Back INPhINIT “la Caixa” PhD Fellowship: Data analytics in Smart Learning Environments

INPhINIT “la Caixa” PhD Fellowship: Data analytics in Smart Learning Environments



INPhINIT “la Caixa” PhD Fellowship 2018 has been just launched. TIDE participates with the offer of a project on Data analytics in Smart Learning Environments.

The DTIC as a “Maria de Maeztu Centre of Excellence” is a hosting institution within the INPhINIT “la Caixa” Fellowships Programme. One of the proposed topics for the fellowships is:

Data analytics in Smart Learning Environments

Disciplines: Telecommunications, Electronics, Robotics, Automation Engineering, ICT; Theoretical and Applied Mathematics, Computer Sciences


The concept of Smart Learning Environment (SLE) has recently emerged with the aim of transforming current technology enhanced learning environments so that they can provide learners with adequate support at the right time and place based on their needs, which are determined by analyzing their learning behaviors, performance and contexts. SLEs are promising but also challenging especially in the case of scenarios where participants interact with multiple devices, such as those based on the Internet of Things, or in the case of massive number of participants.

One of the problems that hamper the success of SLEs in both types of scenarios is that the (re)design of increasingly effective learning situations are currently not informed by indicators of the impact in learning of previous design realizations. This problem stem from the fact that obtaining the adequate information required to make decisions about the (re)design of non-trivial learning situations is out of reach for teachers and learners, given the high number of participants or the diversity of devices that can be involved in the scenarios.

Learning analytics can be considered a suitable approach to tackle the problem as they deal with the analysis of data about learning with the aim of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. In fact, the potential of learning analytics to improve the support of teachers and students in different settings has already been shown. However, according to a recent report of the European Commission’s JRC, much research still needs to be done to tailor learning analytics for specific needs and contexts such as the aforementioned problems in SLEs.

The goal of this research project is to improve the support of (re)design of SLEs by means of learning analytics. To do so, the project will have to develop (1) a set of learning analytics services that will provide indicators furnishing actionable information about the (re)design, adequate visualizations of the indicators that will help participants make informed decisions that improve the (re)design; (2) a framework for the integration of the proposed services in different SLEs; and (3) a set of pilot experiences showing how such services enhance the (re)design.

This project will be supervised by Dr. Hernández-Leo, a permanent faculty member that leads the Interactive and Distributed Technologies Group (TIDE) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. The group has currently twelve members and their research lies at the intersection of network and computer applications, human-computer interaction and learning sciences. They have extensive experience in technologies for teaching and learning, learning design and data analytics.

The PhD position is offered to a highly motivated researcher, to join our team in interdisciplinary learning technologies research. The successful candidate should have an excellent undergraduate and master academic record. Candidates should have a strong desire to see their technological work applied in solving impactful problems in the context of education. The successful candidate should also have the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Evidence of good programming and data analysis skills as well as excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills are desirable. Please contact Davinia Hernández-Leo at [email protected] for any question or further information needed.

Conditions (please see INPhINIT “la Caixa” website for updates)

  • 3-year contract
  • About €34,800 gross annual salary + €3,564 annual additional funding
  • Award of €7,500 for the PhD fellow in case he/she presented the thesis within a period of 3.5 years
  • Additional training in transversal skills: technology transfer, entrepreneurship, professional development.
  • Research stays in academia and industry.   
  • Participation in networking and outreach activities.
  • Deadline for incorporation of candidates: September/October 2019.


Fellowship eligibility (please see INPhINIT “la Caixa” website for updates):

  • Be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Short stays such as holidays will not be taken into account.
  • Have a demonstrable level of English (B2 or higher).

PhD program admission

  • Accredited undergraduate degree (Bachelor degree or recognised equivalent degree from an accredited Higher Education Institution).  
  • Accredited graduate/master’s degree (equivalent to a Spanish Master Universitario/Oficial, Master’s of Research…. ) which enables them to access a Phd programme in their home country.
  • Total of 300 ECTS credits, 60 of those have to correspond to an official graduate, research oriented, master’s programme.

Selection criteria (please see INPhINIT “la Caixa” website for updates)


  • Academic records and CV (50%).
  • Motivation and goals declaration (30%): originality, innovation, impact and link with the selected Research Centre.
  • Recommendation letters (20%).


  • Potential (40%), motivation and impact (20%), CV (30%).

Important dates

  • Website open for applications: (please see INPhINIT “la Caixa” website for updates)
  • Application deadline:  (please see INPhINIT “la Caixa” website for updates)

How to apply

Applications are managed through the program website, More information about the procedure:

For additional information on the PhD program: [email protected]

For additional information on the topic: [email protected]


The UPF DTIC PhD program offers advanced training in a broad range of topics in the field of Information and Communication Technologies.

This is an innovative program, unique in Catalonia and Spain in terms of its content, which aims to provide a bridge between various disciplines in this field. The DTIC PhD program has been growing steadily and currently hosts about 130 PhD students and 40 faculty and tenure-track professors who can supervise a PhD thesis. The program received a Mention of Excellence award from the Ministry of Science and Innovation in 2011.

The DTIC department consistently ranks among the top computer science departments in Spain (e.g. the only computer science department from an Spanish university that has even been included in the top 100 of the Shanghai Ranking). The DTIC’s research activities are organized around 15 groups pursuing a wide range of topics that include networking, wireless communications, multimedia, image and music processing, medical imaging, interactive technologies, learning technologies, artificial intelligence, data mining, and computational neuroscience, among others.

The UPF university was awarded in 2010 the distinction of International Excellence Campus by the Spanish Ministry of Education and it is widely considered to be one of the best universities in Spain (e.g. is the top Spanish university according to 2013 Times Higher Education Ranking).

The UPF is located in Barcelona. Its excellent location on the shores of the Mediterranean, its gentle climate, its open, cosmopolitan character, its gastronomy and architecture make Barcelona an extraordinary place to live. The DTIC is sited in UPF’s Communication Campus, which was opened in 2009 and is located within the vibrant 22@ technological district of Barcelona.





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