PhD Studentship: Bootstrapping open-ended activity awareness in wearable computing

University of Sussex - Wearable Technologies Lab

A PhD position is available in the Wearable Technologies Lab (Dr. Daniel Roggen,, part of the Sensor Technology Research Centre at the University of Sussex, in the field of Wearable/Mobile/Ubiquitous Computing and Activity/Context Recognition and is linked to the EPSRC research project "Lifelearn".

The data of wearable devices - often motion sensors - can be analysed with machine learning to infer human activities. A good illustration of this are wearable fitness trackers. However, wearables can be used to recognise much more complex or subtle activities, in industrial settings, for sports performance analytics and for home assistance. Sufficient training data, however, must be available to train machine learning models. This limits current wearables to recognise contrived set of activities, which is inadequate for the next generation of smart assistants.

This aim of this project is to develop systems capable of recognizing an open-ended set of activities. This project develops methods to reduce the effort associated with acquiring machine learning training data which are used to classify wearable sensor signals (e.g. motion, sound) to activities. This is achieved by exploiting the growing availability of multimedia datasets which can be reused and translated (e.g. the recent University of Sussex-Huawei Locomotion dataset, the Google AVA dataset, Youtube) with implicit (e.g. system identification), explicit (e.g. transfer learning) shared representations or potentially using recent deep learning techniques.

The ideal candidate will have a master's degree in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, or equivalent. They have a very strong interest in research and outstanding technical skills. They have a passion to contribute to the development of next generation wearable systems, and a strong interest in research at the crossroads of signal processing and machine learning, embedded systems, sensor technologies and their applications. Applicants should be committed to pursue leading research and publish results in top venues. Additionally, we expect mastery of written and spoken English, self-motivation, an inquiring mind, be able to work independently and in an interdisciplinary environment. 

The selected candidate will join an interdisciplinary research centre with state of the art computing and electronics facilities and a wide range of technologies at hand: augmented reality glasses, smartwatches, novel sensor technologies, ad-hoc sensor nodes, etc.


You will have, or will be about to obtain a 1st or 2:1 UK Bachelor's, or an MSc degree, or equivalent, in a relevant subject. Applicants with significant relevant non-academic experience are also encouraged to apply.

The Scholarship includes a three year stipend at a standard rate (currently £14,553 per annum) and, in addition, fees at the UK/EU rate. Since the scholarship only covers fees at the UK/EU rate any overseas applicants are kindly requested to state in their application how they propose to cover the difference between UK/EU and overseas fees (for more details visit:

Application procedure:

Please apply through the post-graduate application system of the University of Sussex ( and clearly state the title of the studentship on your application.

Contact for informal enquiries and a full project description: Dr Daniel Roggen,

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South East England