The Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI) seeks an experienced researcher with a background in speech technology engineering, network systems, information systems, software engineering, data science, or similar to assume a key role in helping to help fulfil the objectives of the innovation and expansion component of the Horizon 2020 GrassrootsWavelengths project (nº780890), funded by the European Commission.
Brief description of the work plan:
The successful candidate will work under the supervision of European Research Area Chair Prof. Chris Csikszentmihályi and Prof. Dr. Simone Ashby. S/he will be responsible for: using web extraction, database building, and grapheme-to-phoneme conversion techniques to develop linguistic resources for European Portuguese, Irish, and Romanian; scraping and consolidating texts and doing linguistic analysis from the internet; developing new ICT resources in cooperation with the project’s community action/participatory design effort; and integrating TTS technologies and ICT components into the existing RootIO (rootio.org
) architecture. While the emphasis of this work is in speech technology, a candidate with strong general technical skills would be able to learn many of the domain-specific approaches on the job.
The position is suited to candidates with strong programming abilities, a public history of contributing to free/open software projects, and an interest in developing audio and voice user interfaces. The candidate must be comfortable working on complex projects with evolving objectives and will be expected to be a proactive, independent problem solver and innovator, and facilitate collaboration within a broad network of colleagues across disciplines and for engagement with the wider international Grassroot Wavelengths community. S/he will have the opportunity to produce original collaborative research and joint publications with other members of the network, as well as generous funding for travel to partner sites, and for attending conferences and workshops.
The Grassroot Wavelengths project will create a game-changing network of inclusive digital platforms for citizen engagement, community deliberation, and the free flow of information within, into, and out of discrete geographic communities by piloting solutions for connected, inexpensive, community owned and operated radio across Europe. Our approach Civic Media, born and developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and now based in Madeira, includes community-based participatory design methods for setting up stations and services and understanding the processes in which they will be used and appropriated, along with an emphasis on synthetic speech to support the curation of audio content, thus turning data into media. Building on the success of the existing RootIO platform – with its proven commons-oriented technology and catalytic capacities for promoting/enabling collective awareness and action, participatory innovation, community resilience, and media pluralism – we will: deploy and test a network of low-power community radio stations in Ireland, Portugal, and Romania; work with community groups, journalists, and public good experts to develop a robust platform for expansion across Europe; enhance use and accessibility of networked community radio through text-to-speech, community oriented programming applications, and other community-supported modes for contributing and managing content); and work within the EU framework to establish a public support infrastructure for local ownership and revenue generation. Together, these four actions combine to form a robust and tested platform with a clear path to scaling and exploitation in Europe and beyond.
• The selection process will be based on the principle of non-discrimination in respect of gender, age, nationality, religion, racial group, or any other possible discriminatory issue. Selection will be made only based on merit and following the European Charter for Researchers, the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Commission Recommendation, Brussels, 11.3.2005, 2005/251/EC) and the recommendations from the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).
• M-ITI is a recognized “refugee welcoming organization" by the European Commission, follows the European Charter for Researchers and welcomes applications from all qualified individuals.
Madeira-ITI is an innovation institute and non-profit R&D organization that operates in the interdisciplinary domain of human-computer interaction (HCI) for addressing and engaging in important scientific and technological challenges that have societal relevance and impact. Madeira-ITI is one of the top HCI centers in Europe, recently evaluated as "Excellent" by Portugal’s national science foundation (FCT). Madeira itself is a small semi-autonomous island, located off the coast of Morocco with a quarter of a million people, an awe-inspiring landscape, and an average year-round temperature of 21º degrees.