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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

Research Associate Position at Lancaster University in Applying AI

uTELLus: Making Public Spaces Safer
Research Associate Position at Lancaster University

30 month contract (with possible extension for up to an additional 6 months).

24,877- 28,839

Closing Date: 15 May 2009

Expected start date for post: 1 July 2009.

Applications are invited for a research position in the Computing Department at Lancaster University. uTELLus is a major cross-disciplinary research project funded under the EPSRCs Digital Economy programme and led by Lancaster.

The overall aim of the project is to use technology to capture users preferences about the spaces in which they live and use this information to transform public spaces to be safer and more inclusive. The postholder will be responsible for driving the technology development of the project, which will involve implementing input capture, applying AI techniques to filter and structure captured input, and designing presentations of captured input on-site to users.

The uTELLus concept is best illustrated by example. Imagine a park in central England. Mary is 72 years old and walks her dog every day. On her route, at dusk, she hesitates as she walks past a large shrub, fearing what is behind. Judy is 26. Her jogging route takes her into areas of the park that are poorly lit and she is afraid. Paul is 43 and takes his children to the park but is concerned that the bandstand is becoming a magnet for teenage drinking parties. Today, Mary, Judy and Paul each have limited ways of communicating their safety concerns about the park to the appropriate people. They would need to compose a letter - which is unlikely given the time stresses on their daily lives. The goal of uTELLus is to provide Mary, Judy and Paul with a way to record their feedback in real-time at the moment it occurs to them in the park rather than having to wait until it is forgotten about. In this way, uTELLus will collect real-time information that can then be structured, stored in an online repository, and exchanged with appropriate stakeholders: other users, local community groups, local authorities, etc. The hypothesis is that, by so doing, uTELLus will lead to public space designs that are more attuned to the needs of their users and, in particular, do a better job at alleviating their safety concerns.

The successful candidate must have a PhD in Computer Science (or be close to completing one) and must possess knowledge or experience of one or more of the following technical areas: software engineering, artificial intelligence, ubiquitous computing. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the project, candidates are not necessarily expected to have knowledge of all three of these areas; rather, an ability to quickly synthesize and apply techniques from different disciplines is more important.

Candidates are also expected to have excellent communication skills as the project will involve significant collaboration with partners at Aston, Brunel, Coventry and Manchester Universities as well as with industrial and governmental partners.

Lancasters Computing Department is consistently ranked in the top ten in the UK and has a strong presence and reputation in areas relevant to this project. This post therefore offers significant growth potential for the right candidate.

More information about the uTELLus project can be found on EPSRCs website: ( Suitable candidates are encouraged to make informal enquiries to Prof. Jon Whittle (

To apply or request further information online, please visit

Application deadline is May 15, 2009.