How to Apply

12 PhD and 1 Post-Doc position (f/m/d – 100% TV-L E13) in the Interdisciplinary DFG Research Training Group (Graduiertenkolleg) 2739/1

For your application, we would like you to submit the following information:

  • Professional CV (including your educational background)
  • Official certificates (Masters, Bachelors, and High School diploma)
  • Current transcript of records (if Masters degree is not finished)
  • Names of two references (ideally experienced scholars)
  • Preferences for three research projects (ranked most to least preferred - see below)
  • Letter of motivation (0.5-1 page)
  • Optional: Instead of the letter you may also submit a max. 2-min long video message with your motivation

Please fill out this form to ensure that all required information is submitted and send it together with the rest of your documents to KD2School@iism.kit.edu until June 20th, 2024.

Please also note that an in-person assessment event will take place July 3rd, 2024 in Karlsruhe, to which a limited number of applicants will receive an invitation.

TOPICS

As a publicly sponsored and neutrally coordinated program, the KD²School opens up a research field that is at present primarily “investigated” with profit-oriented or political goals. The KD2School focuses on designing adaptive systems for supporting economic decision-making of individuals, teams, and groups in work and private life. We train the next generation of scholars at the interdisciplinary intersection of information systems, psychology, computer science, management, and economics. We perform interdisciplinary research to design adaptive systems for economic decision-making with a special focus on biosignals captured by a variety of sensors. From a methodological point of view, we focus on experimental research.

Below you can find the more detailed research projects together with its main supervisor. Second supervisors are identified in the early stages of the thesis development. For your application please indicate your three most preferred projects.

PhD Projects

1. Investigation of Electrical Biosignals Measured at the Ears for Advanced Health Monitoring and Cognitive State Assessment
MAIN SUPERVISOR
MICHAEL BEIGL

DISCIPLINES
Computer Science
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

This research aims to explore the potential of electrical biosignals obtained from the ear region for advanced health monitoring and cognitive state assessment. The PhD will focus on developing a comprehensive understanding of the types of biosignals that can be accurately and reliably measured at the ears, such as electroencephalogram (EEG), electrodermal activity (EDA), and Electrocardiography (ECG). By leveraging innovative sensor technologies and signal processing algorithms, the research will aim to establish robust methods for capturing and interpreting these signals in real-time.

2. Adaptive Haptic Feedback System for Enhancing and Sustaining Flow States
MAIN SUPERVISOR
MICHAEL BEIGL

DISCIPLINES
Computer Science
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

This research aims to design and implement an advanced adaptive system that utilizes haptic feedback to facilitate the achievement and maintenance of flow states in users during diverse activities. The proposed system will integrate wearable haptic devices, such as haptic wristbands or vests, capable of delivering real-time, tactile feedback. This feedback mechanism will be dynamically adjusted based on continuous monitoring of the user’s physiological and cognitive parameters. The primary objective is to assist users in optimizing their focus, managing stress, and maintaining an ideal level of engagement to sustain flow states. The study will involve the development of algorithms to interpret real-time data from various sensors, the design of intuitive haptic feedback patterns, and rigorous empirical testing to validate the system’s efficacy across different use cases. Through this interdisciplinary approach, the research aims to contribute to the fields of human-computer interaction, cognitive psychology, and wearable technology, providing new insights into the practical applications of haptic feedback in enhancing human performance and well-being.

3. Hyperpersonalization
MAIN SUPERVISOR
MARTIN KLARMANN

DISCIPLINES
Management
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Adaptive systems, especially if they are able to process biosignals and use generative artificial intelligence, allow firms to implement customer-related services that are personalized to an extent that seemed unachievable even a few years ago. Given the newly won power of these systems, practitioners often refer to the degree of personalization possible as hyperpersonalization. This dissertation project will seek out to understand hyperpersonalization conceptually and empirically through a series of lab experiments and field experiments. It is particularly interested in understanding both benefits from hyperpersonalization (e.g., improved customer satisfaction and engagement) and drawbacks from hyperpersonalization through over-adaption (e.g., a reduction in trust or violations of privacy).

4. Voice adaptive product search
MAIN SUPERVISOR
MARTIN KLARMANN

DISCIPLINES
Management
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Compared to traditional online product search on retailer sites like Amazon, voice search is inherently sequential. Any voice assistant can only present one option at a time. This makes voice search more time-consuming than web search. Consumer will therefore, intuitively, rely on changing the tone of their voice to provide additional guidance to the voice assistant (e.g., by putting a special emphasis on a word or by slowing their voice down etc.). This dissertation project will therefore seek to understand the extent to which the experience of sequential product search using voice assistants can be improved if voice characteristics are processed in addition to the mere words that are spoken by the customer.

