Early Stage Researcher (PhD student) in AI for Language Learning  (Collaboration between Sponge and the University of Manchester) 


An Early Stage Researcher (ESR) is required for a period of up to 31 months to work on the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network on “Early Language Development in the Digital Age” (eLADDA).  

This ESR candidate will be hired by Sponge (leading company in digital learning solutions, based in Glasgow, UK: https://spongelearning.com) and enroll for a PhD at the University of Manchester. The topic of the project is on Mobile Application for Language Learning, using AI and augmented reality methods (See ESR12 project in https://www.ntnu.edu/e-ladda). This will be part of the collaboration between Sponge, the University of Manchester, and the ELADDA consortium. The ESR’s salary is based on the standard H2020 living and mobility allowance rates. The project will cover the PhD fees up to the rate for UK/EU students.

Special H2020 ESR requirements apply: i.e. at the time of recruitment by Sponge, the ESR must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. The ESR must be in the first four years of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.

Expected start date is April 2021 (or as soon as possible after this date, subject to negotiation).

Informal enquiries regarding the post, the project or the research details can be made via jobs@spongelearning.com  or to Prof Angelo Cangelosi (angelo.cangelosi@manchester.ac.uk).

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • To undertake high quality research in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality.
  • To keep up to date with the latest developments and research literature in the field.
  • To collaborate with Sponge colleagues and other researchers in the project.
  • To train in areas relevant to the ELADDA research programme and submit a PhD.
  • To attend and contribute to the workshops and secondments specified in the programme.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience:



  • 2:1 UK Honours degree, or a Master degree, in a discipline directly relevant to the PhD
  • Excellent programming skills
  • Good working knowledge of spoken and written English


  • Knowledge of educational mobile applications and/or machine learning research skills.
  • A Master's degree or equivalent in the relevant area
  • Project-specific or work experience in AI and AR.



  • Strong interpersonal skills and working collaboratively in a team.
  • Self-motivated and work on own initiative.
  • Good writing and presenting skills.
  • Ability to plan, design and develop mobile applications.
  • Strong problem-solving skills.



  • Relevant experience in in Computer science, Artificial Intelligence or allied disciplines
  • Able to demonstrate examples of project carried out in this field
  • Proven ability to deliver quality outputs in a timely and efficient manner


  • An interest in advancing knowledge in how children learn
  • Writing reports or research papers

 Job Features

  • Dimensions
  • Collaborate and interact with colleagues in teams in Glasgow and Plymouth UK
  • Collaborate and interact with members of the European consortium, in particular via secondments with consortium partners
  • Attend and contribute to consortium workshops.
  • Assist in the transfer of skills to other members of the consortium and Sponge colleagues

 Planning and Organising

  • Plan, design and organise programs in consultation with your supervisor.
  • Clearly summarise, interpret and analyse outcomes of experiments and suggest further plans and new directions.
  • Keep accurate and organised records of work.

Salary and further info

• Salary - £35,000 - £45,000 per annum
• Researchers will receive an additional mobility allowance and, depending on personal circumstances, and a family allowance
• This post is fixed term for 3 years

Applications - Please apply via the job link.


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