The Faculty of Informatics of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano), Switzerland, is looking for candidates for a fully funded PhD position, available for 4 years (starting 1 September 2020 or as soon as possible thereof), in connection with the SNSF-funded (Swiss National Science Foundation) project BASE – Behavioral Analytics for Smart Environments.

The Project

Understanding human behavior through behavioral analytics is widely recognized as being key to providing new services and solutions in many application domains. The key to behavioral analytics is to be able to identify and track individual user interactions across time and space. Within the purely digital domain of the Web, “behavioral analytics” are enabled through the use of cookies that provide the mechanism for tracking individual user interactions within and across sessions. However, while there are numerous application-specific initiatives to measure elements of human behavior, no general analytics frameworks exist for emerging pervasive environments that mix physical and digital interactions – we simply do not have viable mechanisms for service providers to track user interactions in the real world without raising significant privacy concerns.

BASE provides an initial exploration of the problem domain via behavior modeling and model solicitation. It will combine both theoretical and practical insights in order to understand the capabilities and limits of generating human mobility and activity models collaboratively (i.e., in a distributed, non-centralized fashion) that can be used to underpin future analytics systems. It will also assess how such mobility models can then be used to provide behavioral analytics for pervasive environments.

The Position

You will research new methods and tools for the collection and federated analysis of behavioral data (e.g., mobility), with a view towards creating privacy-aware models that can subsequently be used for the analysis of IoT services. Your main responsibility will be to carry out research, but you will be given the opportunity to acquire some teaching experience and qualification as well.

Our Offer

We offer a full-time PhD position with a competitive salary and social security insurances.  The yearly salary of a PhD student, in accordance with Swiss regulations, ranges from CHF 47,000 (gross) in the first year to CHF 50,000 (gross) in the last year. USI Lugano ( provides excellent facilities for both professional and personal development. Switzerland is consistently ranked as one of the most livable countries in the world (see, e.g., or and the city of Lugano offers an enjoyable environment all year round (see for impressions).

Your Profile and Application Process

Application are invited as soon as possible. Applicants are expected to already have a Master’s degree (or comparable level) in Computer Science, Information Science, or closely related disciplines. Please send the following information to Prof. Marc Langheinrich (at using the subject “BASE PhD Position”:

  1. Motivation letter indicating your background and interests.
  2. Full curriculum vitae, including a list of all courses and marks.
  3. Contact information for at least two academic references.
  4. Evidence of the command of English (fluent in writing and speaking).