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PhD Student: Fostering human-robot mutual understanding by explaining the internal beliefs (MSCA DN TRAIL)

Date of call





Guillem Alenyà Ribas



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The Perception and Manipulation Group at IRI is accepting applications for one Doctoral Candidate Researchers (PhD student) within the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network "TRAIL" about TRAnsparent Interpretable Robots. The Doctoral Network TRAIL consists of 15 institutions including universities, research institutions and industry partners (TRAIL Coordinador website, TRAIL IRI website)

IRI is a Joint University Research Institute participated by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) that conducts research in human-centered robotics and automatic control. The institute is a key player in the Spanish robotics and automatic control scenes, and a valued participant in a large number of international collaborations including ten ongoing European projects and an ERC Advanced Grant.

Robots should interact with the real world using partial knowledge and noisy perceptions. To decide which is the most suitable next action to perform, robots usually, often implicitly, make use of an internal representation of the human knowledge about the task, the human’s preferences, and the robot's capabilities. This PhD will investigate methods to represent and communicate the internal beliefs that a robot’s decision system has employed. The goal is to execute a task and afterwards be able to remember and explain the decisions taken after a task is done (only past is relevant) or while is being executed (past and future are relevant).

The project will investigate different knowledge representations, with a special interest in representations where uncertainties are modelled explicitly and concepts can be linked to the Theory of Mind. The PhD candidate will propose new ways of explaining the uncertainty of the internal knowledge linked to the different actions it can perform. The PhD candidate will demonstrate this approach using assistive robotics tasks in a real scenario application that are used for elders, providing information to the caregiver about past interactions with the patient.

- Attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Early-Stage Researchers: around 33500 Eur gross per year + family allowance (7920 Eur per year -if applicable-)
- Enrollment as PhD candidate at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.
- Opportunities to collaborate with other PhD students on the same topic.
- Opportunities to make secondments in EU institutions and companies.
- According to EU mobility rules, the doctoral researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for longer than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Applicants who already have a doctoral degree are not eligible.


Qualifications: MSc or equivalent in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science or Engineering with a focus on Knowledge representation, Intelligent Systems, or Intelligent Robotics.
Knowledge: Good programming skills (Python, C++, Machine Learning Frameworks, ROS etc.).
Languages: Excellent English communication skills are an important requirement.
Other: Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply


Please, send your documentation before 28/02/2023 to:

Email: jobs (at)
Address: C/ Llorens i Artigas 4-6, 2a planta. 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
Fax: 93 401 57 50
Note: Please, remember to reference the offer (ID-113) and include the following documentation: CV and academic transcripts