Research Associate for Living, Breathing Virtual Worlds (V-EUPNEA) MRG

Career / Research Positions / Research Personnel / Research Associate for Living, Breathing Virtual Worlds (V-EUPNEA) MRG

Preferred Start Date: April 2021 or as soon thereafter
CYENS (formerly known as RISE) is a research centre of excellence in Nicosia, Cyprus. CYENS CoE is a significant investment supported by the European Commission, the Republic of Cyprus and its founding Partners, the Municipality of Nicosia, Max Planck Institute, University College London, the University of Cyprus, the Cyprus University of Technology and the Open University of Cyprus. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017 (Teaming Phase 2) under grant agreement No. 739578, as well as from the Cypriot Government, local and international partners, and other sponsors.
The Centre conducts excellent, internationally competitive scientific research in the areas of visual sciences, human factors and design, communication, and artificial intelligence delivered by high-calibre multidisciplinary research teams. CYENS engages in knowledge transfer and innovation activities aiming to bridge the gap between scientific research and STEM-led innovation and entrepreneurship.
The research focus of CYENS is on interactive media, smart systems, and emerging technologies. Interactive media have become an integral part of our lives, changing the way that information is conveyed to the user and the ways users interact with devices, with other people, and with the world around them. Smart systems have offered a novel way of producing automated solutions to hard problems for which the mere use of the human intellect is insufficient. Research in CYENS integrates the Visual Sciences, Human Factors & Design, and Communications & Artificial Intelligence, in a tight synergy that provides a unique interdisciplinary research perspective that emphasizes an “Inspired by Humans, Designed for Humans” philosophy. CYENS is designed to act as an integrator of academic research and industrial innovation, towards the sustainable fuelling of the scientific, technological, and economic growth of Cyprus and Europe.
The research focus of the V-EUPNEA MRG (from the Greek word “εύπνοια” which means to breath easily) is to breathe life to virtual worlds using Computer Animation techniques with emphasis on Virtual Humans and Crowds but also other animated entities such as animals and human transportation. Artists and users that design and populate virtual environments are of special interest to the group’s research; the team aims to develop new methods and tools to easily populate virtual environments with high quality animated characters that are interacting properly with their environments. These subjects are explored both in the context of individuals and groups/crowd. Several technologies such as motion capture, physically based animation, machine learning (e.g., reinforcement learning), computer vision and game engines are important in achieving the group goals.
The V-EUPNEA MRG is currently working on several research projects, including applied research and development for the film and video game industries. Some specific topics of interest include character animation, motion capture, character behavior, crowd simulation, sketch-based interfaces, and machine learning techniques for computer graphics/animation.
The successful candidate will have the opportunity to conduct both applied and fundamental research in the aforementioned areas; strong programming skills are important for this position. The position holder can also participate in the preparation of research proposals for funding, will work on project reports and deliverables, and travel abroad for dissemination activities. Furthermore, position holders should publish/present their research results in prestigious international conferences and journals and contribute to the research centre’s key performance indicators. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Panayiotis Charalambous, the team leader of the group.

Qualifications & essential requirements
  • Bachelor's degree and/or postgraduate degree in a relevant field (e.g., Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics) from an accredited institution.
  • Strong computer programming skills in at least one of the following languages: C/C++, C#, Java, Python.
  • Familiarity with at least one Game Engine (preferably Unreal Engine and/or Unity). The candidate should indicate if she/he knows other Game Engines (e.g., Godot).
  • Knowledge of Deep-learning and usage of one of the existing Deep-learning environments (e.g., Pytorch, Keras, Tensorflow, etc.) will be considered an advantage but is not required.
  • High-impact research publications on relevant topics (a requirement for PhD holders/an advantage for non- PhD holders).
  • Previous grant-writing experience will be considered an advantage.
  • Previous relevant industrial / innovation / entrepreneurship experience and interest will be considered an advantage.
  • Ability to independently identify problems and carry out research work within the scope of the MRG.
  • Excellent knowledge of both spoken and written English.
  • For non-EU applicants a work permit will be required.

Take advantage of this opportunity for your professional and personal development by being a part of our fast- growing Research Technology Development and Innovation Centre of Excellence. A very attractive remuneration package will be offered to the successful candidate according to qualifications and experience.

Application process  

For full consideration, interested applicants should submit the following items via the online application form and mention the position you are applying for:  “Application: Research Associate: V-EUPNEA”:
  1. A cover letter which clearly specifies i) contact details, ii) employment availability date, iii) rationale on why you think you would be a good fit for the position within the V-EUPNEA MRG
  2. Description of academic and research experience as well as any relevant industrial experience where applicable (500 words maximum)
  3. A detailed curriculum vitae in English.
  4. Copies of transcripts of BSc/MSc/PhD degree(s).
  5. Contact details of two referees, either two University professors or one University professor and one industry referee.
In case you previously applied for a post at CYENS CoE, a new application is required.
For general enquiries, applicants may contact the HR Department of CYENS, Centre of Excellence at vacancies@cyens.org.cy .
CYENS Centre of Excellence is an equal opportunity employer and the position is open to everyone, internationally.
All applications are treated in the strictest confidence.

*Remains open until the position is filled.

Positions: 1
Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
Type: An initial one-year employment contract will be offered with the possibility for renewal depending on performance and project needs.