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--   Interview with Yasin Ghafourian    --


S: Tell us a bit about your background!

Y: Hello and thanks for inviting me to this virtual interview Sophia! We have gotten used to the idea of the virtual version of life but hopefully, and from the looks of it at this particular moment, the light at the end of the gloomy tunnel of physical distancing is getting brighter. So, I am Yasin and I come from a lovely and one of the largest cities in the world, Tehran, in Iran. I have been born and raised in it and have studied in Tehran all my academic life :). As a kid whose world had been fascinated by robot movies and games and toys, I was into robotics and computers and I was also a member of high school robotics team. That’s the root cause that drove me to the path of computer science because I was thinking that it would be the path through which I would achieve self- actualization. So to make a long story short, I have studied computer software engineering at both degrees of Bachelor and Master and have worked both as application developer for windows platform and business intelligent analyst.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

Y: After defending my Master’s thesis, I wanted to start working in industry to explore more and experience the practical environments, however, I really didn’t want to stop at the Masters level and wanted to continue the research path and become a better researcher by obtaining a PhD. That accounts for me looking for relevant PhD opportunities at my spare time while I was an employee and see which PhD projects interest me which I am also qualified enough to conduct. So in my quest for finding an interesting PhD project, I came across the DoSSIER project and I am not sure but I think it was on twitter where I saw the shared job advertisement for it, for the first time. I have worked in IR and have worked on relevance models so when I looked into the project topics, I got really interested in the topics. All of them were intriguing to me and the problem descriptions that I read motivated me to apply.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

Y: I’ve been working on the project for almost 8 months now.

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

Y: I am already very interested in the project as a whole. All people in this project including the PhD students, their supervisors, coordinators, et al., are working shoulder to shoulder passionately and that is really motivating. I am excited to look at where my work and my other great 14 friends’ work in this project will lead and on which areas we can make collaborations with each other as working on interesting ideas. Of course, the whole pandemic situation imposed on us has made having meetings and discussions a little bit hard for us but I am convinced that we will overcome it soon.

S: What project are you currently working on?

Y: I am that smiling early stage researcher siting behind the round brown table by the window in the large research laboratory of DoSSIER, working on project 13 :). Project 13 is regarding relevance models for knowledge deltas. We aim to overcome the knowledge delta, or knowledge gap, existing between a user’s knowledge and that existing in the world wide web on the domain that the user is searching for. I am based in Vienna and my project is being conducted at Research Studios Austria (RSA FG) in collaboration with Technical university of Vienna (TU Wien).

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

Y: The most prominent point to mention is that for an early stage researcher, it’s really beneficial to be in a team where there are more experienced researchers that have tackled similar problems and can be reached for assistance and consult. I am a member of two wonderful teams at RSA FG and TU Wien and neither has been an exemption from this and I personally have asked for my colleagues’ ideas and opinions on various research related or programming related matters and been provided with effective remarks and helpful ideas.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

Y: What excites me the most is that improvements in various directions of these fields can make direct positive impacts on the quality of the work life or life of a group of people that are users of IR systems and this is really motivating for me, knowing that I might be able to make a constructive impact or contribute to something that will later be used to make that impact. Take for example systematic reviews in which it’s paramount to make sure that all relevant documents have been investigated and consulted, improvements in systems used in these cases can reduce to a degree the financial burden and the expected time required to accomplish the tasks.

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

Y: This DoSSIER PhD student is more of a morning person, even though waking up early in the morning can sometimes be troublesome, still this one does prefer mornings :). After a morning routine and enjoying breakfast, he then makes his way to the office (During this Corona times usually the office is empty and people are working in home-office :( and consequently it’s only him in the office) or starts working in home-office. He usually plans to deal with more demanding parts of the research in the morning, such as trying to find a bug in the code, or understanding the functionality of a neural network. In corona free times, this one would go to the gym a number of times per week in the afternoons, however he also enjoys walking in the afternoons or going for the bike ride. He also enjoys hiking and is inspired by nature.