5. Embodied Biosignal-Adaptive Assistance for Video Meeting Systems
MAIN SUPERVISOR
ALEXANDER MAEDCHE

DISCIPLINES
Information Systems
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Video meeting systems (VMS) play an important role for communication in private and business life. While VMS come with many advantages, using them comes with new challenges for the participants. With the rapid development of sensor and AI technologies, new opportunities are emerging for providing embodied assistance functions leveraging real-time biosignal processing of the participants in VMS. Furthermore, using generative AI the assistance functions can be provided not only in the established form of pop-ups or text-based chats, but also alternatively as embodied, human-like avatars. In this PhD project, innovative concepts of embodied biosignal-adaptive assistance in VMS should be designed, implemented and experimentally evaluated.

6. Team-Adaptive Microbreaks for Video Meeting Systems
MAIN SUPERVISOR
ALEXANDER MAEDCHE

DISCIPLINES
Information Systems
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Video meeting systems (VMS) play an important role for communication in private and business life. However, a core problem of video meeting systems is that participants in virtual team meetings frequently report overload and fatigue. So-called microbreaks can address this problem. Since people react very individually to participation in VMS, identifying the time and duration of a microbreak in a virtual team meeting represents an important and at the same time difficult challenge. Biosignal-adaptive video meeting systems may provide a solution for this problem. As part of this PhD project, innovative concepts for team-adaptive microbreaks in video meeting systems should be designed, implemented and experimentally evaluated.

7. AI in Team Meetings: Perception, Performance, and Biometric Adaptation
MAIN SUPERVISOR
PETRA NIEKEN

DISCIPLINES
Management
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

This innovative PhD project investigates team meetings enhanced by AI for instance as AI avatars. Focusing on participants' perceptions of these virtual (AI)-meeting partners or assistants and the resultant team task outcomes, the project explores the dynamics of human-AI collaboration. By studying and integrating biometric signals from team members, the project should address ways of adaptation to enhance interaction effectiveness. The project should also address the question if and how AI avatars can replace humans in team interactions. Through interdisciplinary investigation spanning economics, management, psychology, information systems, and AI, this project aims to uncover insights into the evolving landscape of AI-human teamwork, with potential implications for productivity, well-being, and technology design in collaborative settings.

8. Navigating AI Assistants: Boss, Coach, or Co-pilot?
MAIN SUPERVISOR
PETRA NIEKEN

DISCIPLINES
Management
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

This innovative PhD project seeks to study the evolving role of AI-based assistants in the workplace. Centered around the pivotal question of whether these assistants should adopt the roles of boss, coach, or co-pilot, the project scrutinizes their impact on team collaboration and individual decision-making processes. Through a multidisciplinary lens encompassing economics, psychology, and information systems, the project explores the nuances of AI-human interaction. Furthermore, by investigating the feasibility and desirability of AI assistants dynamically shifting roles based on individual preferences and bio-signals, this research aims to inform the future design and implementation of AI technologies in professional environments.

9. When and how can I help you? An adaptive virtual reality assistant
MAIN SUPERVISOR
JELLA PFEIFFER

DISCIPLINES
Information Systems
MAIN LOCATION
Stuttgart (UOS)

In the first phase of KD²School, we developed eye-tracking based machine-learning models to learn the best time to offer help to a shopper in a virtual reality showroom scenario. In this follow-up project, we integrate large language models into our (algorithmic) digital sales agent and compare it to an avatar controlled by a real human. Your task is to implement these research scenarios based on our existing unity code, create research models that represent the trade-off between highly intelligent AI systems and privacy threads and evaluate them in behavioral experiments.

10. Adversary or Advocate: The impact of an adaptive virtual reality agent on intra-group relationships
MAIN SUPERVISOR
JELLA PFEIFFER

DISCIPLINES
Information Systems
MAIN LOCATION
Stuttgart (UOS)

Imagine an AI-based digital agent that supports a team in making decisions in a VR environment in situations where pros and cons need to be discussed (e.g., product selection or job candidate selection). This project focuses on potential disagreements between this agent that is based on a Large Language Model and real humans. Your task is to empirically analyze the impact of different design features (for example, the agent's adaptation to disagreements or an adaption to the humans‘ communication styles) on the intra-group relationships, perceived trust, and further relevant constructs like team performance. The implementation of the scneario can partly be based on our pre-studies in a related field.

11. Cognition and Consumer Behavior in a Digital World
MAIN SUPERVISOR
BENJAMIN SCHEIBEHENNE

DISCIPLINES
Psychology
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

The goal of this PhD project is conduct cutting-edge behavioral research at the intersection between cognitive psychology and consumer behavior in a digital context. Research topics aim at a better understanding of consumer search behavior in online environments, physiological measures of consumer emotions, and the influence of presentation format on numerical cognition, for example in the context of price perception or the comprehension of climate change data. Another research topic focuses on the influence of uncertainty due to a lack of understanding (so-called epistemic uncertainty) on risky economic decisions and how this uncertainty can be mitigated through adaptive information systems.

