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Trinity College Dublin

Intuitive Control for Personalisation

Closing Date: 
April 24, 2015

Post Status: 4 year PhD Studentships
Department: ADAPT Centre, School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin
Benefits: Payment of tax free stipend and academic fees
General enquires concerning this post can be addressed to Please include the reference code PU_PhD6 in the subject of your email.

Research Topic

It is increasingly important to design interfaces which the user feels that they can control and understand. However, there is a fundamental challenge in how to balance complex software behaviour with limited attention and comprehension. This work seeks to use the notion of ‘peripheral awareness’, harnessing intuitive aspects of human perception, to give them better control and understanding of the software they use. The research topic is user-centric and focuses on making the personal human.

The researcher will explore the Scrutability and Experience Framework and will develop methods for integrating this scrutability seamlessly with adaptation offered to the user. This PhD will help to contribute a key framework to enhance user scrutability, specifically in the area of peripheral awareness. There is great potential contribute to the design of usable systems, from both interface and engineering perspectives.

This post is within the "Platform Theme C: Personalising the User Experience" theme of the SFI-funded ADAPT centre at Trinity College Dublin. This theme focuses on dramatically improving the way users engage with content by enriching the user experience, while alleviating current frustrations of cognitive overload when performing diverse actions on content.

Background on ADAPT

ADAPT is Ireland’s global centre of excellence for digital content and media innovation. Led by TCD, it combines the expertise of researchers at four universities (Trinity College Dublin, Dublin
City University, University College Dublin, and Dublin Institute of Technology) with that of its industry partners to produce ground-breaking digital content innovation.

ADAPT brings together more than 120 researchers who collectively have won more than €100m in funding and have a strong track record of transferring world-leading research and innovations to more than 140 companies. With €50M in new research funding from Science Foundation Ireland and industry, ADAPT is seeking talented individuals to join its growing research team. Our research and technologies will continue to help businesses in all sectors and drive back the frontiers of future Web engagement.

Why join ADAPT@TCD?

1. Work on hard, relevant problems in an interdisciplinary and exciting research environment. The ADAPT Centre combines expertise of researchers at Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City
University, University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology. It brings together more than 120 researchers who have collectively won more than €100M in competitive research funding and have an international track record of bridging research and innovations to more than 140 companies. With €50M in new research funding from SFI and industry, ADAPT research and technologies will help businesses in all sectors to manage, personalise and deliver digital content more effectively.

2. Work in a University where excellence of research is valued. Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s premier University and is ranked in 71st position in the top 100 world universities by the QS World University Rankings 2014.

3. Work in a centre focussed on advancing your career. Whether you want to take an academic, industrial, or entrepreneurial career path, ADAPT prides itself in the support and mentoring that enables all its Students and early-stage researchers to reach their full potential. This year alone its postdoc-to-PI programme has helped three postdocs transition to be Principal Investigators on their own H2020 projects, while four others have recently won funding with ADAPT support to realise the commercialisation of their research through spin outs and licensing.


The successful candidate will have an excellent academic record (first class or II.1 primary degree or a postgraduate qualification, e.g. M.Sc.) in Computer Science or a related discipline. Experience in Knowledge Engineering, user experience, and/or personalisation/recommendation are a distinct advantage. The successful candidate will be highly motivated, with strong written and oral communication skills and a demonstrated proficiency in software development, with strong design and programming skills. They must be eager to work in and learn from multi-disciplinary and multi-organisation teams. They should have English language certification if English is not their first language, the requirement being: IELTS: 7.0+, TOEFL iBT: 100+, TOEFL pBT: 600+, CEF: C1+, or equivalent.

Application Procedure:
For further information and informal contact, please email Please apply via email to, including:

  • A targeted cover letter (600-1000 words) expressing your suitability for a position
  • A complete CV
  • Please include the reference code PU_PhD6 in the subject of your email

    There will be an interview process, a successful candidate will then be invited to apply via the TCD graduate studies admission system.

    Equal Opportunities Policy

    Trinity College Dublin is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to the
    employment policies, procedures and practices which do not discriminate on grounds
    such as gender, marital status, family status, age, disability, race, religious belief, sexual
    orientation or membership of the travelling community.