S: Great, sounds like this PhD student has created a great day structure despite the Corona time! Thanks for the interview, Yasin :)


Ginar at Sheffield

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--   Interview with Ginar Niwanputri   --


S: Tell us a bit about your background!

G: I am a proud Indonesian, one of the most beautiful countries in the world!

Having an Informatics and Technology Management educational background with experience as IT business analyst on mining industry.

Since I am passionate doing teaching, I had one-gap-year on voluntary teaching kids in Indonesian rural area. More on that, I had experience as a lecturer at the best engineering school in Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). Beside teaching, I worked as well on some research under Informatics Research Group at ITB, specializing in Information System and Human Computer Interaction. I also had an opportunity to lead one initiative on promoting computational thinking in Bebras Indonesia, as a part of Bebras International.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

G: Actually, one of my colleague who works at TU Wien sent the vacancies on a group chat. I was excited to catch this opportunity since I found DoSSIER is funded by Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) hence it must be a very prestigious project. I was also thrilled to know that this project involves a numbers of world-leading HCI-IR experts and a lot of academic and industrial partners. Since I do love travelling, three secondments in different countries during the project were the sweet treats that gave me a bold yes to apply.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

G: I’ve been working on the project at Sheffield since January 2021, so this month would be my fourth month!

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

G: DoSSIER gives the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a lot of new peoples. Joining DoSSIER leads me into different experience than the regular PhD journey. DoSSIER prepared me to become the “real” researcher whilst currently we are all still at the early stage of research career. It was fun yet challenging journey so far.

S: What project are you currently working on?

G: My project is Augmenting Human Cognition Interfaces in the Workplace (Project 3). This project will produce the specification for a suite of tools needed to assist people in extracting information from and making use of search results, and additionally augment existing information interaction models of the search process.

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

G: I have a small research group of 5 persons right now in Sheffield. Due to the pandemic, not so many chances for me to feel the real ambience on working in the larger team environment right now. However, I really enjoy the collaboration works both in my Sheffield team and the big network of DoSSIER.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

G: I’ve always been passionate about how information being utilised especially in the enterprise. Then I found my topic is so relatable with my experience in information search on professional setting. It also somehow rhymes with my prior research on HCI. The beauty of both fields meets is something that excites me the most!

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

G: I am quite a morning person who never start a day without a full breakfast.  After that, I am ready to work from my home office. Since the beginning of my project, I haven’t got any chance to work at the office. Then I do some readings, attend classes if any, also participate in workshops until noon. Cooking a bit, having lunch, and making a video call with my family before continue working. I always try to do some daily walks to wrap up my day, though the timing is depending on the weather. Yes, you couldn’t trust UK weather, really! Sometimes the walks become a jog if I am on the mood for running. Yoga turns out to be my last resort if it’s too gloomy outside. Namaste!

S: Sounds like a nice day structure, thanks for the interview!


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--   Interview with Georgios Peikos   --


S: Tell us a bit about your background!

G: I am from Greece, where I studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at Democritus University of Thrace. During the last two years of my bachelor studies, I was a member of a research group, working on Information retrieval and Data mining projects. In 2018, I obtained my Bachelor’s degree and continued with a Master’s degree in the same department.  During my Master I mainly focused on Information retrieval. In addition, I had the opportunity to assist  many bachelor students with their thesis.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

G: During my Master's, I was actively looking for a Ph.D. position related to topics I am interested in. Luckily, a colleague of mine shared the DoSSIER research project. I decided to apply mainly based on two reasons. Firstly, because DoSSIER is an international project that allows collaboration with distinguished researchers. Also, I thought that my former studies and interests were in line with DoSSIER.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

G: I have been working on project 14 at the University of Milano Bicocca since November, so now I am on it for six months.

