SV-faculty becomes partner in two new doctoral networks

June 14, 2024

Helene Sjursen (ARENA) and Sascha Frühholz (PSI) have received Marie Sklodowska-Curie Doctoral Networks funds to employ respectively two and one doctoral candidate for their research projects. Sjursen says the project plans to recruit 15 doctoral candidates, two of whom will be housed at ARENA. – So our doctoral candidates will be traveling, and we will receive visits from others from the partner institutions. They will study how humans and animal species use the voice to communicate and combine this with voice technology (Voice Technology/ VT) within artificial intelligence (AI). "We employed three doctoral candidates, who were admitted to the PhD programs in political science and sociology respectively."

Helene Sjursen at ARENA and Sascha Frühholz at the Department of Psychology receive prestigious funding to explore the global role of EU and voice technology in artificial intelligence.

Contributing to major European doctoral networks . Helene Sjursen (ARENA) and Sascha Frühholz (PSI) have received Marie Sklodowska-Curie Doctoral Networks funds to employ respectively two and one doctoral candidate for their research projects. Photo by Erik Engblad / University of Oslo

This article is translated from Norwegian to English by UiOGPT

The grants channels through the EU's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Networks program. Sjursen and Früholz will become partners and mentors in two new projects.

"This means that the funds are primarily for the recruitment of doctoral candidates, two at ARENA and one to PSI,"

It says Marit Eldholm, head of research and communication section at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

According to Eldholm, the doctoral candidates will be enrolled in a local PhD program while simultaneously following an international research and education program for 36 months.

The EU's global role

Sjursen is a partner in the project "Contested EU foreign policy in an era of geopolitics" (EUFOG), which will examine how the EU's global role is affected by geopolitical changes in international politics.

"We will study how this affects internal political processes in the EU, especially within foreign and security policy, how the content of the EU's foreign policy is influenced, and whether other countries' views on the EU's global role have changed.

Sjursen says the project plans to recruit 15 doctoral candidates, two of whom will be housed at ARENA. The candidates will also spend part of their research time at other partner institutions, as this is a European network.

– So our doctoral candidates will be traveling, and we will receive visits from others from the partner institutions. In addition, we will offer a range of courses in theory and method, which all the candidates are to participate in. My main tasks will be related to guidance and teaching, she says.

Voice communication and technology

The Frühholz project has entered into a collaboration with "Voice Communication Sciences" (VoCS). They will study how humans and animal species use the voice to communicate and combine this with voice technology (Voice Technology/ VT) within artificial intelligence (AI). In particular, they will look at how AI voices manage to convey so-called paralinguistic information, such as identity, emotional state, and health.

"The VoCS project is an ambitious initiative to investigate the challenges with voice quality and to reinforce Europe's position within this technology," he says.

"Our goal is to contribute to the expanding VT industry by educating a network of skilled experts shaping the future of VT in Europe.

Frühholz further explains that VoCS will give a new generation of researchers interdisciplinary expertise in voice technology.

The project brings together 21 partners in 12 countries. Everyone will collaborate to offer a good training program and combine practical skills training in laboratories with interdisciplinary workshops.

– The innovative potential of the project lies in the broad approach to voice processing, he emphasizes.

Experience as a coordinator

Head of section, Marit Eldholm, has coordinated a similar PhD network at ARENA, when she worked there as a research adviser.

"I myself have had a positive experience as an administrative project leader for a similar project, PLATO, which ARENA coordinated from 2017 to 2020 under the Horizon 2020 program."

"We employed three doctoral candidates, who were admitted to the PhD programs in political science and sociology respectively."

"The journey for the candidates in such projects is often intense but also very rewarding. They will attend PhD schools, courses, and study abroad of varying durations among the partners in the research network. They get a unique international network, which often also includes partners outside academia. This is incredibly valuable and educational for them," concludes the section leader.

What is the MSCA Doctoral Network?

It is the EU's premier education program for doctoral candidates. The funding is meant to help build partnerships between public and private organizations from different sectors all over Europe and make the candidates even better equipped to follow different career paths after earning their doctorate.

Through the networks, doctoral students have the opportunity to work together with outstanding researchers and relevant sectors outside of academia, which is crucial for their personal and professional development. The projects offer international mobility, cross-sectoral experiences, and skill-building courses.

Overall, the EU aims to improve the quality and harmonize the structures for doctoral education in Europe by financing such collaborative projects.

The source of this news is from University of Oslo

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