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Advanced data storytelling: exploring whether techniques developed for generating fictional stories can be adapted to telling stories about real-world data

Department of Computing Science

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Prof E Reiter No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

There is growing interest in software systems which can tell stories (in English) about real-world data. After all, humans have evolved so that they often perceive and explain the world via stories, and often the best way to present complex data to a doctor or engineer is via a story. At the same time, there is also a growing body of research on generating fictional stories using computational creativity techniques. The goal of this project would be to bring these worlds together, and in particular explore whether techniques developed for generating fictional stories can be adapted to telling stories about real-world data, in order to support doctors, engineers, and other people who need to understand and act on data.

This project will be done in conjunction with Arria NLG (, which specialises in building Natural Language Generation (NLG) computer systems that tell stories about data; these stories support and empower people who need to understand the data. Arria is very interested in exploring whether techniques developed for generating fictional stories could enhance its technology. The student will collaborate with and be partially supervised by Arria staff throughout his or her studies. He or she will also be expected to spend 6 months working as an intern at Arria, which will provide a deep understanding of Arria’s technology and clients.

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 1st Class (or equivalent) in Computing Science or related discipline.

If a suitable candidate is identified before the closing date the project will become unavailable.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by the EPSRC. The funding will cover tuition fees and a stipend for 4 years (£14,553 p.a. in 2017/2018)
Due to funding restrictions the studentship is open only to UK and EU nationals with 3 years residency in the UK.

This studentship commences 1st October 2017.



This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Computing Science. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Science, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing.


Informal inquiries can be made to Professor Ehud Reiter ( with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit (
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