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

G: After almost six months on the project, I find it fascinating how DoSSIER approaches so many different aspects of domain-specific search. Specifically, DoSSIER brings together so many researchers and coordinates meaningful collaborations between them. Personally, I have the opportunity to work closely with two other ESRs, share my thoughts, and discuss new ideas. In the future, I am looking forward to meet all the DoSSIER members.

S: What project are you currently working on?

G: Currently, I am working on project 14: Decision theoretic Approaches for Information retrieval. My main focus is to model the information retrieval process in specific domain searches by employing techniques inspired by decision theory. Specifically, I investigated the information behavior of professional users in the health, legal, and innovation domains and their tasks.

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

G: Firstly, I have the opportunity to work closely with two other DoSSIER ESRs, exchange ideas, and share our different points of view w.r.t. specific aspects of the DoSSIER project. Besides, as a member of our research group, I have the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers, learn about their research activities and discuss new ideas. Regarding the DoSSIER group, I am glad that it allows us to collaborate with other people easily, discuss our thoughts, and come up with new ideas to test.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

G: Advancements in these fields have a high impact on people's personal and professional activities. Also, when working in these fields, one can employ a wide range of approaches with respect to different domain characteristics. So it is exciting working on ideas that are meaningful for society and, at the same time, having the freedom to approach the problem from many different perspectives.

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

G: My day starts pretty early in the morning, often around six or seven. The first task of the day is making coffee and then finishing a small task to get things going. Currently, I spend some days working from home and others going to the university.  Every Sunday, I create a weekly "to do" list and organize the different tasks within the week. Each day is focused on a specific topic and divided into two parts.  The first part of the day  is dedicated to reading and writing activities, while the second to coding, meetings and emails. Finally, the last task of the day is to reflect on it and update the weekly tasks.

S: Sounds like a nice day structure, thanks for the interview!


Vasileois Stamatis, DoSSIER ESR

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--   Interview with Vasileios Stamatis   --


S: Tell us a bit about your background.

V: I am from Greece and I studied mathematics at the University of Ioannina in Greece. After my graduation, I moved to Glasgow where I started the MSc course Data Analytics at the university of Strathclyde. Directly after my master, I worked for a bit at a company in Switzerland as an engineer, but soon I understood that my interest focuses more on research. So I returned to Glasgow where I worked on research for a year at the University of Strathclyde. Finally, I found the DoSSIER project and applied and hired for the project federated innovation search.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

V: I found about DoSSIER on LinkedIn. As I had experience in IR research in conjunction with the big network of DoSSIER and the collaboration between all these universities make DoSSIER the perfect match for my career so I decided to apply for it.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

V: I started working on the DoSSIER project at the International Hellenic University on March/2020, so I’ve been working in the DoSSIER project for a year now.

S: What project are you currently working on?

V: I am working at project 2 Applied Federated Innovation Search at the International Hellenic University in Thessaloniki, Greece. My interest is in finding ways to improve patent retrieval performance.

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

V: DoSSIER is a unique opportunity. There is a really big network, 15 PhD Students, collaboration between universities, industry involvement, placements, enough budget for traveling and participating in conferences. All these prove the quality of the project.

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

V: In the International Hellenic University, we have a great team consisting of academic staff and students. Due to covid restrictions, we mainly working from home and having our meetings on zoom. Similarly, on DoSSIER, we communicate virtually but we still help each other and we plan on collaborative projects.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

V: As my master’s is in data analytics what excites me most is working with data and AI. IR involves a lot of data and as we are moving towards to digitalization, data will be even more. I believe that AI is the tool to unlock the power of the data. So I am trying to find new methods in patent IR involving AI methods. 

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

V: I am starting working at 9 am. I am preparing the day’s work,  checking my emails, and other “things to do”. I start with the “admin” work like prepare what I will do, reply emails and finish any work left from the previous day. Then I am doing the reading, literature review, etc. and after that, there are many times meetings. I am having my lunch at 2 pm. Usually, the afternoons are for tutorials, coding, and engineering tasks.


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860721