Smart Campus project
3 PhD Scholarships available at the ICT Doctorate School, Trento, Italy

Deadline: April 18, 2013

The Smart Campus project aims at providing advanced ICT solutions to catalyze the creativity and enthusiasm of all people involved in a University campus, leading them to become active producers of innovative services designed to support their lives.

We are seeking for talented students with experience in interaction design, community design and/or in mobile service applications, and who are interested in pursuing research in these fields within the Smart Campus project.

Three doctoral student positions are available at the International Doctorate School in Information and Communication Technologies of the University of Trento, Italy, under the supervision of:

Ph.D. courses will start in Autumn 2013, and the thesis must be completed in three or four years. People enrolled Ph.D. courses are expected to move to Trento, and will receive monetary support during phases of their activity.

Successful students may have a pre-PhD scholarship that covers the period between the selection and the start of the school.

How to apply

Interested candidates should apply following the procedure of the International Doctorate School in Information and Communication Technologies, see http://ict.unitn.it/application/ict_doctoral_school. Candidates should select “Smart Campus” project-specific grants when requested during the application procedure, and should refer to the “Smart Campus” project in the submitted “Statement of Purpose”.

Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to contact the Smart Campus project before their application, for further information on the application procedure and on the project. Candidates shall contact us using email address phd-candidates<at>smartcampuslab.it, including a CV and a short statement of interest in their email.

Research Topics

A. Adaptable Mobile Apps for Smart Cities

Thanks to the wide adoption of mobile-connected smart devices, to the rapid improvements in mobile network connection speeds, and to the incredible amount of services and data available over the Internet, the dream of Internet of Services (IoS), connecting billion of users to million of services, is quickly becoming a reality. Mobile apps, being the natural mean enabling this interaction, are booming worldwide and the global mobile applications market is expected to be worth $25 billion by 2015.

However, mobile apps, inheriting the lack of dynamicity and flexibility of traditional desktop applications, are still not able to fully exploit the potentialities of the IoS revolution, that is, accessing the services you want, where you are, and when you need them.

The aim of the research work will be to investigate novel solutions to adapt mobile apps on-the-fly taking into account i) the user profile and preferences, ii) the actual state of the execution environment, and iii) the available services and data that may be exploited to support the user in his current activity. Solving this challenging problem will require a multi-disciplinary approach spanning different research areas such as AI planning, Service Oriented Computing, and Mobile and Web technologies.

The research results will be applied within the Smart Cities domain. Thanks to the Smart Campus community, to the strong collaboration with local organizations, and to the on-going European projects with pilots in different EU cities, the approach will be evaluated on the field with the involvement of end-users.

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate should have:

  • a master degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, Communication Engineering, or equivalents (M.Sc. students who plan to graduate within October 31st, 2013 will also be considered);
  • oral and written proficiency in English;
  • solid software development and programming skills;
  • basic knowledge in one or more of the following areas:
    • user centered design,
    • mobile services,
    • service oriented architectures,
    • cloud computing;
  • high motivation to develop research activity within the scope of the Smart Campus project.

B. Empowering citizens to collaboratively design and develop their own services

Sustainability of services in a smart city scenario requires finding new development approaches to empower their large set of stakeholders to actively and collaboratively modify or create new services to fit their contextually changing needs. In this vision, services are created not only for the citizens, or with the citizens, but literally by the citizens.

The aim of the research work will be to extend current work on End-User Development towards the concept of Community-led development. The specific objectives will be i) development and evaluation of a meta-design tool to allow different stakeholders (e.g., citizens, public organisations, software engineers) to collaboratively exploit the smart campus platform for their different agendas ii) design and evaluation of new communication strategies to empower citizens to provide not only feedback on existing services but also ideas for new services which can be developed by the community itself.

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate should have:

  • a master degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, Communication Engineering, or equivalents (M.Sc. students who plan to graduate within October 31st, 2013 will also be considered);
  • oral and written proficiency in English;
  • solid software development and programming skills;
  • HCI and/or CSCW knowledge;
  • basic knowledge in one or more of the following areas:
    • end-user development,
    • service oriented architectures;
  • high motivation to develop research activity within the scope of the Smart Campus project.

C. Interaction in the wild: Research through design and design by research

Design and evaluation in a smart city setting require an agile approach supporting fast and effective decision-making and implementation, which cannot be guaranteed yet by existing and well established UCD methods. The aim of the research work will be twofold: i) investigate new approaches to foster and monitor individual adoption and societal appropriation of new services and ii) define new methodology to evaluate prototypes as they are really used and integrated within people’s life and feed this knowledge to design.

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate should have:

  • a master degree in Human-Computer Interaction, Psychology, Sociology, cognitive Sciences or equivalent (M.Sc. students who plan to graduate within October 31st, 2013 will also be considered);
  • oral and written proficiency in English;
  • user research skills (qualitative and/or quantitative);
  • HCI and/or CSCW knowledge;
  • high motivation to develop research activity within the scope of the Smart Campus project.

Location

Trento is a lively town of about 100.000 inhabitants, located about 130 km south of the border between Italy and Austria. It is well known for the beauty of its mountains and lakes, and it offers the possibility to practice a wide range of sports. Trento enjoys a rich cultural and historical heritage, and it is the ideal starting point for day trips to famous towns such as Venice or Verona, as well as to enjoy great naturalistic journeys.

Detailed information about Trento and its region can be found at http://www.visittrentino.it/en.