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PhD WDAqua Scholarship
France / Germany / Greece / UK

Scholarship / Financial aid: monthly salary (including social security, before taxes) of 3,110 €

Date: 3 years

Deadline: February 2015

Open to: international applicants

Announcement follows

Essential Facts
PhD students in WDAqua will spend 3 years working at one of 6 research institutions in Europe (France, Germany, Greece, UK), will participate in an outstanding web science and data science training programme, and will have the chance to visit other of these organisations plus further application partners. The gross monthly salary (including social security, before taxes) is 3,110 € (adjusted depending on the country of employment) plus a mobility allowance of 600 €/month and, if applicable, a family allowance of 500 €/month.


§ 21 January 2015: information event in Bonn, Germany (exact schedule to be announced)
§ February 2015: application deadline (for exact dates, see the partners’ specific job postings)
§ March 2015: first job offers made to successful applicants
§ July 2015–June 2018: typical duration of a PhD in WDAqua


Smart infrastructures and citizens’ participation in the digital society are increasingly data-driven. Sharing, connecting, managing, analysing and understanding data on the Web will enable better services for citizens, communities and industry. However, turning web data into successful services for the public and private sector requires skilled web and data scientists, and it still requires further research. WDAqua aims at advancing the state of the art by intertwining training, research and innovation efforts, centred around data-driven question answering. Question answering is immediately useful to a wide audience of end users, and we will demonstrate this in settings including e-commerce, public sector information, publishing and smart cities. Steps to answering a question are (1) understanding a spoken question, (2) analysing the question’s text, (3) finding data to answer the question, and (4) presenting the answer(s). Every individual research project in WDAqua connects at least two of these steps.

Partners and Projects

University of Bonn, Germany
Department: Enterprise Information Systems
3 positions (one of them with a dual degree with Saint-Étienne)
Topics: linked data publishing, data quality assessment, data cleaning, federated queries

University of Athens, Greece
Department of Informatics and Telecommunications
2 positions
Topics: dataset alignment and merging, user interaction, interactive disambiguation

Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne, France
Department: Laboratoire Hubert Curien
3 positions (two of them with dual degrees with the University of Bonn)
Topics: provenance, trust, link discovery, data dynamicity and evolution, named entity recognition, disambiguation, reasoning

Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS), Germany
Departments: Organized Knowledge, NetMedia, Knowledge Discovery
2 positions (PhD awarded by the University of Bonn, one position with a dual degree with Saint-Étienne)
Topics: cloud computing, plugin architecture, voice input, natural language processing

University of Southampton, UK
Department: Web and Internet Science Research Group
3 positions (job posting)
Topics: visualisation, verbalisation, natural language synthesis, interaction flows, information discovery

Open Data Institute, UK
2 positions (PhD awarded by the University of Southampton)
Topics: visualisation, verbalisation, data licensing, pricing of services, privacy

Partner organisations (where PhD students may spend secondments):

Antidot, France
ATC Innovation Lab, Greece
Data Publica, France
Fundacio Barcelona Media/Yahoo Labs, Spain
Unister Research & Development, Germany
Wolters Kluwer Strategy and Innovation, Germany

How to apply

The individual project partners make individual, specific job postings (linked above as soon as available). Candidates apply for individual jobs, with individual organisations, as listed above.

The ideal candidate must not have resided for more than 12 months in the country of their employment in the 3 years before starting to work (for full details, please check this document for the “mobility rule”). He or she holds a degree in computer science or a related field and is able to combine theory and practice in her/his work. Fluent English communication and a passion for developing modern software solutions (e.g. in Java/Scala, JavaScript) are fundamental requirements. Command of the language of the country of employment is a plus but not required. The candidate should have experience and commitment to work in teams and on the forefront of research in one of the following fields:

§ semantic web technologies and linked data
§ knowledge representations and ontology engineering
§ software engineering and modern application development
§ database technologies and data integration
§ HCI and user interface design for Web content
§ data analytics

Application deadlines will be in February; each organisation will define a specific date in their job postings. You will need to submit a CV, university transcripts, a motivation letter including a short research plan targeted to the topics of the respective partner, two letters of recommendation and English writing sample (e.g. prior publication or master thesis excerpt). The individual organisations will announce specific requirements and guidelines.


The information event on 21 January is a good opportunity to ask questions. You may also, at any time, email or phone
Christoph Lange (WDAqua assistant coordinator), Phone +49 2241 14-2428


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