12. Bio-signals & Risk perception
MAIN SUPERVISOR
BENJAMIN SCHEIBEHENNE

DISCIPLINES
Psychology
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Risk perception and risk preferences in experimental psychology and behavioral economics are typically measured based on behavioral tasks that require valuations or decisions between monetary gambles or payoff distributions. Risk behavior also has an inherently emotional dimension though. The goal of the research project is to combine cognitive and emotional measures of risk perception using biosignals. By providing decision makers with feedback regarding their peripheral physiological responses (e.g. pupil dilation, heart rate, skin conductance) the project aims at helping people to make better decisions.

13. Biosignal-adaptive Generative Models
MAIN SUPERVISOR
TANJA SCHULTZ

DISCIPLINES
Computer Science
MAIN LOCATION
Bremen (UoB)

Future generative models will support people in everyday tasks @home, @work and @play. While traditional interaction with the generative models via text prompts will soon be complemented by multiple modalities such as voice and video, it does not yet take the current user states and traits into consideration. This dissertation project will leverage real-time biosignal processing to capture and interpret the user's states and traits, such as mood, emotion, alertness, and workload. The interpretation will then be applied to adjust the input prompts accordingly. For this purpose, electrical and acoustic biosignals from eye-tracking, electroencephalography and speech are converted in real-time into prompts that moderate the output of a generative model. For the interpretation of biosignals into user states and traits, transformers architectures are to be investigated that can be fine-tuned with small amounts of training data, i.e. the transformers take biosignals as input and deliver corresponding prompts as output.

14. Biosignal-adaptive Avatars
MAIN SUPERVISOR
TANJA SCHULTZ

DISCIPLINES
Computer Science
MAIN LOCATION
Bremen (UoB)

In this project, we will build on the virtual reality showroom scenario that was developed in the first phase of KD²School. Your task is to leverage real-time biosignal processing to capture and interpret the shopper‘s states and traits, such as mood, emotion, alertness, and workload. The interpretation will then be used to synthesize corresponding behavior in the avatar. Transformer architectures shall be applied to convert biosignals into commands that change the shopper’s avatar behavior. This avatar will engage with the AI-based digital agent developed by the Stuttgart Team. You will create behavioral studies to investigate the interaction between the biosignal-adaptive avatar and the AI-based digital agent.

15. Are we in Flow?
MAIN SUPERVISOR
CHRISTOF WEINHARDT

DISCIPLINES
Information Systems
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Flow is the experience of being ‘in the zone’, when you act with total involvement in a task, losing track of time and self. While this experience has originally been attributed to individuals, it is starting to be known, that the experience is especially strong when experienced in a team. In this project, you will investigate when team flow occurs in digital teamwork and how biological signals (e.g. heart rate) can be used to detect team flow without interrupting it.

16. Headphone-Based Mental Workload Prediction
MAIN SUPERVISOR
CHRISTOF WEINHARDT

DISCIPLINES
Information Systems
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Prolonged or excessive mental workload are linked to stress and lower productivity in everyday worklife. Unfortunately, though, mental workload is hard to assess objectively as it develops through the balance of a person’s abilities and task demands. An innovative way for workload monitoring could be the use of brain activity monitoring using EEG headphones. In this project you will investigate how machine learning models can leverage these wearable sensor data to detect mental workload levels across various tasks and settings.


Post-Doc Project

Boundaries of Adaptation & Addiction Potentials

SUPERVISOR TEAM
Weinhardt / Maedche / Ebner-Priemer

DISCIPLINES
Information Systems Psychology
MAIN LOCATION
Karlsruhe (KIT)

Over the past years, the dependency on IT has grown severely, often due to addictive mechanisms or features in digital media (e.g., autoplay of YouTube videos or reward and loss-triggers in online gaming and gambling). For these reasons, large technology companies are, for example, now starting to introduce features that supposedly reduce “Smartphone-Addiction”. However, up to date, it has barely been researched how such features actually influence addiction potentials, and there is a real possibility that some of them even exacerbate the issues (e.g., time-based usage restrictions have been found to increase IT-use desires instead of reducing them). In this post-doc project, it will be of central interest to advance the research on non-addictive information systems. This means that theoretical frameworks on non-addictive information systems (or addictive technology use in general) have to be extended to derive beneficial strategies that can be implemented as IT-design features. These works will have to find a means of identifying how adaptive systems are part of the problem (e.g. personalized reward structures) or part of the solution (e.g. personalized suppression of reward mechanisms). Throughout the work, non-addictive feature designs will be evaluated within the project and jointly with other PhD projects that will directly benefit from the knowledge created by the leading post-doc.