Two PhD scholarships by DAAD

The Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi) has been allocated two full PhD scholarships in the Graduate School for Geoinformatics. The scholarships are granted within the "Graduate School Scholarship Program" (GSSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Successful candidates will conduct their PhD according to the phases, milestones, and study program of the Graduate School for Geoinformatics (see qualification concept), including a 30 credit point course program and an external semester. If applicable, a German language course of 2-6 months will be funded before the start of the doctoral program.

Targeted audience:

Applicants of non-German nationality
Not living in Germany for more than fifteen months (reference date: February 1, 2013)
Having finished Masters studies less than 3 years ago (in case of not yet having completed the Masters program, applying with a transcript of records with attended courses so far, the diploma must be provided before the start of the scholarship program)
We particularly encourage applicants from developing and emerging countries
Within the Graduate School for Geoinformatics, the following dissertation topics are open for application:

Spatio-Temporal Ontology Design Patterns for the Semantic Web (Prof. Kuhn): The idea of design patterns has taken hold in the semantic web. Foundational ontologies like DOLCE have been redesigned around such patterns and a lot of data-driven ontology engineering is taking place with them. Work on relevant patterns for spatial and spatio-temporal information came out of recent GeoVoCamps (Santa Barbara 2012, Dayton 2012). The hypothesis that image schemas (link, path, container, center-periphery, etc.) and the related idea of affordances provide useful patterns shall be explored in a PhD thesis with strong links to application data and queries from several domains.
The array metaphor for modelling change from large-scale high-dimensional spatio-temporal data (Prof. Pebesma): Spatio-temporal data from e.g. hyper-spectral and hyper-temporal satellite imagery or climate model runs can often be represented by high-dimensional arrays. Analysis involves the combination of inference techniques with dimension reduction. The thesis will evaluate the potential and limitations of dimension reduction and inference.
techniques, when applied to each or combinations of the different dimensions, and the potential of the array metaphor for modelling change.
Adapting navigation support to positional information of varying quality (Prof. Kray): Location information is crucial to provide people with navigation support in a variety of contexts (pedestrian, car, public transport). In reality however, location information often is lacking in terms of accuracy, precision, reliability and recency, which can cause considerable problems for people relying on navigation support. This thesis will identify and quantify relevant factors contributing to variations in the quality of location information, develop and evaluate strategies to adapt navigation support to these variations, and create interfaces and visualisations to support adaptive navigation using varying location information of varying quality.
Cognitive Wayfinding Assistance System (Prof. Schwering): A navigation system supports users in finding their way to a destination. Routes are given as sequences of instructions that users need to execute step-by-step. Instead of forming a logical sequence of instructions embedded in the overall task, each instruction is isolated and reduced to a minimum of information content. This thesis will investigate new wayfinding assistance systems that support the acquisition of spatial knowledge and cognitive map-making for advancing the user's orientation in unfamiliar environments. Wayfinding instructions are to be embedded in the context of the environment and the overall task. Instructions enriched with information that can be related to the user's cognitive map helps users to get and remain orientated.
The doctoral program within the Graduate School for Geoinformatics will start on October 1st, 2013. The scholarships are for up to three years (up to four years for candidates from developing and emerging countries).

The doctoral program is entirely in English language (requirement: TOEFL 550 paper-based, or equivalent).

Typically, we expect no or little German language skills; in this case, the scholarship includes a German language course of 2-6 months before the start of the doctoral program. In case of excellent German language skills already, the start of the doctoral program might be preponed.

Scholarships will be initially granted for one year, the subsequent years based on progress. Scholarships include

Monthly scholarship of 1.000€
Country-dependent lump sum for travel costs
Insurance package (health, accidents, liability)
Research allowance of 460€ per year
If applicable, support of accommodation costs and family needs
If applicable, a German language course of 2-6 months before the start of the doctoral program.
Applications are requested by January 5th, 2013. For further information see Application procedure. Based on the evaluation of the application documents, candidates will be invited for a "selection workshop" in Münster. Based on the workshop results, the Institute for Geoinformatics will nominate 2-4 candidates per scholarship position to the DAAD, which will take the final decision.

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