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Philips Marie Curie PhD PHILHUMANS ESR 2: Conversational AI for automated digital health counseling in Eindhoven, Netherlands


In this role, you have the opportunity to

Obtain your Doctoral degree by carrying out industrial research, enlarging relevant knowledge and bringing-in new knowledge regarding advanced machine learning algorithms combining both knowledge-driven and data driven approaches for conversational AI in healthcare applications.

The offered position is part of an international and interdisciplinary project, called PHILHUMANS at , which provide Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowship to 8 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). More specifically, the PHILHUMANS at research program will investigate novel AI methods for human-machine interaction in the personal health domain through a well-designed and well-structured research training program.

As ESR2, you will spend most of the time at Philips Research, Eindhoven, but will be promoted to the PhD degree in the Computer Science program at the University of Cagliari, Italy. As such, you are expected to spend about 10% of your time at the University of Cagliari in direct supervision of Prof. Riboni and Prof Reforgiato.

Before applying please read the Marie Curie Fellowship conditions below:

The Marie Curie Fellowship is directed at European organizations in need of developing new areas of competence. The Marie Curie funding is available for researchers that move, both within Europe and globally.

The following criteria apply:

  • Applicants must be, at the time of recruitment by the host organization, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is envisaged.

  • At the time of appointment, the applicant may not have resided or carried out her/his main activity in the country of the hosting partner (The Netherlands) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to her/his appointment.

  • Please be aware that for this position travelling is involved and working at the following two locations is required: Philips Research, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and at University of Cagliari, Italy.

The end goal of the developed technology

The goal of the offered thesis is to design and implement a conversational agent that can act as an automated therapeutic assistant based on best practices in human-human health communication. The agent’s goal would be to deliver automated behavior change counselling interventions for a particular health problem such as smoking cessation to help promote the user’s health status and prevent adverse consequences of their status quo. The agent can be linked to other interaction interfaces beyond speech to enhance the intervention content and tailor it to the user’s lifestyle, feelings, preferences and context. Examples of such additional interfaces are context-acquisition sensors (wearable physiological/ activity sensors, cameras, environmental sensors)

Key research objectives:

  • Identify key features in the user’s interaction (speech and beyond), conversation flow and common topics relevant for driving a health counselling dialogue conversation in a particular direction;

  • Implement a hybrid (data and knowledge driven) system for conversation management;

  • Develop a learning system that adapts and optimizes the conversational logic based on the conversational data with the user over time;

  • Test the therapeutic agent in real application cases (with volunteers/patients);

You are a part of

Philips Research at is a global organization that helps Philips to introduce meaningful innovations that improve people’s lives. We provide technology options for innovations in the area of health and well-being, targeted at both developed and emerging markets. Positioned at the front-end of the innovation process, we work on everything from spotting trends and ideation to proof of concept and – where needed – first-of-a-kind product development.

To succeed in this role, you should have the following skills and experience

  • You have a M.Sc. degree in computer science;

  • You have knowledge of machine learning algorithms, knowledge representation and reasoning

  • Programming skills (e.g. Java, Python)

  • Interest in applications in human-system interaction, persuasive technologies and health services

  • You are enthusiastic about pursuing your research career in a project with an industrial partner

  • You have experience with carrying out an individual research project in a multidisciplinary and international team is a plus

In return, we offer you

A 3 years doctoral position and welcome you to a challenging, innovative environment with great opportunities for you to explore.

Why should you join Philips?

Working at Philips is more than a job. It’s a calling to create a healthier society through meaningful work, focused on improving 3 billion lives a year by delivering innovative solutions across the health continuum at . Our people experience a variety of unexpected moments when their lives and careers come together in meaningful ways.

To find out more about what it’s like working for Philips at a personal level, visit the Working at Philips page at on our career website, where you can read stories from our employee blog at . Once there, you can also learn about our recruitment process at , or find answers to some of the frequently asked questions at .

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