UK: Open position for Research Assistant in Usable Interface Development for Semantic Web Technologi

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BRIEF OUTLINE: The post holder will work within the Intelligent Web Tech Lab. The work will concern the definition of new and cutting edge methodologies and technologies for accessing, visualising and manipulating knowledge in large scale environments, within a web environment and on the user desktop. The post is associated to the Integrated Project X-Media (, one of the largest projects funded by the European Union as part of Framework 6, Knowledge and Content Technologies.

X-Media concerns large scale knowledge management across media and it is coordinated by the University of Sheffield, Professor Fabio Ciravegna. The post holder will participate in the X-Media project, studying, designing, implementing and evaluating interactive interfaces for accessing information in very large heterogeneous and distributed repositories. Research is carried out in both Sheffield University and at industrial partners’ premises where the developed applications will be used daily in real world environments.

Applicants must have at least a good first degree (or equivalent) in computer science and a sound understanding of user-centred interface design.

This post is available for one and a half years, with the possibility of extension subject to funding.

REPORT TO: The X-Media Area 1 (Knowledge Sharing and Reuse) coordinator Dr
Daniela Petrelli and the Area 4 (Applications and Testing) coordinator Dr Aba-Sah Dadzie. The post is required to report to both coordinators in individual and/or common meetings.

Main Activities & Responsibilities:
•Design and implement interactions and interfaces for accessing knowledge and information in a very large collection of multimedia documents (texts, images and data);
•Design and implement individual software components;
•Supervise and manage the use of the implemented prototype in real world conditions, i.e., aerospace and automotive industry;
•Contribute to project deliverables and scientific papers;
•Contribute to preparing presentations to disseminate research findings at national / international conferences.
•Plan and prioritise own daily work;
•Deal on a daily basis with reactive requests emerging from communication with team members;
•Continuously monitor and check results. The unpredictability of research means that daily planning needs to accommodate new developments;
•Respect of deadlines is mandatory.
PERSON SPECIFICATION (E: Essential, D: Desirable)

Applicants should demonstrate evidence of the following:

Qualifications and Experience
•A good first degree in Computer Science/Web Technology (or equivalent)  (E)
•Completion of an M.Sc. and/or working toward a PhD in Computer Science/Web Technology (or equivalent) (E)  
•Excellent knowledge of web-related languages and standards (e.g. PHP, P2P, JSP, Servlets, AJAX, JavaScript, XML, XHTML, CSS, XSLT, RDF, SVG, Xforms, HTTP, WSDL, SOAP) (E)
•Experience  with RDF query languages (e.g. SPARQL, SERQL) (D)
•Experience in web design and user interface development (E – a portfolio of examples would be appreciated).
•Good knowledge of web design tools (e.g. Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop) (E).
•Excellent programming skills in Java and JSP (E).
•Knowledge of database systems (e.g. MySQL or similar) and (D)
•Sound understanding of Human-Computer Interaction, including experience in user studies and/or user evaluations (a plus)
•Good understanding of Semantic Web principles

Communication skills
•Excellent interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to work in a group and participating in project meetings actively (E)

INFORMAL ENQUIRIES:  For an informal discussion about this post, please contact Professor Fabio Ciravegna (tel: 0114 2221940; email:

FURTHER INFORMATION: The post is available full-time and is tenable until end of the project (February 2010)

SALARY: according to experience, but expected in the range of £22,332- 25,888
In addition to competitive pay and generous holiday entitlements, our staff enjoy access to:

•final salary pension scheme
•corporate Childcare Vouchers scheme
•Home Computing Initiative scheme:
•special staff rates for S10 Health membership:
•outstanding sports and recreational facilities.

CLOSING DATE: 15th of September 2008.

INTERVIEW DATE: 29th of September 2008

STARING DATE: as soon as possible thereafter, possibly by October 2008

How to apply: See

Informal enquiries can be sent to:

Prof. Fabio Ciravegna,
Professor of Language and Knowledge Technologies
Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield,
Regent Court, 211 Portobello, S1 4DP, Sheffield, UK
Tel:+44(0)114-22.21940, Fax:+44(0)114-22.21810

Prof. Fabio Ciravegna
Professor of Language and Knowledge Technologies
Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield,
Regent Court, 211 Portobello Street, S1 4DP, Sheffield, UK
Tel:+44(0)114-22.21940, Fax:+44(0)114-22.21810

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