case you had any problems and have any questions, please contact Katarzyna Budzynska (k.budzynska (at) and apply through the system now. The system will be open until midnight tonight.***

Interview for selected candidates: October 2014 (exact date will be given in individual invitations)
Starting date of the project: 1 Nov 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter

1. Goal of the Project
The project selects two of the most promising technologies with differing risk profiles – argument mapping and argument mining – and aims to develop industrial proof of concept demonstrators that integrate them as Argument Analytics platform technologies in a commercial market estimated to be worth £11bn in 2013.

Argument mining exploits the techniques and methods of natural language processing, or more specifically – text and opinion mining, for semi-automatic and automatic recognition and extraction of structured argument data from unstructured natural language texts. Where opinion mining has focused on the identification of broad sentiment from a text (popular with corporate marketing departments in large companies eager to know if comments online are positive or negative about their products), argument mining aims to identify reason-conclusion structures that can lead to models of why people hold the positions they do (which provides even more desirable information for developing of marketing strategies).

The group in Dundee has a strong record in developing technologies for argument mapping, in particular software tools that allow for the representation and the visualisation of argument structures. The project will aim to expand the functionality of these tools in order to adopt them for the needs of a commercial domain targeted by the industrial partner, as well as to allow for the exploration of the space of massive datasets semi-automatically analysed by argument mining tool against deep argument structures.

We will adopt an agile approach to the software engineering, with a focus on rapid prototyping combined with frequent and regular evaluation and feedback from engineers working for the industrial partner. The consortium is committed to maintaining strong links with its potential users.

2. Prospects for Further Career Path
Different funding bodies are starting to recognise the potential and importance of innovation and development in the area of big data. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has just funded ‘Big data’ innovation centre setting to add over 300 jobs and £150m to Scottish economy (read here). Both EPSRC and EU (H2020) are investing a large amounts of funds for the calls addressing the area of big data:

Big Data creates numerous opportunities for driving research and development (…) [RCUK] recognises the enormous potential of Big Data for the UK economy with a total sum of £189 million to invest in its exploitation.
UK Research Councils on Big Data; available at here

Worldwide Big Data technology and services are expected to grow from €2.4 billion in 2010 to €12.7 billion in 2015. The challenge is to strengthen Europe’s position as provider of products and services based on digital content and data.
EU Council Decision Establishing the Specific Programme Implementing HORIZON 2020.

By working closely with and for the industrial partner, this project promotes the commercial experience and opens new paths for potential future employment in industry.

3. Environment and Support
The position will be held in the Centre for Argument Technology, ARG-tech, in the School of Computing at the University of Dundee. The research will be led by Dr. Katarzyna Budzynska with regular contact with the industrial partner. We will be closely cooperating with Prof. Chris Reed and a PhD student who will start at the same time on an EPSRC DTG-funded project “Recognizing Trust in Natural Language”, as well as with our collaborators in France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland.

ARG-tech has built a reputation on balancing high quality theoretical research with robust and reliable software engineering. Its software is in use in thousands of schools, colleges and universities in over 60 countries around the world. The group of ARG-tech is working with users and major players in domains such as law, mediation, government, media and education, and the tools we are building are regularly demonstrated to groups within these domains.

The student will be working in close cooperation with the international network of our collaborators in IRIT Toulouse (discourse processing and opinion mining, computational linguistics); University of Potsdam (discourse generation and speech act theory, computational linguistics); Polish National Academy of Sciences at Warsaw (logic and philosophy of communication); and Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano (pragmatics of financial communication, communication studies).

At the most recent RAE, the research of the School of Computing in Dundee was rated fourth in Scotland, with two thirds 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), has one of the lowest costs of living in the UK, and is less than 1.5 hr from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

4. Requirements and Conditions
The candidate should have a PhD degree, preferably in computational linguistics, computer science, artificial intelligence or related areas. Programming experience is an advantage. Interest in communication and natural language in either computational, linguistic or philosophical settings would be beneficial.

The starting date of the project will be 1st Nov 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter, and will run for 18 months.

Remuneration will be at Grade 7 (£29,837 to £36,661 per year).

5. Application
Further details and an application pack are available from our website: . Alternatively, contact Personnel Services, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN, tel: (01382) 384817 (answering machine).

You should apply through the dedicated webpage here. Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be directed to Dr. Katarzyna Budzynska: k.budzynska (at)

*** IMPORTANT: Due to some technical problems, the application site was not available for some time earlier today. In case you had any problems and have any questions, please contact Katarzyna Budzynska (k.budzynska (at) and apply through the system now. The system will be open until midnight tonight. ***

The closing date for applications is 30 Sept 2014.