Postdoctoral Research Fellow (speech and language technology, cognitive science) – Tampere, Finland

Finland
Posted 2 years ago

Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences create a unique environment for multidisciplinary, inspirational and high-impact research and education. Our universities community has its competitive edges in technology, health and society. www.tuni.fi/en

Speech and Cognition research group (SPECOG) is part of Computing Sciences Unit of Tampere University within the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences. SPECOG focuses on interdisciplinary research at the intersection of speech and language technology and cognitive sciences. We combine advanced signal processing and machine learning methods with realistic large-scale infant data to the study of child language development, but we also investigate how human-like information processing principles can be applied in autonomous next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The group also conducts research and development in speech and language technology and in machine learning for medical signal analysis. SPECOG collaborates with several internationally leading research groups within and across disciplinary boundaries, including joint research with psychologists, linguists, phoneticians, and computer scientists.

Job description

We are inviting applications for the position of a postdoctoral research fellow on the topic of computational modelling of child language development. The position is associated with a project titled “Modeling Child Language Development using Naturalistic Data at a Scale (L-SCALE)”, where the aim is to develop new practices to training and evaluation of computational models of infant language learning using realistic infant data. These data may include long-form child-centred audio recordings, infant-caregiver interaction transcripts, and meta-analyses conducted across a range of behavioural experiments. While the job is located in Finland, the project has a notable emphasis on international collaboration with key partners in Europe and North America.

The work will be conducted as a member of the SPECOG research group led by Dr. Okko Räsänen. We are looking for candidates who are interested in human and/or machine language processing, and who are willing to contribute to our cross-disciplinary research efforts in understanding language learning in humans through computational means.

In this position, the candidate is expected to:

1) carry out high-quality research on computational modelling of early language development, particularly working on ecologically relevant model training and evaluation protocols using large-scale infant data as a resource,
2) work in close collaboration with other members of the research group, including 1–2 PhD students working on connected topics, and
3) advise undergraduate/graduate research projects and participate to teaching in your field of expertise (up to a total of 15% of annual working time and subject to negotiation based on candidate’s interests and career aspirations).

Requirements

The candidate should hold a doctoral degree (e.g., PhD or D.Sc.) in language technology, psycholinguistics, cognitive science, computer science, or other relevant area.

A successful candidate has strong expertise in a) speech and/or language technology or in b) child language research with quantitative methods (e.g., developmental psychology, psycholinguistics, cognitive science). Fluent programming (Python, Matlab, R, or similar) and English skills are required. Strong motivation towards understanding the underpinnings of human language learning and processing is a must. Experience from computational modelling, natural language processing, or use of meta-analysis in research are considered as an advantage.

Potential candidates must be capable of carrying out independent academic research at the highest international level. Competence must be demonstrated through several existing publications in internationally recognised peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

Candidates should also have teaching/advising skills required to successfully perform the duties and functions of the position, or have interest towards developing their supervisory and pedagogical skills.

We offer

The position will be filled for a fixed-term period of 3 years. Starting date is negotiable, but should not be later than October 2022. A trial period of 6 months is applied to all new employees.

The funding of the position consists of a personal grant and a part-time salary that are comparable to a regular salary of 3500–3600€/month for starting postdocs. A higher salary based on existing postdoctoral experience and merits is negotiable. The position also includes possibilities for short-term researcher mobility to other international research labs. Traveling costs to presenting peer-reviewed work in major international conferences are covered by default. In addition, the position comes with extensive benefits such as occupational healthcare, on-campus sports facilities, flexible working hours, and several restaurants and cafés on the campus with staff discounts. The job is associated with 1612 h annual working time, which translates to approx. 6 weeks of work-free days year.

How to apply

Send the application through our online portal (link below).

Please submit your application through our online recruitment system. The closing date for applications is 17 March, 2022 (at 23.59 EET /  UTC+2). Note that we will start going through the applications and may start to interview some candidates already during the application period. We reserve the opportunity not to fill the position in case a suitable candidate is not found during the process.

Please write your application and all accompanying documents in English and attach them in PDF format. Please attach the following documents to your application:

  • A free-form letter of motivation for the position in question (max. 1 page)
  • Academic CV
  • A complete list of publications
  • A copy of your doctoral degree certificate
  • Letters of recommendation, if available (max. 3)

Please name all the documents as surname_CV.pdfsurname_list_of_publications.pdf … etc.  Only the applications sent through the university application portal and containing the requested attachments in the instructed format will be considered in the recruitment process.

The most promising candidates will be interviewed in person before the final decision.

For more information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Okko Räsänen (firstname.surname@tuni.fi; no umlauts) by email.

For more information on our group activities and recent publications, see https://webpages.tuni.fi/specog/index.html.

About the research environment

Finland is among the most stable, free and safe countries in the world, based on prominent ratings by various agencies. It is also ranked as one of the top countries as far as social progress is concerned. Tampere is the largest inland city of Finland, and the city is counted among the major academic hubs in the Nordic countries, offering a dynamic living environment. Tampere region is one of the most rapidly growing urban areas in Finland and home to a vibrant knowledge-intensive entrepreneurial community. The city is an industrial powerhouse that enjoys a rich cultural scene and a reputation as a centre of Finland’s information society. Despite its growth, living in Tampere is highly affordable for housing. In addition, the excellent public transport network enables quick, easy, and cheap transportation around the city of Tampere and university campuses. Tampere is also surrounded by vivid nature with forests and lakes, providing countless opportunities for easy-to-access outdoor adventures and refreshment throughout the year.

Read more about Finland and Tampere:

Job Features

Job CategoryTeaching and scientific research, Postdoctoral

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