UK: Marie Curie PhD studentship at Plymouth University

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Be part of a 26-person strong team of PhD students to study the link between creativity and cognition. CogNovo is an Innovative Doctoral Programme, funded by the EU Marie Curie initiative and Plymouth University, to foster research training in the emerging field of Cognitive Innovation.
Implement enhancements to state-of-the-art curiosity driven algorithms on a robotic platform, to explore the contributions creativity can make to artificial system cognition.
An alternative approach to furthering understanding of the relationships between creativity and cognition is by trying to build artificial cognitive systems. Cognitive roboticists have long been interested in how a sense of curiosity can drive exploration and learning during development. Artificial curiosity has been implemented on robots to guide learning by steering the robot’s exploratory behaviour to unknown but possibly rewarding areas of its environment. In nature, intrinsic curiosity has been shown to be essential for scaffolding cognition: it is observed in most mammals and is prominent in the human species.
Creativity goes beyond curiosity, as it allows the active construction of solutions to problems, where curiosity merely supports exploration of the environment without actively shaping it. At the same time, creative processes can be used as a window into cognition: Art allows us to understand human perceptual and cognitive processes. Creative acts are observed at a young age and this project will explore if and how the development of creativity can be replicated on an artificial system, such as a robot.

Planned secondments:
Sony Computer Science Labs, Paris, France (10 months : Robot creativity experiments); Humboldt University, Germany (2 months: Ethological studies in creativity)

Essential skills:
Degree in computer science, robotics, or cognitive science (BSc, MSc preferred). Excellent programming skills (in for example C++ or Python). Strong motivation for research in robotics and cognitive science. Communication skills, both to an academic audience as well as to a lay audience. Team player

Desirable skills:
Demonstrated research engagement, through for example publications or collaborative work with a research team.

Honours first degree (minimum upper second) or equivalent in the or related fields. Candidates who also have a Master’s degree in these fields are especially desirable.

For an informal: chat about the position, feel free to contact Tony Belpaeme (
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