Interdisciplinary connectivity: Understanding and managing complex systems using connectivity science.

Job title:     Doctoral Research Fellowship (PhD) in Computer Science

Title: Structure in patterns in ordered datasets with applications in Astrophysics, Neuroscience and Archaeology

Location: Department of Computer Science and Engineering European University Cyprus, 6 Diogenis Str., 2404 Engomi, P.O. Box: 22006, 1516, Nicosia Cyprus

Duration: 3 years

Closing date: 31st January 2020

Contacts: Vicky Papadopoulou Lesta:

Gross Living Allowance: 32 400‬ per year plus mobility and family allowance.

General Info:

The position concerns a paid PhD scholarship for the program PhD in Computing/Computer Science of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at European University Cyprus. It is offered within the context of the i-CONN project (Agreement no. 859937) ( funded by the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) project funded by the European Commission, under their H2020 program. The network consists of 10 Universities and three partner organisations across Europe, and brings together scientists from Astrophysics, Computer Science, Ecology, Geomorphology, Hydrology, Neuroscience, Systems Biology and Social Science. The goal of i-CONN is to train a new cohort of researchers specialized in the developing field of Connectivity Science who will be capable of developing interdisciplinary approaches to connectivity across a range of disciplines and real-life applications in the next five to 10 years.

European University Cyprus

European University Cyprus operates five Schools, namely, the School of Humanities, Social & Education Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Sciences, the Medical School. The University hosts a diverse and dynamic research community with experienced researchers, including Nobel Laureates Professor Robert Huber (Chemistry, 1988) and Professor Ada Yonath (Chemistry, 2009).

European University Cyprus is actively engaged with local, regional and global partners to promote opportunities for long-term strategic research partnerships and innovative programs of study. The mission of the university is to educate students for successful careers and life achievement, to understand and serve the needs of society, and to create knowledge through research and innovation. During the last decade, the University has developed an intense research activity in a wide spectrum of ICT, Health, and Socioeconomic Sciences and Humanities through coordination or participation in national, international and European Union-funded research programs. Sources of funding for research conducted by faculty members include Horizon 2020, 7th Framework Program, Erasmus+,  Life-Long Learning 2007-2013, Directorates General of the European Commission, the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, United Nations, governmental bodies and others. The university is one of about 400 organizations in Europe which have been awarded the EU’s ‘HR Excellence in Research’ badge.

EUC is the only university in Cyprus and Greece to be rated by QS TOP UNIVERSITIES (QS Stars), which ranks many of the most prestigious universities in the United States, Canada and Europe. The University has been assessed with the highest distinction of 5-Stars in Teaching, Facilities, Inclusiveness, Social Responsibility and Internationalization. Its 4-Star distinction in the field of Employability is also considered a remarkable success, a result of the close association of its academic programs to the job market. EUC is ranked among the 300+ Universities at Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings.

The Astrophysics and High Performance Computing (AHPC) Research Group

The AHPC group of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of European University Cyprus was established in 2012 and carries out pioneering work in Astrophysics, Parallel and Distributed Computing and Complex Networks. The group has a prestigious network of international collaborators and is directed by Prof. Andreas Efstathiou, Vice Rector of Research and External Affairs.

Group’s Scientific Interests include Infrared Sky Surveys, Radiative Transfer models for the emission of galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN), Galaxy formation and evolution, Cosmology & Supernovae,

Parallel Computation and Algorithms, Complex Networks, Graph Theory, Network Science and Machine Learning.

PhD Research project

The project will delve on classic and powerful techniques related to complex systems, such as graph theory, probability theory and statistics, as well as modern and promising ones such as Network Science, machine learning and data mining techniques and tools. The techniques will be explored together with application based specialized knowledge in order to provide a rigorous theoretical and algorithmic framework for the identification of semantics networks applicable to the data from different disciplines, such as Astrophysics, Neuroscience and Archaeology.  For the astrophysics application, the project will address problems related to galaxy evolution and cosmology. For the neuroscience application, the project will utilize techniques for dynamic network analysis to extract detailed descriptions of early visual processing of the brain (first 200 milliseconds) and relate them to late processing where semantics become important. The archaeology work involves investigation of a possible relation of the evolution of ancient pottery images to how the visual system (of the central nervous system) analyses information.  


(1) To apply Bayesian inferencing and graph-theory based methodologies to facilitate the development of a powerful theoretical framework for the identification of semantics networks applicable to the data from different disciplines; (2) Development of efficient algorithms for automatically extracting the semantics networks from the data and the domain knowledge and their implementation in a unified software tool; (3) Application and adaptation of the software tool for the analysis of data in astrophysics, neuroscience and archaeology.

Expected Results:

(1) Understanding the minimal common mathematical structures that can be used to derive identification of semantics networks that transform the data in each discipline into meaningful descriptions; (2) Translating the knowledge in (1) into software tools; (3) Apply these tools in the targeted disciplines.

The project includes research collaboration with Durham University (UK) and the company AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd (CY).

Applying for this position

To register your interest in applying for this position, and to ask for any further information, please contact Dr Vicky Papadopoulou Lesta (email: To apply for this position, we require a copy of your CV, degree transcripts, motivation letter and the names of 2 referees. Please indicate in your motivation letter if you are interested in being considered for any of the other PhD positions in our network (and that you are happy for your data to be shared with the respective institution).

Submit your application by email to mailto: with subject “i-CONN Doctoral Research Fellowship (PhD)”.


