PhD Fellow in Human-Computer Interaction and Social Robotics
University of Copenhagen Department of Computer Science

PhD fellow in Human-Computer Interaction and Social Robotics

Department of Computer Science
Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen

Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in Human-Computer Interaction, Haptics, and/or Social Robotics commencing 01.06.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The position offers an opportunity to join a globally recognized, highly collaborative group of international researchers working at the forefront of Human-Centered Computing. We are located in Copenhagen, consistently recognized as one of the world’s most-livable cities, in the country of Denmark, ranked as one of the top three happiest countries in the world. Our section aspires to be a top research environment for human-computer interaction that bridges technology, theory, and empirical studies. We are currently seven faculty (Daniel Ashbrook, Joanna Bergström, Pernille Bjørn, Kasper Hornbæk, Søren Kyllingsbæk, Hasti Seifi, Irina Shklovski).

Project description

The PhD fellow will work at the intersection of human-computer interaction, programmable touch sensory (haptic) feedback, and/or social robotics. Advances in haptics and social robotics have enable us to communicate information and emotions through our sense of touch. Our touch gestures are increasingly recognized by computers and robots, and the list of haptic devices that can provide perceptible touch sensations is growing. Yet, little work is done on cognitive and social aspects of haptic technologies and creating and evaluating meaningful user experiences with them. We seek to hire a PhD student to work on touch perception and experience design for human-human and/or human-robot interaction scenarios. Within this broad scope, the PhD student will have freedom to shape the work and define the focus together with the supervisors.

The supervisors are Assistant Professor Hasti Seifi, and Professor Kasper Hornbæk, at Department of Computer Science. Please contact Hasti Seifi at  with enquires.

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period for applicants with a master’s degree and a 5-year period for applicants with a bachelor’s degree. Your key responsibilities as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements

The requirements for the position are as follows:

  • For integrated MSc and PhD scheme (see below), a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Human–computer Interaction, Psychology, Cognitive Science, Physiology, Biomechanics, Computer and Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or related fields 
  • For the PhD scheme, a master’s degree in Computer Science, Human–computer Interaction, Psychology, Cognitive Science, Physiology, Biomechanics, Computer and Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or related fields
  • Knowledge or skills in human-computer interaction or human-robot interactionFamiliarity with haptic technology, haptic interaction design, and/or haptic perception
  • Familiarity with sensing technology and/or virtual reality technology is a plus.
  • Strong programming skills 
  • Proficiency in English, both in speaking and writing.

Additionally, candidates need to stand out in at least one of the following key criteria of excellence used for the assessment:

  • Grades that document an outstanding academic record
  • Scientific publication(s) in recognized, peer-reviewed venues
  • Awards and honors
  • Professional qualifications and work experience

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 330,284 (approx. €44,000) including annual supplement (+ pension at a minimum DKK 53,674). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Integrated MSc and PhD Scheme

The position is also available for candidates who are (or are eligible to be) enrolled at one of the faculty’s master programmes in Computer Science. The duration of the integrated programme depends on the amount of credits that you have passed on your MSc programme. For further information about the study programme please see:  “Study Structures”.

Scholarship and terms of employmentf or integrated MSc and PhD PhD grant portions (Ph.D.‐SU klip)

In the period up to the completion of the MSc programme (up to three years), the student is entitled to so-called PhD grant portions. The grant portions are financed by the grant donor but not by the Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme Agency (as is the case for the ordinary study grant portions on the BSc and MSc programmes). They are called PhD grant portions because this kind of remuneration is regulated and described in the Executive Order on the State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme in Denmark (SU‐bekendtgørelsen), and because the value of a PhD grant portion corresponds to the value of an ordinary Danish study grant portion. Students are awarded 48 PhD grant portions during the period of their MSc and PhD studies.48 PhD grant portions at DKK 6,321 each, corresponding to DKK 303,408 (approx. €40,450).

'Duty work'

As a supplement to the PhD grant portions, the student may, in accordance with the collective agreement of the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC), be offered 'duty work'. In the period up to the completion of the MSc programme, students performing 'duty work' are paid by the hour. UCPH has decided to offer students on integrated MSc and PhD schemes 150 hours of 'duty work' per year during Part A of the programme (until two years of the combined programme of study remain). 'Duty work' during Part A if it has a duration of three years: 450 hours at a rate of DKK 219.23 (+ 12.5% holiday pay), corresponding to DKK 110,984 (approx. €14,790)For further information about Part A please see:

Salary in accordance with the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of ProfessionalAssociations (AC)

In the period after the completion of the MSc programme, the student is employed as a PhD scholar and is remunerated in accordance with the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The scheme is arranged in such a way that students graduate from the MSc programme at a time when there are two years left of the integrated programme. For this reason, the salary must be paid for a period of two years in accordance with the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The amounts specified include a supplement locally agreed upon as well as pension contributions: Salary as a PhD scholar: 24 months at a rate of DKK 31,996 (including pension contributions and supplement), corresponding to DKK 767,918 (approx. €102,380).

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include 

  • Cover Letter stating your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project
  • Curriculum Vita (CV) 
  • Diploma (bachelor’s and if applicable master’s)
  • Assessment of master thesis (if applicable)
  • Transcripts of grades (bachelor’s and if applicable master’s), documenting an outstanding academic record. The grades should be understandable in English and the candidate must include information about the grading scale.
  • Acceptance letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)
  • If applicable, PDFs of up to three scientific publications that you have co-authored.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 15th of April 2021, 23:59 GMT +1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Dr. Hasti Seifi,Department of Computer Science, 

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 15-04-2021
Employment start: 01-06-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Computer Science

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