Open Early Stage Researcher/PhD Position Warsaw University of Technology – WUT (Poland), Poland for the NL4XAI project

Reference number: NL4XAI- ESR8

PhD research topic: Customized interactive argumentation schemes for XAI

Objectives: To define, design, develop and validate a new methodology for argumentation schemes tailored for planning and handling the discourse history in interactive conversational agents aimed at explaining AI in NL. The customization will be achieved through the creation of a profile of the user and then adaptation of argumentation to match this profile. This will involve both the analysis and the representation of the use of argumentation in natural communication in the specific genre, and the application of Budzynska’s previous pioneering work on ethotic strategies in NL, i.e., on the communicative behaviour dependent on the character of the speaker.

Main challenges are:

  • modelling context and common ground;
  • dealing with reference expressions;
  • implicit knowledge and embedded testimony;
  • empowering the conversational agent with credibility.

Theoretical contributions will be validated in two use cases:

  1. explaining decision trees to non-expert users (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela- USC); and
  2. a real use case defined in an inter-sectoral secondment (Accenture).

Expected Results:

  1. Understanding of the state of the art in relevant aspects of argumentation theory and dialogue systems for XAI.
  2. Analysis SWOT of existing argumentation schemes and their extensions (including ethotic extensions) for conversational agents.
  3. Definition and implementation of a new protocol for handling profiles of users and the discourse history with explanation purposes.
  4. Validation of this protocol in two use cases.

Host institution: Warsaw University of Technology – WUT (Poland)

PhD Enrolment: Warsaw University of Technology – WUT (Poland)

Politechnika Warszawska (Warsaw University of Technology, WUT) is a technical research university with traditions in education dating back to the nineteenth century. It is a forward-thinking institution where high-quality education meets world-class research and innovation. WUT is ranked number one among all technical universities in Poland.

Secondments: The ESR will enjoy three secondments at the premises of two project’s members as detailed in the following table.


  • Main Supervisor: Dr Katarzyna Budzynska, Politechnika Warszawska – Warsaw University of Technology (WUT),
  • PhD Co-Supervisor: Dr. Jose M. Alonso, Centro Singular de Investigación en Tecnoloxías Intelixentes (CiTIUS) – Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC)

Inter-sectoral Secondment Supervisor:

  • Mr. R. Diñeiro, Accenture Technology

General requirements:

  • Mobility: At the time of recruitment, the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Poland for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to recruitment date. Time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention is not taken into account.
  • Career: When starting their contract (expected in October 2021), selected researchers should be within the first four years of his/her research careers and not have been awarded a doctoral degree prior to the application.
  • The candidate must be working exclusively for the action.

Specific requirements:

  • Degree: Master degree or equivalent providing access to PhD program. The candidate should have a degree in linguistics, computational linguistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, philosophy of language, philosophy of argumentation or related areas.
  • Programming skills: Programming experience is an advantage.
  • Language: Excellent command of English, together with good academic writing and presentation skills.

Desirable skills:

  • Background in communication and natural language in either computational, linguistic or philosophical settings would be beneficial.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Strong motivation to pursue a PhD degree.
  • Strong interest in interdisciplinary scientific work.

Estimated starting date: 1st October 2021 1st November 2021

Contract: Full-time contract

Duration: From the starting date till 30 September 2023, including 3 secondments at other consortium members’ premises (see the Secondments section above).

Further Information: Possibility of extending the contract until the end of the PhD, subject to availability of funding and to the fulfilment of objectives and quality of the results obtained by the PhD fellow.

Salary: EUR 2063.57 / month (on a monthly basis, i.e. with 12 payments per annum). This amount will be increased with the corresponding mobility allowance, and the family allowance depending on the family status of the  recruited researcher.

Application Documents:

  • Detailed CV in Europass format (template available in the following link) in English, highlighting the merits that are established as evaluation criteria;
  • Scans of BSc and/or MSc transcripts, with certified translation in English (if the degree qualification is not in English or in the language of the hosting country); 
  • A motivation letter in English, highlighting the consistency between the candidate profile and the chosen ESR position/s for which she/he is applying and describing why you wishes to be an NL4XAI ESR to carry out a PhD;
  • Contact details or recommendation letters of two referees in English or in certified translation;
  • Scanned copy of valid identification document;
  • Proof of excellent command of English. This is not required in case of native English speakers (i.e., English is your mother tongue).

In addition, you can add any other documents which you find relevant for the applications such as Master thesis, publications or project reports.

Evaluation criteria:

  • Academic background (up to 40 points)
  • Knowledge and specific achievements (up to 35 points)
  • Personal interview, only for candidates achieving a minimum of 55 points (up to 25 points)

Deadline: September 12, 2021, at 23h59 CEST (UCT + 02:00) September 30, 2021, at 23h59 CEST (UCT + 02:00)

Enquiries about research content must be sent to the main PhD supervisor, Prof. Katarzyna Budzynska, via email:  

Candidates are encouraged to contact the NL4XAI Project Manager ( for assistance or for any information related to the application process. When contacting, please indicate the position reference in the subject line.