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Funded Early Stage Researcher within GECKO MSCA-ITN project in Explainable AI (#6)

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    University of Siegen
    Computer scienceSystems design
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    16/04/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Germany › Siegen
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


The University of Siegen is looking for an Early Stage Researcher to work on the topic:

Using computational and explainable machine learning methods to support end consumers to renovate domestic infrastructure

The University of Siegen is a modern university with an international orientation and a focus on interdisciplinary research. It currently has around 18,000 students and covers a range of research fields from the humanities, social and economic sciences to natural sciences, engineering and life sciences. With over 2,000 employees, the university is one of the largest employers in the region and offers a unique environment for teaching, study, research and knowledge transfer.

The applicant will be part of the growing, diverse and interdisciplinary research group on consumer informatics with several PhDs and PostDocs headed by Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens at Faculty III of Economic Disciplines. The group is conducting methodologically guided investigations and designs of information and communication technologies to support the household economies and everyday practices of consumers as well as their appropriation and social embedding. Typical fields of research in the area of consumer informatics cover classic consumer fields such as mobility, food and energy, but also e.g. data protection and sustainable lifestyles as cross-cutting issues.

The Project

This PhD is funded as part of an EU PhD training network called ‘GECKO’ – see https://gecko-project.eu. GECKO’s aim is to explore the use of responsible and inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) systems to address urgent environmental problems that require a deep understanding of how people interact with technology as part of their daily lives. The successful applicant will be an integral member of a 15 strong cohort of Early Stage Researchers in GECKO working towards their PhDs. The full cohort will benefit from a range of joint training and supervision from senior Faculty members in all 9 academic research institutions as well as industry organizations which make up the GECKO network.

Smart technology is everywhere – in our homes, pockets, and networks. Is smarter use of energy essential for low-carbon energy systems of the future? Or is smartness just a buzzword for new gadgets that require ever-more energy and worsen the digital divide? Smart technology is a mass of hopes, fears, and contradictions.

This PhD offers a unique opportunity to untangle relations between smart energy, technologies and people, supported by a major new EU-wide PhD training network. This interdisciplinary ‘GECKO’ network connects leading social, computer and data scientists working on smart technology, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, energy, climate change, and responsible innovation.

Research Agenda

The successful applicant will tackle on the research question: How to conduct explorative design research and design ART AI to steer sustainable technology appropriation?

The objectives of this PhD project are:

  1. To study decision processes of end-consumers with regard to planning and taking eco-friendly investments;
  2. To identify and develop pro-environmental investment costs models for the domestic context that takes end-users demands and mental models into account;
  3. Develop explainable ML models using smart home sensors and load monitoring techniques to identify inefficient appliances and potentials for renovation
  4. Using external data provided by manufacturers, retailers, and service providers to calculate/predict costs and expected savings of renewing/renovating measures and creation of test data (e.g., based on load profiles) and validation of the model with the respective datasets;
  5. Participatory development of a decision-support and recommendation system with living lab households;
  6. Evaluation of the usability and quality of the recommendation system;
  7. Continuous validation and comparison of the findings and recommendations with low-energy household targets from the EU.

The supervisors welcome discussions around these and related themes, so the successful applicant can shape their PhD research in line with their own interests, while maximizing the benefit of the training and skills-development opportunities of the GECKO network.

Your Tasks

  • Make scientific contributions in the abovementioned research areas,
  • Plan, conduct and evaluate qualitative research,
  • Engage in co-design processes with users in the real world,
  • Perform secondments to other institutions (University of Strathclyde, Intracom SA Telecom Solutions),
  • Active communication and dissemination of work and experience as an ESR via official GECKO media channels.

Our Offer

The successful applicant will benefit from:

  • 3 years full time employment at university of Siegen;
  • Employers gross salary of Living Allowance (3.171,90 Euro), Mobility Allowance (600,- Euro), family allowance (500,- Euro, if applicable);
  • A wealth of training opportunities,
  • National and international secondments:
  • Intensive summer/winter schools,
  • Being part of a cohort of 15 PhDs networked across Europe:
  • Having access to a substantial research budget to fund fieldwork, training, data collection, software licences, conference attendance, publications, tuition fees and other research expenses;
  • Being part of a young, excellent team of researchers;
  • Academic supervision by Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens and Prof. Dr. Volker Wulf.

Please also note:

  • For the University of Siegen, diversity is an important strategic goal: we actively advocate equal opportunities and diversity.
  • We practice a family-friendly culture: we know that sometimes family life takes precedence. We provide emergency care, life coaching, holiday care and consulting services for home and eldercare.
  • We support a healthy work-life balance by flexible working hours.

In case of identical qualifications preference will be given to severely disabled candidates.

We would like to point out that the chosen job title also includes the third gender.

The University emphasises gender-independent professional equality.

Applications can only be accepted via the official portal https://jobs.uni-siegen.de. We are sorry to inform you that we cannot accept applications sent via email.

More Information

Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent

Specific Requirements

  • All applicants should have a good Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Information Systems, HCI, Computer Science, or related fields.
  • Applicants should have experience in user research and user experience design.
  • Applicants must be in the first 4 years from the award from their MSc (or similar) degree and be willing to enroll in a PhD program under supervision of University of Siegen.
  • At the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the recruitment date.


Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Siegen
Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2a

Open, Transparent, Merit based Recruitment procedures of Researchers (OTM-R)

Know more about it at University of Siegen

Know more about OTM-R

EURAXESS offer ID: 617065


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