Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

Research Position:

Note: This is a free translation of the original announcement written in Portuguese, provided only for convenience of non-Portuguese speakers. Only the Portuguese version has official value.
Research Grant - BI/Nº7 -02/02/2021 - MAIA
Funding Reference Number:
BI/Nº7 -02/02/2021 - MAIA
A research position for one Bolsa de Investigação para Mestre (1 BI) is opened at Instituto de Telecomunicações, in the scope of the Project MAIA – Multilingual AI Agents for Customer Service – Projeto Parceria Internacional CMU ref. 045909, funded by the applicable financial framework. The work for this position is in the area of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. The candidate should have a Master's degree and enrol in a PhD program. In the scope of the project may visit Carnegie Mellon University (a partner in the project).
Scientific Area:
Information and Data Sciences
Pattern and Image Analysis – Lx
Admission Requirements:
MSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Informatics, Data Science, Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering, Applied Mathematics, or equivalent scientific areas - Excellent academic and practical background in programming, machine learning, and natural language processing - The candidate should have good knowledge of written and spoken English, be self-motivated and show initiative in solving problems - Strong preference is given to candidates with immediate availability to initiate the work and sound knowledge of Python and Pytorch.
Work Objectives:
The goal of MAIA is to develop multilingual AI agents for customer support. The work done in this project will be developed at IT in collaboration with Unbabel, CMU, and INESC-ID. There are three tasks (related to Activity 3 in the project): - Develop new latent structured models for discrete data. These models should cope with discrete latent variables or generate discrete data. This will allow an efficient and compact representation of the context of the conversation, leading to compact and data-efficient models, with fewer parameters than current state-of-the-art neural network models for language generation. These models will be applied to machine translation and response generation. - Investigate methods based on sparse attention mechanisms to achieve explainability and return confidence scores about models' predictions. This will help human agents that work collaboratively with language generation systems, and, in machine translation, it will enable the use of active learning strategies to decide which data to request human translations for supervision. These methods will be used to incorporate conversational feedback and for conversational quality estimation. - Investigate methods for reducing the need for labeled data. These methods will leverage unlabeled data, such as monolingual text, which will used to pre-train parts of the network and help the target task via transfer learning. In addition, we will explore connections to the previous task by using latent variables to learn representations form the unlabeled data
Applicable legislation:
A fellowship will be celebrated according to the regulations defined by FCT, “Regulation of Instituto de Telecomunicações’ fellowships” and ” Estatuto do Bolseiro de Investigação”, according to Law no. 40/2004, dated August 18 (Status of Scientific Research Fellow), in its actual redaction, and also by Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia, I.P. Fellowship Regulation of Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia, I.P.
Place of work:
The work will be developed at the premises of Instituto de Telecomunicações at Lisbon, under the supervision of Professor André Martins.
12 months, eventually renewed in accordance FCT scholarship regulations.
Monthly salary:
1074.64 € (net), according to the table of grant amounts awarded directly by FCT for positions held in Portugal ( The payment will be made by bank transfer.
Selection criteria:
  • C1 (30%)
    Curriculum vitae/Academic performance
  • C2 (30%)
    Previous experience in the aforementioned areas
  • C3 (40%)
    Suitability of the candidates’ profile to the project

Each criteria, and the final classification F will be evaluated in a scale (0-20). The candidates will be ordered according to:
F = C1 x 30% + C2 x 30% + C3 x 40%
In case of a tie, the tied candidates will be ordered according to C1, then C2...
The Jury has the right to not admit any of the candidates that applied for this position whenever they consider that no candidate meets the minimum requirements for the position.
  • Prof. Mario Alexandre Teles de Figueiredo, Instituto Superior Técnico (President of the jury)
  • Prof. Ana Luisa Nobre Fred, Instituto Superior Técnico
  • Prof. Alexandra Sofia Martins de Carvalho, Instituto Superior Técnico
  • Prof. Hugo Humberto Plácido da Silva, Instituto de Telecomunicações Lisboa (Substitute)
Communication of the results:
Results will be published at the Instituto de Telecomunicações, at Lisbon. The selected candidate will be notified by email.
Required Documents:
Cover letter explaining the interest in the position;
Detailed Curriculum Vitae with transcripts;
Proof of registration and enrollment in a study cycle in the preferred areas

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If the selected candidate has a degree obtained outside Portugal, his degree must be certified in Portugal
For more information see:
Direcção-Geral do Ensino Superior (DGES):

All the selection process is conducted through the IT web portal. No actions outside this platform are valid.
Application Period:
17-02-2021 to 02-03-2021
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