Research Associate Position in Robot Learning (LEAR MRG)

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 Aug 2021

CYENS Centre of Excellence (formerly known as RISE) is the Research Centre of Excellence in Cyprus focusing on Interactive media, Smart systems and Emerging technologies aiming to empower knowledge and technology transfer in the region. It is a joint venture between the three public universities of Cyprus - University of Cyprus, Cyprus University of Technology, and, Open University of Cyprus, the Municipality of Nicosia, and two renowned international partners, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Germany, and, the University College London, United Kingdom. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017 (Teaming Phase 2) under grant agreement No. 739578, as well as from the Cypriot Government, local and international partners, and other sponsors.

The Centre conducts excellent, internationally competitive scientific research in the areas of visual sciences, human factors and design, communication, and artificial intelligence delivered by high-calibre multidisciplinary research teams. CYENS engages in knowledge transfer and innovation activities aiming to bridge the gap between scientific research and STEM-led innovation and entrepreneurship.

The research focus of CYENS is on interactive media, smart systems, and emerging technologies. Interactive media have become an integral part of our lives, changing the way that information is conveyed to the user and the ways users interact with devices, with other people, and with the world around them. Smart systems have offered a novel way of producing automated solutions to hard problems for which the mere use of the human intellect is insufficient. Research in CYENS integrates the Visual Sciences, Human Factors & Design, and Communications & Artificial Intelligence, in a tight synergy that provides a unique interdisciplinary research perspective that emphasizes an “Inspired by Humans, Designed for Humans” philosophy. CYENS is designed to act as an integrator of academic research and industrial innovation, towards the sustainable fuelling of the scientific, technological, and economic growth of Cyprus and Europe.

The Learning Agents and Robots (LEAR) MRG conducts research on artificial intelligence and its intersection with robotics, focusing on creating software agents and robots that learn to predict and understand the world, solve tasks, accumulate skills, interact with humans or other agents, and make adaptive decisions in complex, dynamic and uncertain environments. To achieve these goals, the group investigates approaches from machine learning (e.g., reinforcement learning, deep learning, meta-learning), evolutionary computation (e.g., quality-diversity optimization), neuroscience-inspired artificial intelligence (e.g., replay processes, neuromodulation, attention), simulation, planning under uncertainty, computer vision, and model-predictive control.

The LEAR MRG is looking for a research associate with experience in robot learning (see more details about qualifications below). The successful candidate will have the opportunity to conduct both fundamental and applied research in the aforementioned areas; strong programming skills are important for this position. The position holder will also participate in the preparation of research proposals for funding, project reports and deliverables, and travel abroad for dissemination activities. Furthermore, position holders should publish/present their research results in prestigious international conferences and journals and contribute to the research centre’s key performance indicators. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of the LEAR MRG Team Leader, Dr Vassilis Vassiliades.

Responsibilities of the Research Associate:

  • Carry out research in the area of Robot Learning.
  • Participation in currently active research projects in the MRG.
  • Preparation/presentation of research papers.
  • Preparation/submission of research proposals.
  • Participation in innovation activities related to the exploitation of research outputs.

General qualifications and requirements:

  • Postgraduate degree in a relevant field (Computer Science, Computer/Electrical/Mechanical Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics) from an accredited institution.
  • PhD in a relevant field (e.g. Robot Learning / Reinforcement Learning / Deep Learning / Planning / Optimal Control / Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence) is preferred (exceptional non-PhD holders will also be considered).
  • Strong programming skills in modern C++ and Python.
  • Experience with robotic simulators (e.g., Gazebo, Isaac Sim), physics engines (e.g., Bullet, DART, MuJoCo), working with ROS and/or physical robots.
  • Research publications on relevant topics (a must for PhD holders / an advantage for non-PhD holders).
  • Experience with machine learning and deep learning (e.g., libraries such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, etc., or processing various types of data such as images, videos, sequences, signals, text, graphs, point clouds etc.) is highly desired.
  • Experience with reinforcement learning, planning, or model-predictive control is highly desired.
  • Experience with evolutionary robotics (e.g., quality-diversity algorithms), autonomous systems (e.g., sensor fusion), or game engines (e.g., Unity) will be considered an advantage.
  • Strong mathematical background (e.g., linear algebra, multivariate calculus & optimization, probability theory & statistics, algorithms & complexity, information theory, control theory) will be considered an advantage.
  • Previous grant-writing experience will be considered an advantage.
  • Previous relevant industrial / innovation / entrepreneurship experience and interest will be considered an advantage.
  • Excellent written and oral English-language skills will be required.
  • For non-EU applicants a work permit will be required.

Profile of the ideal candidate – relevant qualities required for specific role:

  • Ability to independently identify problems and carry out research work within the scope of the MRG.
  • Ability to interact with stakeholders in application domains and identify opportunities for collaboration.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative and work independently. 
  • Strong organizational, communication, presentation, and negotiation skills, having the ability to deal confidently and politely with enquiries. 
  • Very good analytical skills coupled with attention to detail. 
  • Dynamic, adaptable, hands-on and results driven.
  • A team player with an ability to work independently and under pressure.
  • High levels of commitment, energy, and drive.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Benefits

Take advantage of this opportunity for your professional and personal development by being a part of our fast-growing Research Technology Development and Innovation Centre of Excellence. A very attractive remuneration package will be offered to the successful candidate according to qualifications and experience.

Application process

For full consideration, interested applicants should submit the following items via the online application form and mention the position you are applying for: “Research Associate in Robot Learning for Learning Agents and Robots (LEAR) MRG”:

  • A cover letter which clearly specifies 1) contact details, 2) employment availability date, 3) rationale on why you think you would be a good fit for the position.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae in English.
  • Copies of academic degrees and transcripts BSc/MSc/PhD degree(s).
  • Description of academic and research experiences as well as any plans for a research project related to the theme of the MRG (500 words maximum).
  • Contact details of two referees, either two University professors or one University professor and one industry referee.
  • In case you previously applied for a post at CYENS CoE, a new application is required.

    For general enquiries, applicants may contact the HR Department of CYENS, Centre of Excellence at vacancies@cyens.org.cy

    CYENS Centre of Excellence is an equal opportunity employer and the position is open to everyone, internationally.

    All applications are treated in the strictest confidence.


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