PhD student position on interpretable conversational AI

Chalmers University of Technology

Göteborg, Västra Götaland, Sweden


Conversation Design

Nov 13

Information about the research project

The project will be carried out in the Applied Artificial Intelligence (AAI) research group. In the project, building on our previous research in conversational AI, we aim to develop and apply (for example in healthcare) a state-of-the-art dialogue manager for intelligent virtual agents that, moreover, will be fully interpretable by design (a key theme in our research), unlike the currently popular black box models (e.g. deep neural networks) that, however, will also be used, for example in benchmark comparisons.

The AAI group conducts research in a wide variety of topics, e.g. automated transportation (road, rail, and sea), mobile robots, and conversational AI, with interpretability as a common theme. In the field of conversational AI, the AAI group is working on several topics, e.g. text sentiment classification, dialogue managers for intelligent virtual agents, and natural language modelling in general, with applications primarily in health care (even though other applications may be relevant as well). 

Information about the division and department

The AAI group is a part of the Division of Vehicle Engineering and Autonomous Systems (VEAS) at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2). At the M2 department we conduct fundamental and applied research in areas such as safety, energy efficiency and material optimization of sustainable technology solutions across all modes of transport. The VEAS division is one of seven divisions at the department. Our focus is on engineering of systems with applications in vehicles and robots. Our strengths are the knowledge of finding solutions to authentic problems, often with the aim to provide innovative solutions to problems of industrial and societal relevance, by means of theory, modelling, simulations, and experimental work. The division has 9 faculty members, 12 PhD students, and several post-docs and researchers. The main research areas are within energy-efficient, safe, and adaptive vehicles, and autonomous systems operating in unstructured environments.

- More details about the department and its research activities can be found here.

Major responsibilities

Your main responsibility will be to pursue research within the project. You are expected to implement, test, and extend existing scientific ideas and concepts as well as invent new ones, and to communicate the results of your research verbally and in writing at leading conferences and journals. You will be guided by senior researchers at the involved departments. The position also includes teaching or other departmental duties corresponding to approximately 20 percent of working hours and is time limited up to 4.5-5 years depending on the amount of teaching and departmental work during your doctoral project.


To qualify as a PhD student in this project, you must hold a master’s degree in a relevant field such as: complex adaptive systems, applied mathematics, artificial intelligence, or computer science. It is important that you have solid programming skills, especially in C# .NET and python. It is meritorious to have experience in web programming (web interfaces), especially in ASP.NET, as well as cross-platform development (Windows, Android, MacOS). It is also meritorious to have some experience in interpretable methods in AI, as well as AI applications in healthcare.

We are looking for a creative and organized person that enjoys putting new ideas into practice. You should have the ability to discuss and communicate your work with people of different backgrounds. You must be motivated and able to work independently, and possess a strong curiosity and a genuine wish to constantly learn more and to develop your skills and knowledge further in the fields of research and research communication.

The position requires good verbal and written communication skills in English. Since the project involves natural language processing, you should also have a strong general interest in languages and linguistics.

Contract terms

Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of 4.5-5 years. 

We offer

Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg

Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.

Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with Ref 20220309 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)

• CV

• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.

• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)

2-3 pages where you:

• Introduce yourself

• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)

Other documents (Only applications containing the following documents will be reviewed):

• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.

• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.

• Write a half-page summary of the paper “The five Is: Key principles for interpretable and safe conversational AI” ( and submit it with your application.

• Describe the importance of interpretability in AI.

• Describe the difference between explainable AI, on the one hand, and interpretable AI, on the other.

• Submit a sample of program code that you have written, either in C#. NET or in Python. If you have no such sample, then write program code for some simple application, and submit it. Focus on clarity and style, rather than performance.

Use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. 

Application deadline: December 1, 2022

For questions, please contact:

Professor Mattias Wahde, VEAS, Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2)


*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. *** 


Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!

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