PhD Position F/M Socially-Aware Embodied Conversational Agents: Achieving Task and Social Goals in Human-Computer Conversation with students

Contract type : Fixed-term contract

Level of qualifications required : Graduate degree or equivalent

Other valued qualifications : Masters degree in relevant subject

Fonction : PhD Position

Level of experience : From 3 to 5 years


The objective of this project is to build embodied conversational agents (also known as ECAs, or virtual humans, or chatbots, or multimodal dialogue systems) that have the ability to engage their users in both social and task talk, where the social talk serves to improve task performance. In order to achieve this objective, we model human-human conversation, and integrate the models into ECAs, and then evaluate their performance. This position is a 3-4 year doctoral contract.



The PhD student chosen for this project should have a broad range of skills including at least several of the following: 

  1. Experience with analysis of human-human conversational behavior, as the team relies on human behavior as the basis for the implementation of conversational agents. A plus would be experience in gathering and constructing corpora as the team routinely gathers and annotates data on the interaction between social and task aspects of human-human conversation.
  2. Experience building statistical and computational models of human data, particularly conversational data, based both on our own analyses and on relevant prior literature, using tools such as structural equation modeling, as well as neural network-based approaches.. 
  3. Experience with implementing and managing functioning embodied conversational agents, social robots or spoken dialogue systems. 

For further information about the proposed research subject:

For more information on the project, potential candidates should look at the SARA (Socially-Aware Robot Assistant) website and RAPT (Rapport-Aligned Peer Tutor) projects at <> and read some of the publications associated with the project, here <>


The person recruited is responsible for conducting cutting-edge research in the field of embodied conversational agents, including helping to managing interns.

Main activities

Main activities :

  • Build models of human behavior
  • Design and carry out experiments
  • Analyze their results 
  • Write articles & present work in conferences 
  • Improve the existing pipeline of the conversational agent 

Additional activities :

  • Help to manage research team
  • Prepare demos for conferences and visitors

In order to apply for this PhD student position, please upload into JobIn the following:

  1. An up-to-date CV
    A letter of motivation describing your experience and interests
    The names amd contact information of 3 people who can write recommendations for you (please note that letters of recommendation will not be accepted - only names of recommenders that we will contact).



Technical competence: Advanced data collection, analysis and statistics. Competence in machine learning or demonstrated desire to acquire this competence.

Langue: French, English 

Relational competence: ability to work in a team, and collaborate with others from different disciplines and backgrounds. Ability to work independently. Ability to manage other team members. 

Additional recommended competencies: background in one or several of the following: cognitive science, linguistics, conversational analysis, sociolinguistics, social cognition, learning science

Benefits package

  • Subsidized meals
  • Partial reimbursement of public transport costs
  • Leave: 7 weeks of annual leave + 10 extra days off due to RTT (statutory reduction in working hours) + possibility of exceptional leave (sick children, moving home, etc.)
  • Possibility of teleworking (after 6 months of employment) and flexible organization of working hours
  • Professional equipment available (videoconferencing, loan of computer equipment, etc.)
  • Social, cultural and sports events and activities
  • Access to vocational training


The remuneration will be established according to the profile and the experience of the candidate