Open Positions

If you are interested in doing a PhD in ACI and would like to work with me: You should apply to the University of Glasgow’s PhD scholarship program or the CDT Social AI program. I am interested in supporting PhDs in Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI). I would advise students to contact me before applying with their CV, transcript, and previous publications. No prior knowledge in animal science is required, but good programming skills and a background in Human-Computer Interaction helps. I have several topics in mind, but please include a summary in the email – I am always excited to explore new areas in ACI if you already have a topic in mind. You can contact me at ilyena.hirskyj-douglas@glasgow.ac.uk with the subject: ‘PhD Studentship in ACI’.

My general advice on putting a good application together for the scholarship: Read at least one of my publications to get an overview of the field to see what area interests you and how I could support your work. My literature review ‘Seven Years after the Manifesto: Literature Review and Research Directions for Technologies in Animal Computer Interaction‘ is an excellent place to start. I would also advise thinking about what research excites you, what problems you aim to address, and why these problems matter. You can also read an example proposal to get an idea of what is expected.

To find out about the application process: You can read more about the application process on the schools website. The deadline to apply for a university scholarship is in January every year, but you will need to make sure that you get in touch before this date to help support the application to give you the best chance of success. For the home and international students, the University of Glasgow scholarship will cover your fees and provide a stipend, though these are limited and competitive for international students. If you are a student from China, the China Scholarship Council (CSC) will support your international fee and stipend. You can find a complete list of projects and funding opportunities on the School of Computer Science webpage

Application to the CDT in Social AI: The application process for entry in 2022 is now open (deadline on February 25th, 2022), please see the following page for instructions on how to apply: https://socialcdt.org/how-to-apply/. I have a project in “Who you gonna call? developing rat-to-rat communication interfaces” with Cassandra Sampaio Batista.

Brief project summary:

Many rats live in laboratory conditions residing in cages in small groups or alone (such as after surgery, dominance issues, safety, or research purposes). Yet, rats are highly social animals with complex social skills needing the company of others. Rats become attached and form solid bonds and large communities in the wild. Thus, while the research done on laboratory rats is vital to human and animal health, their social living conditions are not always ideal. The main aim of this project is to increase rats’ sociality by exploring how rats can use computers that have audio, visual and olfactory output to communicate with other rats. We will then use this output to develop an artificial rat agent to support lonely rats autonomously. While researchers have investigated how rats react to screen systems, dog-to-dog interfaces and dog-to-human video interfaces, there is no research undertaken around rat-to-rat and rat-to-computer interaction.