This research fellowship programme (PhD) will be carried out within the context of the i-CONN network, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions– Innovative Training Network (ITN) – project funded by the European Commission, under their H2020 program. Through the project activities, the Fellows/PhD students will have the opportunity to come in contact and collaborate with some of the best European research groups. English is the official language of the i-CONN project. Additional details are available in “Further particulars”.


  1. Perform high quality research in the bespoke research project under the guidance of the supervisory team.
  2. Meet the members of the supervisory team on a regular basis.
  3. Participate in the activities of the Network as specified in the Grant Agreement and/or required by the node coordinator, including secondments in other network nodes and taking part in the network meetings and in the training activities.
  4. Write up the results of the research activity and present research papers and publications at meetings and conferences, as advised by the supervisors, and contribute to the overall goals of the network.
  5. Widen the personal knowledge in the research area and undertake complementary training.
  6. Keep records of the activities, such as research, training, secondments, visits, leave of absence, etc.

Person Specification

The successful candidates must satisfy the eligibility criteria (see below ) and have:

  1. An excellent academic record in a quantitative discipline, including, but not restricted to: Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics,  Neuroscience or related areas.
  2. A keen interest in pursuing research in the development of Connectivity Science.
  3. The ability to work independently and as a member of a research team.
  4. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  5. A good command of English language, with excellent oral and written skills.
  6. Good background in Graph Theory or/and Network Science.
  7. Very good programming skills.

* Note that female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Criteria

To satisfy the eligibility requirements set for an Early Stage Researcher funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and you must be eligible to be appointed as an Early Stage Researcher:

  1. Should have — at the date of recruitment — less than 4 years of a research career, and not have a doctoral degree. The 4 years are measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a PhD, either in the country where the degree was obtained or in the country where the PhD is provided.
  2. Trans-national mobility: The applicant — at the date of recruitment— should not have resided in the country where the research training takes place for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment, and not have carried out their main activity (work ,studies, etc.) in that country. For refugees under the Geneva Convention (1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol), the refugee procedure (i.e. before refugee status is conferred) will not be counted as ‘period of residence/activity in the country of the beneficiary’.
  3. Satisfy the eligibility requirements to enroll on a PhD degree. This includes acceptable English language requirements if English is not your first language.

Further particulars

Allowance eligibility depends on the personal circumstances of the fellow:

Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhDs are paid a competitive gross salary of 3,270 € per month, adjusted for their host country, a Mobility Allowance of 600 € per month and, for researchers who have a family, a Family Allowance of 500 € per month. All amounts are subject to employers and employees deductions and taxes.

Family is defined as persons linked to the researcher by (i) marriage, or (ii) a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the national legislation of the country of the beneficiary or of nationality of the researcher, or (iii) dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher; family status is determined at recruitment and does not evolve.

The i-CONN project

In recent years, parallel developments in disciplines as disparate as Ecology, Geomorphology, Neuroscience, Social Science and Systems Biology have focused on what is termed connectivity. In its simplest form, connectivity is a description of the level of connectedness within a system, and can be quantified in terms of structural connectivity (SC) which describes how elements within a system are physically or spatially connected, and functional connectivity (FC) which describes how the strength/presence of these connections varies over space and time.

In all of these disciplines, connectivity has been a transformative concept in understanding and describing what are considered to be complex systems, allowing unprecedented analysis of how such systems behave. Connectivity research is more than a way of grouping elements in a system together

based on their SC, but is driven by the notion that a structural network will systematically shape the dynamical processes (and hence the function) within this system. As a consequence, relationships between structural and functional connectivities need to be evaluated and studied on all topological scales. Whilst conceptualisations and approaches to quantify connectivity have evolved largely within their disciplinary boundaries, similarities in the concept and its application among disciplines are also evident.

i-CONN will exploit synergies among different conceptualisations and applications of connectivity. For example, we will evaluate statistical approaches and mathematical theories that have arisen across a range of disciplines in order that we might develop generic connectivity tools to understand better the characteristics of complex systems. i-CONN will provide interdisciplinary training integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines and stakeholders from the public, private and NGO sectors, using a synthesis of approaches that will lead to transdisciplinarity, whereby a unity of intellectual frameworks will be created beyond the disciplinary perspectives.

i-CONN brings together leading academic and non-academic partners across Europe from those disciplines that have led advances in Connectivity Science with the goal of training a new generation of experts in the application of connectivity concepts to advance both research and practical understanding to address this need. i-CONN will train ESRs to become experts with a unique skill set that includes interdisciplinary scientific techniques and applications of Connectivity Science, to address real-world challenges through a bespoke series of specialized training courses and secondments.

The i-CONN network

Coordinator:  Durham University, Durham UK.

i-CONN Beneficiaries

AAI Scientific Cultural Services Ltd. (Cyprus), Aix-Marseille University (France), BOKU (Austria), Durham University (UK), European University Cyprus (Cyprus), Jacobs University (Germany), Masaryk University (Czech Republic),  MODUL University Vienna (Austria), Environment Agency (UK), University of Vienna (Austria).

i-CONN partners

IIASA (Austria), The University of Sheffield (UK), University of Groningan (Netherlands)

Data protection

The i-CONN Network is committed to respecting the confidentiality of the information provided by the applicant: personal data collected for the present proceeding will be processed for the sole purposes connected with and instrumental to the selection procedure and the eventual management of the job contact, in conformity with the current provisions. The person responsible for the Personal Data Handling is the principal investigator at the host institution.


Download the PDF for more info for all the 15 PhD positions available in Connectivity Science as part of the i-CONN Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions ITN .

More information can be be found in Euraxess portal.