Deadline: July 23, 2021 at 1:00 PM (Italian time)
NOTICE: the applications must be submitted on the 
Università di Pisa website 

The Italian National PhD Program in Artificial Intelligence is made of 5 federated PhD courses that bring together 61 universities and research institutions. The 5 PhD courses share a common basis in the foundations and developments of AI, and each one has an area of specialisation in a strategic sector of AI application. 
The areas of specialisation are:  

  • Health and Life Sciences (Lead University: Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma)
  • Industry 4.0 (Lead University: Politecnico di Torino)
  • Security and Cybersecurity (Lead University: Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Environment and Agricolture (Lead University: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)
  • Society (Lead University: Università di Pisa)

Call for application area "AI for Society":

The role of the Department

The University of Trento participates in the national PhD Program in Artificial Intelligence in the AI ​​for Society area, coordinated by the University of Pisa, thanks to the scientific excellence and relevance of the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science in the field of  Artificial Intelligence. The University has obtained the co-financing of four thematic scholarships over two cycles (three for the XXXVII cycle and one for the XXXVIII) cycle, the maximum possible co-financing within the national doctorate in Artificial Intelligence.

Area AI for Society

The study of society and the complexity of social and economic phenomena has received a strong boost in the last ten years thanks to the AI and Data Science methods, powered by the social microscope of big data analytics and social mining through inter-disciplinary hybridization with the social and economic sciences. The combination of model-driven and data-driven approaches of data mining, machine learning and network science is progressively increasing the ability to observe, measure, model and predict complex socio-economic phenomena, such as human mobility and dynamics of cities, migrations and their economic determinants, the dimensions of community well-being, the formation and dynamics of opinions and online conversations, and the social impact of AI systems. This scientific line is interlaced with the Human-centric AI one, meaning the development of advanced forms of person-machine interaction capable of improving the quality of individual and collective decisions in delicate fields, from health to justice, to economic transactions, to risk assessment in various social and economic areas. The AI ​​for Society specialization area will focus on crucial issues such as explainable AI, AI for personal assistance, AI for social interaction, AI for social good, following an approach aimed at incorporating shared ethical values ​​in AI systems (ethics-by-design) and to achieve common goals, with a view to sustainability, diversity, respect for human dignity and autonomy, inclusiveness and social acceptability.

Specific co-financed Projects 

The University of Trento is involved in cycle XXXVII of area "AI for Society" by co-financing three specific projects:

Human-cognition aware explainable AI 

Existing research in explainable artificial intelligence is mostly focused on either explainable by-design methods or post-hoc reverse engineering approaches. This research aims to broaden the scope of explainable AI bringing the human in the loop of the learning process itself. This requires on the one hand to develop interactive approaches, where the machine and the user engage in a dialogue trying to improve their mutual understanding, and on the other hand to develop forms of explainability that are aware of the limitations and specificities of human cognition. The research will be conducted as a collaboration between DISI and CIMEC and the candidate will be jointly supervised by faculty members of the two institutions.
Contact: Andrea Passerini andrea.passerini [at]

Deep learning models for multi-modal human behaviour analysis and synthesis

This PhD project has the ambition to explore the fusion of multiple modalities (e.g. video, audio, inertial sensors, etc.) and the design of novel cross-modal deep neural network architectures to study social behaviours, social interactions, and human activities. In addition, the project will also address the challenge of exploiting deep generative models such as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) or Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) to generate video sequences depicting realistic human behaviours in a variety of social settings.
Contact: Niculae Sebe niculae.sebe [at]

Social robotics for elderly assistance

The project will aim to develop novel approaches for improving the perceptual capabilities of humanoid robots in the context of social interactions with elderly patients. Specifically, the project will aim to design and implement novel deep learning architectures which enable the robot to analyze human behaviours in multi-modal multi-party interactions, with the ultimate goal of building self-aware robots which understand the level of acceptance from the user. The PhD student will investigate algorithms for people detection and tracking, group analysis and facial expression recognition. These activities will require the design of specialized deep networks which operate in a resource-constrained setting and which permits the robot to adapt its internal knowledge to dynamic environments.
Contact: Elisa Ricci e.ricci [at]

For further information on the call, candidates are invited to check the webpages available in the "Useful Links" box.