Social Robots

A European Research Council funded Social Neuroscience Research Project


November 2018 - we are now recruiting for 1 post-doctoral position at the University of Glasgow, with a start date in 2019.  

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral researcher to join the Social Brain in Action Laboratory ( to examine brain and behavioural mechanisms underpinning experience-dependent plasticity during human-robot interactions as part of the ERC Starting Grant ‘Social Robots’, under the direction of Prof. Emily S. Cross. The research will involve fMRI, TMS and/or fNIRS, and  longitudinal training interventions with sophisticated humanoid robots. There is also a cross-cultural aspect to this project, meaning the successful candidate will be expected (and supported) to spend some portion of this post conducting research in Japan. Previous experience with at least one of these methods (preferably a combination) as well as computer programming skills (Matlab, Python) are necessary. Applicants should have excellent organizational skills, be highly motivated, and be able to communicate effectively, with evidence of strong scientific writing skills particularly important.

Prior experience with or interest in cross-cultural approaches to social neuroscience and /or HRI will be particularly beneficial.

Preferred start date: between 1 January 2019 - 1 April 2019. Funding is guaranteed for a minimum of 2 years, with a possibility of an extension as the project develops.

For more information and to apply online, visit and search for reference 023532

Closing date: 28 November 2018


** In addition to the standard Glasgow online application procedure, interested candidates are also kindly requested to send their CV to Prof. Emily Cross (emily.cross[at] in advance of the application closing date to faciliate timely and thorough review of all applicants **


PhD Candidate - Now Recruiting! Applications close 30 November 2018

In addition to the new Postdoctoral position, the Social Robots team at the University of Glasgow is also seeking a highly motivated PhD student to join the team to work as part of the Marie Curie ITN ‘ENTWINE’ project on informal care.

ESR6: Communicating emotion and needs: can social robots interpret and respond to carer needs or help reduce the ‘load’?

And more information about the specific project can be found on this website (interested applicants need to navigate here, and then click on ESR6 for more info):

Objectives: To innovate by examining whether social robots can interpret and respond to carer needs, and help reduce the ‘load’.

Caregiver needs for personalized support has been recognized Some caregivers feel a lack of support or do not have a confident. Could a social robot fill this need? The ESR, working with the Social Robots team within the SoBA Lab at the University of Glasgow and Consequential Robotics at Bristol (and Sheffield) will address such questions as ‘can social robots interpret and respond to carer needs, and help reduce the ‘load’? The extent to which robots can be developed with cognitive architecture which can respond to human vocalisations of needs and emotion with supportive responses, or appropriate assistive tasks is an exciting new area of work. Do caregivers differentially voice negative emotions and needs regarding their role dependent on who (a person) or what (a robot) is listening or responding? Do social/assistive/companion robots have the ability to perceive and respond to expression of emotion and needs? The above questions will be addressed using a series of experiments conducted in the SoBA Lab initially and then potentially in naturalistic settings. For example, by comparing the expression of emotions and needs, and its consequences, using written disclosure methods, face-to-face disclosure to a person, and to a social robot. This unique project will combine social cognitive-perceptual and health psychology thinking with experimental psychology methods and roboticist innovations. All work shall be preceded by conduct of a systematic review of the emerging evidence of emotional interaction with robots.

Expected Results: By analysing the engagement and interaction of carers with different methods of data collection (computer vs human vs robotic interface), and recording disclosure of needs/emotions using different experimental/data recording methods, this ESR package could generate hi-tech and novel solutions and recommendations for technology that promotes caregiver wellbeing. Critical dissemination to stakeholders will be via Knowledge Exchange events with roboticists, the care sector including those in Supported Living sector, and the wider scientific community.

Planned secondments:

  • Consequential Robotics, the United Kingdom (Prof. Tony Prescott )To learn about what robotics need from health psychology researchers in order to most effectively integrate user feedback into robotic design and implementation, to investigate how research with carers can and will inform future design for assistive robots 3 months

  • Catholic University of Milan, Italy (Prof. Giuseppe Riva) To gain insight into the use of EMI 3 months

Specific requirements for potential applicants
A candidate with an above-average MSc (or equivalent degree) in psychology, health sciences, computer science/health tech or related fields. We expect a strong interest in challenges in effective human-robot communication, development of social robotics platforms for informal caregiving contexts, and intensive training/longitudinal designs. Required skills include a sound background in social robotics and/or (health) psychology, knowledge of quantitative research methods, and experience with quantitative data analysis; experience with R, MATLAB, Python, testing human participants and/or intensive longitudinal designs is also highly welcome.


Throughout the course of the 5 year Social Robots project (2016 - 2021), the research team will include a robotics/HRI specialist, two social/cognitive neuroscience postdoctoral research fellows, three PhD students, and a part-time research coordinator. Start dates for these positions are negotiable.  More details for specific positions currently being advertised can be found above when available. If you think you would make a fantastic addition to the Social Robots team, get in touch with Emily via e-mail (please include your CV) - emily [dot] cross [at] glasgow [dot] ac [dot] uk


©2019 Social Robots | University of Glasgow