[visionlist] PhD studentship: "The risk of unknowingly disclosing personal information through eye tracking and webcam technology"

Durant, Szonya Szonya.Durant at rhul.ac.uk
Tue Jul 11 08:58:25 -04 2017

Leverhulme Magna Carta Doctoral Scholarship

Department of Psychology and Department of Computer Science, Royal Holloway, University of London

Project: The risk of unknowingly disclosing personal information through eye tracking and webcam technology

Supervisors: Dr Szonya Durant (Dept. of Psychology), Dr Dawn Watling (Dept. of Psychology) and Dr Zhiyuan Luo (Dept. of Computer Science)

Applications are invited for a funded full-time studentship for doctoral research,

Awarded under the Leverhulme Magna Carta Doctoral Centre starting in September 2017 (with the possibility of extending the start date until January 2018 at the very latest).  The scholarship covers UK and European Union tuition fees and an annual stipend towards living expenses. The 2017/18 value of the stipend is £16,553.

The Research Project

This project will assess the risk of unknowingly disclosing personal information over social media, simply through how we move our eyes when interacting with or scanning social media. We aim to examine what personal information (e.g. age, sex, aspects of personality) can be determined from eye movement patterns whilst scanning social media using machine learning.

This interdisciplinary PhD project draws on the fields of sensory neuroscience, in particular, the experimental study of eye movements and the latest cutting edge computer science developments in machine learning. The novelty of the proposed interdisciplinary approach promises to yield original insights that will expand the knowledge and understanding in both fields of study and have impact for our understanding of issues around internet privacy.

This project is supervised by three experts in their field, the primary PhD supervisor (Dr Szonya Durant<https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/szonya-durant(64105598-776f-4034-ab30-7e10b4e1d348).html>) and two co-supervisors (Dr Dawn Watling<https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/dawn-watling(70194d88-af3f-40a8-9b85-60dcfc1d51c8).html>and Dr Zhiyuan Luo<https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/zhiyuan-luo(cb78d990-b108-4090-8626-afe8c14f1936).html>).

Both Dr Durant and Dr Watling are based in The Department of Psychology, which has an active and expanding postgraduate research community, is well-equipped for research. It was ranked 6th out of 82 UK Psychology Departments in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), with 93% of the research classified as world-leading or internationally excellent. Research in the Department spans a breadth of topics across psychological sciences and neuroscience and is supported by excellent facilities - further information on the research environment can be found here<https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/psychology/research/home.aspx>.

Dr Luo is based in the Department of Computer Science, one of the UK's leading centres for research into Computer Science - further information on the research environment can be found here<https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/computerscience/research/home.aspx>. In the most recent Research Excellent Framework (REF 2014), it was ranked 11th in the UK for the quality of research output, with a third of publications recognised as world leading, and a further half internationally excellent (87% in total).

Both departments are situated on a beautiful campus close to London.

Applicants should ideally hold, or be predicted to achieve, a first class undergraduate degree or equivalent in Cognitive or Computer Sciences or related disciplines (minimum requirement: 2.1). An MSc in a Cognitive or Computer Sciences related subject is desirable but not essential.  The ideal candidate will have strong skills in computer programming and data analysis. Eye tracking and experimental design experience would be advantageous.

The Scholarship

The scholarship will fund a full-time PhD for three years, during which time a full academic training programme will be provided. The successful candidate will be engaged in all aspects of the research project, including engaging with and disseminating findings to external stakeholders. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the activities of the Magna Carta Doctoral Centre as well as the postgraduate research community in the Department of Psychology including contributing to teaching.

For further details about the Leverhulme Magna Carta Doctoral Centre, please see:



Informal enquiries about the project should be directed to: szonya.durant at rhul.ac.uk<mailto:szonya.durant at rhul.ac.uk>. Fulldetails on how to make an application are shown on our Departmental Website<https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/psychology/prospectivestudents/postgraduateresearch/home.aspx>(select tab "3. Leverhulme Magna Carta Studentships") and in the College Webpages<https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/studyhere/researchdegrees/applying/applicationprocessforresearchdegrees.aspx>.  For further details on the application process please contact: Sharon Clutterbuck on psyoffice at rhul.ac.uk<mailto:psyoffice at rhul.ac.uk>.

Closing date:  5pm on Tuesday 1st August 2017 (may be extended if not enough applications are received for the September start date)

Interview dates: 7-18 August (can be flexible around existing commitments)


Szonya Durant
Department of Psychology
Royal Holloway, University of London
TW20 0EX
01784 276522

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