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Making the Internet a better and safer place for young people

Based on the UNICEF report ‘The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World’, children and adolescents under 18 already account for an estimated one in three Internet users around the World. Although these children and teenagers may be considered digital natives, sometimes they are not fully aware of the risks and threats, or of the benefits and opportunities that technology and the internet offer. In order to tackle this very important problem, it is needed to identify potential risk profiles, as well as to teach and train minors on the proper use of the Internet and associated technologies. And is there a better way to do so than by playing?
This is indeed the main goal of the EU H2020 project RAYUELA (empoweRing and educAting YoUng pEople for the internet by pLAying).

The project aims to bring together law enforcement agencies (LEAs), sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, legal experts, ethicists and philosophers, computer scientists and engineers, to carry out, first, a thorough research on the sociological, anthropological, and psychological factors affecting cybercrimes, such as online grooming, cyberbullying, or trafficking networks (especially focused on sexual exploitation), as well as on the technological threats associated to the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as connected toys, wearables, or virtual assistants. The main findings of this research will be translated into an interactive story-like game in which these topics will be addressed through different cyber-adventures in which players may end up in a risky or safe situation depending on the decisions they made. Thus, the players may “live” different stories depending on the decisions they made while playing (and learnt from them), the same way as the well-known Cortázar's novel (Rayuela/Hopscotch) involves different stories depending on the decisions the reader makes while reading it.

As a result, the data gathered through the game will allow modelling, in a friendly and non-invasive manner, online habits and user profiles related to cybersecurity and cybercriminality based on a large and diverse sample covering the most representative geographical areas in Europe, thus providing LEAs with scientifically sound foundations to define appropriate policies and measures. In addition, on the contrary to traditional research approaches where the impact on target users is unclear, in this case the target population will get the main takeaways directly by playing the game. So the Heaven of this particular hopscotch is none other than contributing to make the Internet a safer and better place for our kids. Do you want to join us in this exciting adventure?v
We are looking for a brilliant and motivated PhD student to pursue the doctoral thesis within the scope of the EU H2020 project RAYUELA (empoweRing and educAting YoUng pEople for the internet by pLAying). The main contributions of the thesis will be along the lines of developing models based on the data gathered through the game and analysing them by using Machine Learning/Deep Learning techniques.

What we offer:
- Carrying out top-notch research for a good cause in a multidisciplinary environment within the scope of the EU H2020 project RAYUELA
- Working in a nice and dynamic environment in the Institute for Research in Technology of Comillas Pontifical University, located right at the heart of Madrid
- Enjoying the unrivalled quality of life of the Madrid region
- An attractive 36-months contract starting the 1st of October of 2020. The gross annual salary during the first two years will be 24,410.36 € and the third year will be 27,472.25 €

What we look for:
- MSc on Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or a related field
- Strong motivation for IoT and cybersecurity
- Good knowledge and strong motivation for data analysis (Machine Learning / Deep Learning)
- Outstanding analytical skills
- Excellent spoken and written English
- Being passionate about researching in a multidisciplinary environment
- Being passionate about the topic and goals of the project


Dr. Gregorio López (,
Dr. Mario Castro (( ),

Application deadline: 30th September 2020