EU FP7 STREP project EFAA: Experimenal Functional Android Assistant

2 postdoctoral positions in the area of Bioinspired Social Learning Algorithms for Human-Robot Interaction

(closing date 16 January 2011; early applications strongly encouraged; you must apply through here (job reference EN20100259 SW), but please send a copy of your application materials to Dr Demiris at

Salary £30680 - £39130 per annum


All appointments will normally be made at the bottom of the salary range


South Kensington Campus, London


Fixed term appointments for three years


The Intelligent Systems and Networks Group in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering are looking for two Research Associates (postdoctoral) to work in the area of bioinspired social learning mechanisms for human robot interaction, under the EU FP7 project EFAA. You will be working in close collaboration with a number of European partners to develop bioinspired social learning algorithms for human-robot interaction in multimodal interactive scenarios. You will be developing novel algorithms to learn transferable sensorimotor and cognitive skills in the context of multimodal table-top games. European travel will be required to assist in the field testing of the robotic systems, as well as project meetings.


The posts require that you possess an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science (or equivalent) in Electrical / Electronic Engineering, Mathematics / Statistics, Robotics or Computing, and a PhD (or equivalent: completed, or near completion) in a similar discipline. An excellent understanding of machine learning algorithms, particularly as applied to robotics and human-robot interaction is essential. Excellent programming skills in C/C++/Matlab are required, while experience in the bioinspired representation and learning of complex human sensorimotor and cognitive skills will be beneficial. Experience in programming and controlling humanoid (especially the icub humanoid platform) or other complex robots will be extremely beneficial.


Informal enquiries about the positions can be addressed to Dr Yiannis Demiris,

Please apply through the College’s electronic application system, irecruitment, quoting job reference number EN20100259 SW. Details here. Please also send a copy of your application materials to Dr Demiris, but you must apply formally through the college system in any case.

Please note the College will be closed from 24 December 2010 and will reopen on 4 January 2011.  There will be no-one to assist should you have any problems applying via Irecruitment.  There will be downtime on the system on 14 & 15 January 2011 so you will not be able to access the system on those dates. 

Job Description

Job Title: Research Associate

Grade: Level B, Academic and Research Job Family

Responsible to: Dr Yiannis Demiris

Key Working Relationships: Supervisor: Dr Yiannis Demiris, Intelligent Systems

and Networks Group

The Purpose of the Posts:

The Research Associate will be required to conduct research into Bioinspired Social Learning Mechanisms for Human Robot Interaction under the EFAA project (EU FP7 STREP).

Key Responsibilities:

1.To plan and carry out research in accordance with the project aims in collaboration with members of the Intelligent Systems and Networks Group and the project’s consortium partners.

2.To participate in advanced research in bioinspired social learning for human robot interaction; this will include:

a.The development of novel learning algorithms inspired by biological social learning mechanisms such as learning by emulation, imitation, and stimulus enhancement, and their interaction with other bioinspired computational processes such as attention and self- and context-awareness.

b.The enhancement of state-of-the-art mirror-neuron computational and robotic models to support learning of transferable skills.

c.The application of such mechanisms to real humanoid robot systems such as the icub) for interacting with humans in the context of a variety of table-top games.

d.The participation in their evaluation in experimental scenarios with our consortium partners, as well as any other research tasks that might arise as the project progresses.

3.To contribute to the writing of research reports, progress reports, and any other reporting obligations to the EU and the other partners.

4.To disseminate the results via journals, conference presentations, and project meetings.

5.To maintain accurate and complete records of all findings, including software.

6.To collaborate with and provide guidance to students at all levels, but not as a main activity.

7.To develop his/her scientific background, specialist knowledge and to develop his/her scientific contacts.

8.To support the computing, hardware (robot sensing and actuating) and networking needs of the project.

9.To comply with relevant College policies, including Financial Regulations, Equal Opportunities Policy, Promoting Race Equality Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Information Systems Security Policy and Intellectual Property Rights and Register of Interests Policies

Job Descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

Imperial College London is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination. All employees are expected to adhere to the principals set out in its Equal Opportunities in Employment Policy, Promoting Race Equality Policy and Disability Policy and all other relevant guidance/practice frameworks.

Person Specification

Applicants are required to have a background in the following areas:

Experience and Knowledge:


1.Excellent understanding of bioinspired learning algorithms and their application to robotics and human robot interaction.

2.Excellent programming skills in C/C++/Matlab.

3.Excellent mathematical skills.

Would be an advantage (any of the following):

1.Experience in programming and controlling humanoid or other complex robots.

2.Prior research experience in bioinspired approaches to robot learning.

3.Experience in Human-Robot Interaction, for example in learning by demonstration or imitation.

4.Knowledge of human and animal brain neurophysiology, particularly those areas involving the representation and learning of complex sensorimotor skills, and the mirror system.

5.Postdoctoral experience although not necessary.



1.Able to perform effectively under pressure and time constraints, with good personal organisation and time management, and the ability to pay close attention to detail; excellent reporting skills for research performed.

2.Effective interpersonal skills with the ability to deal with a wide variety of people.


An advanced degree, such as a Master of Science (or equivalent) in Electrical / Electronic Engineering, Mathematics / Statistics, Robotics or Computing, and a PhD (or equivalent: completed, or near completion) in a similar discipline.


Willingness to travel both to Europe to assist in the field testing of the robotic systems, as well as project meetings.

Postdoctoral positions 
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 
Imperial College London