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PhD position: Conversational Agents in Healthcares

The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

Job Information

Reykjavik University
Computer Science
Research Field
Computer science » Other
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

The Department of Computer Science at Reykjavik University is looking for one PhD student to conduct research on conversational agents in healthcare under the supervision of Dr. Stefán Ólafsson. Conversational agents are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, as witnessed by the widespread adoption of personal assistants, such as Alexa and Google Home. Additionally, embodied conversational agents – agents that have a virtual human or social robot embodiment – have been the subject of research for over two decades. With contemporary methods for natural language processing (NLP) and dialog management, such as large language models, artificial intelligence (AI) planning, and reinforcement learning, conversational agents are used increasingly in safety-critical domains, e.g., healthcare. 

Language technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, ushering in the ability to perform automatic clinical diagnoses, consultations driven by conversational agents, dictation, etc. Current state-of-the-art methods are typically data-driven and resource-hungry but have been successful at various tasks, including natural language understanding, question answering, and text generation. However, they may produce artifacts that contain biases, errors, and lapses in common sense, which can negatively affect usability, trust, and ultimately users' safety. Moreover, conversational agents that use current methods for dialog management and language generation, such as large language models, may come across as competent and trustworthy and therefore have the potential to cause users harm, particularly in safety-critical domains. This project aims to investigate conversational agents for use in healthcare, research dialog management methods that take advantage of state-of-the-art NLP, and study aspects of their performance, such as safety, trustworthiness, and information credibility.

The ideal candidate should be knowledgeable about AI and language technologies and be passionate about research. The position is at the Center for Analysis and Design of Intelligent Agents (CADIA) and the Language and Voice Lab (LVL) at Reykjavik University in Iceland. The supervisor and faculty at CADIA-LVL have extensive collaborations with researchers and companies in Iceland, the United States, and Europe, which may present opportunities for collaborations during the PhD.


Research Field
Computer science » Other
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent
  • Hold or be about to obtain an MSc degree in computer science, language technology, computational linguistics, natural language processing, engineering, or related fields
  • Have thorough knowledge of language technology and AI.
  • Appreciate the beauty of natural language.
  • Be self-organized with a strong ability to work independently and have a passion for research.
  • Be flexible, result-oriented, willing to learn, and to work in a dynamic environment.
  • Have a dynamic and communicative personality with high social competence.
  • Have a strong ability to communicate in English (oral and written).
Research Field
Computer science » Other

Additional Information


The position is for three years. The starting monthly salary is 412,000 ISK (approximately 2,760 €) per month before taxes. The successful candidate will spend 20% of their employment working as a teaching assistant in selected courses.

Selection process

Any questions regarding working in Iceland or about Reykjavik University should be sent to ( Questions regarding the research work may be sent to the project leader Dr. Stefán Ólafsson (

Applications are only accepted through the recruitment website. All applications and inquiries about the position are treated confidentially. Applications are confirmed by e-mail, and if the applicant is eligible for the job in question, the applicant will be contacted.

Please submit the following along with your application:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae with information about previous jobs, education, publications, contact information for two references, etc.
  • A cover letter where you introduce yourself and present your qualifications/experience/interests concerning the position.
  • Two letters of reference asserting your academic abilities.
  • A research proposal that describes what you want to do based on the description above (ca. two pages).
  • Attested copies of education certificates, including grade reports.
  • Bachelor and/or Master thesis.
  • A list of research publications, if any.
  • Links to software repositories with relevant projects, if any.
  • Please note that all applications will be answered once the selection process is finalized.
Additional comments

About Reykjavik University (RU)

Reykjavík University has around 3.700 students and 250 faculty and employees in addition to numerous adjunct faculty in two schools: Technology and Social Sciences. We offer a welcoming and stimulating environment in which to work and live. The University is centrally located in Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland.

The role of Reykjavik University is to create and disseminate knowledge to enhance the competitiveness and quality of life for individuals and society, guided by good ethics, sustainability and responsibility. Education and research at RU are based on strong ties with industry and society. We emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration, international relations, and entrepreneurship.

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Reykjavík University
Postal Code
Menntavegur 1


Menntavegur 1