Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Early Stage Researcher position available at Aston University, Birmingham, UK in H2021 EID project MENTOR - Machine LEarning in optical NeTwORks (ESR1)

    Aston University
    Computer science
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    30/04/2021 23:00 - Europe/Athens
    United Kingdom › Birmingham
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


Aston University, Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT), is seeking candidates for a prestigious Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position to join the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Industrial Doctorate Network project MENTOR.

Project title associated with the position: Complexity reduction and data augmentation for deep machine learning-based optical transmission systems.

Location: Aston University, Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT), Birmingham, UK, with 50% of the study and research period to be spent with the project industrial partner Infinera (Portugal) and Telecom Italia.

Working time: Full time (36.5 hours per week)

Duration: Fixed-Term (3 years)

Starting: Summer 2021 or soon thereafter

Salary: Up to £39,500 pa, in accordance with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions rules.

The successful candidate will be enrolled in AIPT for a PhD study. This MENTOR position includes a Fully Funded PhD Studentships, i.e., a fee bursary to fully PhD tuition fees

Apply: https://jobs.aston.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=R210068

Project description

MENTOR - Machine LEarning in optical NeTwORks

The project will address the pitfalls in the application of deep machine learning-based tools to the optical communications systems: overfilling and overconfidence, high complexity of the signal processing by the deep artificial neural networks device, high complexity of the training stage, generalizability property. We will study both the architectures of individual channel impairments equalizers (positioned either at the receiver or at the transmitter sides) and the end-to-end deep machine learning systems. The successful candidate will work at developing and optimising various designs of deep machine learning-based devises (autonomous agents) and systems (both physics-inspired and black-box solutions) aiming at recovering the information transmitted over the optical channel, to achieve the best performance in terms of processing quality, complexity, and device’s memory requirements. It is planned that the study will cover versatile designs of deep neural networks, rending from multilayer perceptrons to transformers and variational autoencoders. The new system designs will be studied, first, theoretically, and, then, validated and investigated experimentally using both the facilities of the project industrial partners and AIPT own experimental facilities.

The expected results of this research are:

• New designs of practically implementable neural network-bed optical signal equalizers with the reduced complexity and memory requirements, where the structure should be able to generalise from simulations to experimental data.

• Testing and experimental validation of the developed systems.

The multi-national & multi-interdisciplinary MENTOR project provides the doctoral training for PhD students through industry-oriented research, the skyrocketing area of immense practical relevance and importance. MENTOR involves leading UK and EU universities, two global operator and one of the most innovative vendors. This will lead to development of novel practically implementable “clever” disruptive techniques for fibre-optic communications.


MENTOR is a European Industrial Doctorate (EID) consortium of high profile partners in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and Germany, including academic partners: Aston University, Technical University of Denmark, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, as well as industrial partners: Infinera (Germany and Portugal), Orange Labs, and Telecom Italia. It is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN).

Within MENTOR doctoral training will be provided to six Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to design the next generation of high-capacity optical networks. MENTOR aims to bring this exciting new approach into commercial application with the help of its world leading industry partner, Infinera, and two global operators, Orange and Telecom Italia, where successful applicants will spent 18 months of their appointment.

Project description on CORDIS: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/956713


More Information



The successful candidates will be employed on a full-time basis with a highly competitive salary of up to £39,500 pa in accordance with the MSCA rules and the personal circumstances of the applicant. The successful candidate will receive a financial package consisting of MSCA living allowance and mobility allowance. Eligible applicants with a family will also receive an additional family allowance according to the rules of the MSCA. The exact (net) salary will be confirmed upon appointment and will depend on a Host Institution's local tax regulations.


Family-friendly working conditions

Female applicants and applicants wishing to return to research after a period of absence are especially encouraged to apply. Local adverts will detail family-friendly working conditions such as childcare facilities if available.

Eligibility criteria

MSCA Eligibility

Applicants must at the first day of their MENTOR employment contract, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. This research experience is measured FROM the date when they obtain the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged). Research Experience is measured TO the first day of the employment contract of the researcher.


MSCA Mobility:

At the core of the MSCA-ITNs is researcher mobility. At the time of commencing their employment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their (recruiting) host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

Usual MSCA Eligibility Criteria apply and will be verified during the application process. For further information on MSCA, please see: http://ec.europa.eu/mariecurieactions.

Selection process

Selection process

The general guidance for applicants: The ESR positions will also be advertised locally at the respective institutions and local recruitment sites. These local/individual advertisements will have further details including local PhD admission criteria and application deadlines.

To apply, please send your CV, a cover letter and supporting documents by email to the main supervisor of the position Yaroslav Prylepskiy y.prylepskiy1@aston.ac.uk  or to the project coordinator, Sergei Turitsyn   s.k.turitsyn@aston.ac.uk

Apply: https://jobs.aston.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=R210068

Additional comments

PhD tuition fee:

The MENTOR Fellowship includes a bursary to cover PhD tuition fees.


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 956713.

Offer Requirements

    ENGLISH: Excellent


  • MENTOR is looking for candidates with exceptional skills and grades in engineering and/or physics/or computer science, with the knowledge of machine learning and/or some expertise in the areas related to nonlinear optics and photonics, or electrical engineering. Preferred skill requirements include experience in scientific programming and computing, communications and information theory, multiplexing, optical communication subsystems and components. Knowledge of linear algebra, mathematical physics, and numerical analysis are an asset. The candidate will have a strong drive to carry out the cutting edge research for a doctoral degree.
  • Programming skills (Python/MATLAB)
  • Analytical skills in the areas of optimization, statistics, and/or machine learning
  • English Language: Excellent. ESR must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficient for them to derive the full benefits of the network training.
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills and ability to work in an international team.
  • Autonomous working, results oriented and excellent team player.
  • Applicants must comply with the usual MSCA eligibility and mobility rules.
  • All applicants MUST be within their first 4 years of research experience.
  • Applicants can not have lived in the UK for more than 12 month in 3 years prior to their appointment.

Map Information

Job Work Location Personal Assistance locations
Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Aston University
United Kingdom

EURAXESS offer ID: 595526


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