2020-02747 - PhD Position F/M Expressive and Reactive Virtual Humans for Virtual Reality
Le descriptif de l’offre ci-dessous est en Anglais

Type de contrat : CDD

Niveau de diplôme exigé : Bac + 5 ou équivalent

Fonction : Doctorant

A propos du centre ou de la direction fonctionnelle

The Inria Rennes - Bretagne Atlantique Centre is one of Inria's eight centres and has more than thirty research teams. The Inria Center is a major and recognized player in the field of digital sciences. It is at the heart of a rich R&D and innovation ecosystem: highly innovative PMEs, large industrial groups, competitiveness clusters, research and higher education players, laboratories of excellence, technological research institute, etc.

Contexte et atouts du poste

This PhD proposal is part of the European Marie-Curie Network (ITN: Innovative Training Network) CLIPE, which started in March 2020. This network, which aims to train 15 PhD students, focuses on the creation of innovative tools and techniques for the design of virtual scenes populated with characters for Virtual Reality applications. This application framework poses particular challenges that concern both the quality and credibility of virtual humans in their appearance and movement, and the complexity of large scenes. All this is made very challenging by the interactivity required by virtual worlds.

To learn more about the CLIPE network, click on this link: https://www.clipe-itn.eu/.

The context of the network offers particular conditions for the realization of the thesis:

  • An attractive remuneration allowing for example an increased international mobility
  • A high level of training in science and innovation through participation in numerous workshops organized by the CLIPE network.
  • International mobility: towards the CLIPE network's institutional and industrial partners

Mission confiée

In the broad context of the CLIPE project, we are more particularly interested in the problem of creating and editing an "ambient life" in immersive environments populated by large dimensions. The main issues raised by this objective concern :

  1. the capabilities of virtual humans populating the scene to react to users action, responding to unexpected events, out of prescribed scenarios.
  2. the capabilities of virtual humans to express their intentions and behaviour through expressive animation techniques
  3. the ease of use of the innovative techniques aimed at and in particular the ease of handling by potential novice users.

The general objective of the PhD is to create interactive characters endowed with levels of behavioural sensitivity and responsiveness for Virtual Reality applications. By populating virtual environments with such characters, our goal is to achieve new levels of immersive experiences, by reinforcing the feeling of presence through non-verbal communication between a user and one or more agents.


Principales activités

The activities carried out by the candidate are composed of the classical activities of thesis preparation :   

  • Bibliographical research
  • Software development
  • Writing articles
  • Active participation in conferences

The proposed thesis topic is at the interface of several domains and methods that will be explored by the candidate:

  • Graphic Animation
  • Crowd simulation
  • Virtual Reality
  • Virtual Humans
  • Simulation of dynamic environments


Any of the following skills is a plus for your application:

  • C, C++, C# programming
  • graphics engine unity
  • deep learning, reinforcement learning
  • computer vision
  • virtual reality technologies


  • Subsidized meals
  • Partial reimbursement of public transport costs
  • Leave: 7 weeks of annual leave + 10 extra days off due to RTT
  • Professional equipment available (videoconferencing, loan of computer equipment, etc.)
  • Social, cultural and sports events and activities
  • Access to vocational training
  • Social security coverage


Monthly gross salary amounting to 1982 euros for the first and second years and 2085 euros for the third year.