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Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship in AI and HCI for Games and Mixed Reality SCI1847

University of Nottingham - Computer Science

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Nottingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £19,000
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th October 2018
Closes: 11th January 2019
Reference: SCI1847

We are recruiting a PhD student to explore AI-based natural user interfaces (e.g. voice interaction) in visual environments such as games and mixed reality. The research will sit at the cross-roads of Machine Learning and Human-Computer Interaction. The broad aim of the PhD is to understand and characterize the interactional troubles users encounter with systems built on existing state-of-the-art AI models, and develop datasets which highlight these challenges and enable development of models which tackle them head-on.

The research will involve some or all of the following:

  • Developing user scenarios which push the state-of-the-art AI models
  • Understanding and implementing existing AI algorithms in order to prototype end-to-end systems for these scenarios
  • Performing user interaction studies with these prototypes
  • Collecting novel datasets for these scenarios which can be used to train machine learning algorithms
  • Evaluating and characterizing the user study results

Successful applicants will meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor's and/or Master’s Degree (or equivalent) in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Mathematics or related field
  • Excellent programming skills for system prototyping
  • Sufficient mathematical foundations to understand and implement state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms.  Background in machine learning helpful but not required.
  • Interest and aptitude in human computer interaction.  Background in HCI helpful but not required. 
  • Highly motivated
  • Fluent in English, both written and spoken.

If you are a strong programmer with an interest in AI and HCI, then please apply!

The PhD student will be hosted at the University of Nottingham, and will be jointly supervised with Nate Kushman from the Machine Intelligence and Perception group at Microsoft Research Cambridge providing machine learning expertise, while Joel Fischer and Stuart Reeves from the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham will provide HCI expertise.

The Mixed Reality Lab ( at the University of Nottingham is an interdisciplinary group exploring the potential of ubiquitous, mobile and interactive technologies to shape everyday life. The Machine Intelligence and Perception group at Microsoft Research Cambridge ( is focused on developing fundamental machine learning models and algorithms to enable a future where machines understand and interact naturally with people, where computers enhance human creativity, where intelligent systems navigate and interact with complex environments, and where algorithms help us lead healthier lives. The student will be based at the University of Nottingham and will benefit from:

  • A fully-funded four-year PhD programme in a leading-edge research project.
  • A potential internship with Microsoft Research.
  • An enhanced stipend of £19,000 per annum as well as a personal laptop and additional resources for travel and equipment to support your study.
  • A world class research environment with a proven track record of successful graduates.

This PhD is restricted to UK/Home and EU students due to funder requirements, and the minimum entry requirement is a 2.1 undergraduate degree and English language IELTS average score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any element. Application should be made online at with a detailed CV, transcript, references and a statement of research interests (personal statement). Please quote ref SCI1847.  

The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been found, interviews will take place on a rolling basis, with a flexible start date as soon as possible for the candidate.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to or 

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