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ISCApad Archive  »  2014  »  ISCApad #187  »  Jobs  »  (2013-10-16) Part-time Position (E13, 50%) in the field of “Adaptive Speech Synthesis”, Bielefeld University, Germany

ISCApad #187

Saturday, January 11, 2014 by Chris Wellekens

6-19 (2013-10-16) Part-time Position (E13, 50%) in the field of “Adaptive Speech Synthesis”, Bielefeld University, Germany

Part-time Position (E13, 50%) in the field of “Adaptive Speech Synthesis”, Bielefeld University, Germany

The Excellence Cluster Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) [1] at Bielefeld University [2], Germany offers an open part-time (PhD) position in the field of 'Adaptive Speech Synthesis”. The position (TV-L E13, 50%) is part of the interdisciplinary large scale project “Cognitive Service Robotics Apartment as Ambient Host” funded by CITEC.

Cognitive interaction technology such as social robots or ambient intelligent environments have still not achieved socially smooth interaction skills that allow them to seamlessly blend in to our everyday lives consisting of a large variety of social situations. To achieve such skills for our intelligent robotic apartment an interdisciplinary team of roboticists, linguists and psychologists is working together.

One research focus lies investigates the interaction of psychological, linguistic and situational factors influencing human perception, interpretation and behavior. Here, our research pertains to questions relating to social categories, linguistic style and adaptive behavior. In our second research strand on social awareness we investigate how to determine classes of situations that are relevant for behavior adaptation. Methods for automatically recognizing such situations from large-scale sensoric input will be developed. Verbal and non-verbal interaction capabilities are investigated and modeled in the third research dimension enabling interaction with ambient interfaces and combining multi-modal dialogue with physical interaction. Finally, to achieve 24/7 operation we address issues of software architecture and extend existing system engineering approaches to our research environment. We further focus on questions of data management to deal with the large amounts of data and their efficient storage for further research.

The overall approach builds on a highly dynamic process of evaluation and implementation, thus requiring excellent team qualities from all researchers.

Work in the open position will concentrate on the further development of a speech synthesizer as part of an incremental dialogue system and its integration into a cognitive robotic apartment. The speech synthesis will be able to adapt its voice and speaking style according to situational needs (background noise, interaction role), across different embodiments (as robot, as part of the ambient interaction components of the apartment) and interaction partner (guest, familiar person). The various situations lend to a set of interaction primitives along with the necessary stylistic adaptations that need to be empirically investigated and defined. As the apartment will be equipped with a variety of verbal and non-verbal interaction capabilities, an optimal interaction strategy needs to be determined based on the situational needs. The adaptive speech synthesis will be evaluated throughout its development as part of the project.

QUALIFICATIONS  The successful candidate is expected to have a strong background in:

  • Speech Synthesis and/or Speech Enhancement
  • Prosody
  • Experimental Phonetics

Candidates with expertise in several of the topics mentioned above will be given preference. Applicants are expected to have strong programming skills, the ability to work independently but as part of a larger team, to be open for interdisciplinary collaboration and to have strong English language skills. Knowledge of German is not required.

The position is embedded in the Work Group Phonetics and Phonology within the Faculty of Linguistics and Literature. The group’s research focus lies in multimodal interaction, discourse prosody, rhythm and prosodic prominence in natural and synthetic speech. An overview of the ongoing workgroup projects and publications can be found here: [5]. 

Postdoc applicants will have the chance to perform independent research on the topics of the group that qualifies them for an academic career and allows them to position themselves as independent researchers in the community. PhD applicants will receive extended supervision and support through the collaboration with the project partners at CITEC, in particular Prof. Dr. Petra Wagner.

The salary is according to scale TV-L E 13 (50%) in the German University System and can vary depending on age, marital status, tax class etc. The salary increases with the duration of the employment. An online tool to calculate the post-tax income can be found at [3] (indicating E 13, 50%).
The position is funded for three years. Candidates are expected to start on 01.03.2014. Applications are invited until 23.12.2013 and will be processed as they are received.
Applications from suitably qualified handicapped and severely handicapped persons are expressly encouraged. Bielefeld University has received a number of awards for its achievements in the provision of equal opportunity and has been recognized as a family friendly university. The University welcomes applications from women. This is particularly true with regard both to academic and technical posts as well as positions in Information Technology and trades and crafts. Applications are handled according to the provisions of the state equal opportunity statutes.
Bielefeld is one of the 20 largest cities in Germany (with approx. 330.000 inhabitants). It is a lively city with a lot of cultural and entertainment opportunities [4]. Located in the heart of the Teutoburg Forest, it offers opportunities for outdoor and leisure activities.
CONTACT AND APPLICATION  Informal inquiries can be sent to A full application shall consist of (i) detailed resume or CV and (ii) a concise statement why you are interested in this research project., preferably given in one pdf-document.
Please submit your application via email to: [1]



[5] (German)

Prof. Dr. Petra Wagner
Fakultät für Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft
Universität Bielefeld
Postfach 10 01 31
33501 Bielefeld
Tel.: +49 521 106-3510
Fax: +49 521 106-2996 

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