Two position are currently available, a post-doc and a PhD position. To apply please see the relevant details below.

Post-doctoral Research Fellow: User Autonomy and Intelligent Systems

Duration: Full-time, 2-year fixed term position with HCI@UCD, the School of Computer Science, and the ADAPT SFI Research Centre

Applications: please apply through the UCD HR website. Visit this link and search using the reference number 013643.

Potential applications can also contact me directly with informal enquiries: d.coyle at

Deadline: 5pm October 5th 2021

Salary: €38,631 – €47,264 per annum depending on experience.

The overall vision of ADAPT is to pioneer new forms of proactive and integrated AI-driven Digital Technology that empower individuals and society. This position is in the area of Human Computer Interaction and will focus on the issue of user autonomy in interactions with intelligent systems.

Autonomy is fundamental to human motivation and wellbeing. It is a complex experience, and becomes more complex still when interacting with intelligent computer systems that have the potential to become co-actors. As a phenomena autonomy be can approached from diverse perspectives and within different timeframes. We can for example consider users’ sense of agency or control in their moment-to-moment interactions with multimodal or predictive interfaces. Equally autonomy can be expressed through the choices we make, and are empowered to make, in using digital health technologies and interacting with recommender systems. On occasion we may even choose to cede autonomy to a machine, e.g. a self-driving car.

Research undertaken in this post will contribute to the our understanding of how to design interactive systems that support and respect human autonomy, whilst also maximising the potential of human-computer collaboration. The successful candidate will design and evaluate interactive probes or prototypes, and undertake user studies that explore the human experience of autonomy is specific interaction contexts. The exact context in which autonomy will be addressed is open to discussion and will be based on the joint interests of the research team and post-doctoral researcher. As such the candidate will be expected to both drive an individual research agenda and contribute to the broader agenda of the HCI@UCD research group.

For examples of our previous work in this area see here. We are also finding that autonomy is increasingly relevant to our work in digital health, in for example our work on help-seeking.

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PhD position: Digital Mental Health

Duration: 4 years full time with HCI@UCD, the School of Computer Science, and the INSIGHT SFI Research Centre

Funding: Tax free stipend of €18,500 per annum for 4 years, plus full PhD fees at University College Dublin and funding to support research and training, including conference attendance. This stipend can also be supplemented through paid work as a Teaching Assistant or Demonstrator.

Project: Digital Mental Health involves the use of technology to support improved mental health at both an individual and societal level. In recent years it has become a significant focus of research within the HCI community. It is also a core focus for the HCI@UCD research group. Over the past 15 years we have developed a range of systems, including games and mobile applications to support young people and online and blended interventions for adults. We have led TEAM, an EU Marie Curie PhD training network, dedicated to designing new technology that enables early assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties in young people. This research has had a significant impact and has been widely published in both HCI and healthcare conferences and journals. This PhD position will to build on our recent work in this area. In particular we are seeking applicants with an interest in one of the following areas:

Online help-seeking and mental health: Seeking help is an important step in addressing mental health difficulties. Evidence suggests that positive help-seeking experiences contribute to an increased likelihood of future help-seeking and improved outcomes. This project will be undertaken in collaboration with Dr Claudette Pretorius and will build on our on-going work exploring how technology can support better help-seeking experiences. Topics of interest include:

  • Integration of help-seeking and information search theories
  • Social help-seeking technologies
  • Guided help-seeking technologies, e.g. recommender, chat or agent based systems

Student mental health: For many young people college years represent a time of change. It is potentially a time a significant personal growth, but can also be a time of significant stress and challenge. This project will be undertaken in collaboration with the Flourish project at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. Flourish aims to develop technologies that support student wellbeing. Topics of interest include:

  • Technologies to support resilience and emotion regulation
  • Technologies that support empathy, shared experience and peer support
  • Data-driven recommender systems to support student wellbeing and work-life balance

The successful candidate will be enrolled on the structured PhD program at UCD. They will be expected to design and evaluate interactive probes or prototypes, and undertake user studies that address one of the core areas identified above. They are also expected to play an active role in the HCI@UCD research group. There is a strong expectation that their work will be published at leading international journals and conferences.

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student, with a genuine interest in digital mental health. A first-class or 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science or related field is required. A Masters (or equivalent) in Human Computer Interaction, Computer Science or other relevant social science discipline is also desirable.
Language: Non-native English speakers require IELTS at least 6.5 (with at least 6 in all components) or equivalent (see link for details on test equivalence).

Application can be made via email to Please include the term ‘PhD – Digital Mental Health’ in the subject line and include the following documents as a single pdf file:

  • Full C.V.
  • A motivation letter that specifies why the applicant wants to pursue a PhD this area (max one page)
  • A outline research proposal that targets one of the areas described above (max one page)
  • Verified copies of academic degree(s)
  • Names and contact details of two referees, who can comment on commenting specifically on the candidate’s academic suitability to pursue a PhD
  • Copies of (co-) authored research papers (if applicable)

Deadline: There is no fixed deadline, but initial interviews are expected to take place in October 2021.