Summer Scholars Program (ANU)

The Australian National University in partnership with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language intends to offer regular Summer scholarships to several students.

What is the Summer Scholars Program?

A Summer Research Scholarship or Summer Internship at The Australian National University is an exceptional research opportunity for undergraduate and masters coursework students, providing insight into what studying for a graduate research degree is all about. The scholarship or internship package gives you the opportunity to stretch your boundaries by undertaking research projects and activities during the summer.

2019-2020

Applications for this year's program will close 15 September 2019.

The eight-week program will run between 25 November 2019 and 24 January 2020.

To apply, please go to: 

https://www.anu.edu.au/study/scholarships/find-a-scholarship/summer-research-scholarship

Please include in your application a one- to two-page proposal, outlining how you plan to contribute to the project you wish to work on. Include the research questions or focus you might like to take, with some contextualisation in the relevant literature, and an indication of the skills and knowledge you would bring to the project. If accepted, your supervisor will work with you to finalise a research plan for your work over the period of the scholarship, based on this proposal. Please contact the director of the relevant project if you require more information.

Projects

Using semantic vector space modelling to study language change over time

The Sydney Speaks project examines language change over time, as evidenced in a corpus of spontaneous speech from Sydneysiders, born between the 1890s and the 1990s, totalling close to one million words of speech. Change on the phonetic, grammatical, and discourse level have all been examined.

The focus for this summer research project is grammatical change, utilising semantic vector space modelling to assess possible semantic motivations for language change. Semantic vector space modelling is a technique for representing relationships between words based on their shared contexts of use in a given corpus. According to distributional semantics, the more collocates two words share, the closer their semantic relationship; likewise, vector space modelling represents the distance between items with many shared collocates as smaller than the distance between items with few or no shared collocates, thus automating the detection of common collocations. This allows us to track change in collocations over time, and chart that in relation to grammatical change.

Applicants must have some background in computational modelling and in linguistics; special consideration will be given to those applicants with experience with computational linguistics and working with linguistic corpora.

Please direct enquiries to: Catherine.Travis@anu.edu.edu

This SRS is funded by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), and the student will receive mentoring and advice from ASD over the course of the summer.

Requirements/Prerequisites: 

  • Australian Citizens only 
  • Minimum GPA of 5.5/7.0 (preference will be given to applicants with strong academic performance in a cognate background)

For more ASD opportunities, see below

Australian language work

Supervisor: Jane Simpson (jane.simpson@anu.edu.au)

We are seeking an enthusiastic student to assist with language data analysis and data organisation of Australian languages. Depending on the student's skills and research interests, other linguists may be involved in supervision. Tasks may include:

  • Becoming familiar with the basic morphological and syntactic features of an Australian language.
  • Modifying and updating a workflow for creating digital dictionaries.
  • Organising the structure and building of a multidimensional corpus (dimensions of time, genre, mode and speaker)
  • Assisting with voice and video transcriptions in ELAN

The student will gain knowledge of Aboriginal languages, and skills in language data management, and develop a potential research area for development in postgraduate study. 

This project would suit a student with a strong background in linguistics. A background in computer science and Indigenous Australian languages would be helpful.

Corpus work on a Papuan language

Supervisor: Dineke Schokkin (dineke.schokkin@anu.edu.au)

We are looking for a keen summer scholar to assist with preparing the existing annotated corpus of Idi for publication and integration with an electronic reference grammar. The corpus was collected as part of the ARC Laureate Project 'The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity'. Depending on the student's skills and interests, other linguists may be involved in supervision.

Tasks may include:

  • Becoming familiar with the basic syntax and morphology of a Papuan language
  • Designing a workflow for creating electronic descriptive grammatical resources based on a corpus
  • Assisting with preparation of an existing corpus for online publication

The student will gain knowledge of a Papuan language, develop skills in language data management, and may continue to work on this subject for further postgraduate study.

This project would suit a student with a strong background in linguistics. Some previous knowledge of linguistic software such as ELAN or Flex, and/or a background in computer science would be highly desirable.

Forensic voice comparison of accented Australian English speech 

Supervisors: Yuko Kinoshita <https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/kinoshita-y?term=kinoshita> and Shun Ishihara <https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/ishihara-s>

The field of forensic voice comparison has made considerable progress in the last two decades: the techniques have been continuously improved and we keep building our knowledge of its potential and limitations. However, there is one area which is under-researched: the effects of accented speech. 

Our question is “What happens if we have forensic samples of speech which is not the dominant linguistic variety; or simply put, has an ‘accent’?”. This is a realistic question in a multicultural society like in Australia, and we need to build knowledge on this urgently to ensure fair application of forensic science to all. The summer scholar of this project will work towards addressing this issue, closely studying Vietnamese accented English speech in the context of forensic voice comparisons. The project can be tailored to suits a student’s existing knowledge and technical skills, but the likely tasks include:

  • Developing an understanding of forensic voice comparison in the likelihood ratio based paradigm;
  • Transcription, segmentation and processing of speech signals;
  • Acoustic analysis and linguistic phonetic interpretation of the speech signals;
  • Application of an existing likelihood-ratio calculation formula to this numerical data;
  • Analysis and interpretation of these results;
  • Developing an approach for integrating this knowledge into future forensic voice comparison work

This project would suit a student with a background in linguistics and acoustic phonetics. It is easily scalable to extend to an Honours, Masters or PhD project. 

Contact Yuko.Kinoshita@anu.edu.au if you have any questions.

This SRS is funded by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), and the student will receive mentoring and advice from ASD over the course of the summer.

Requirements/Prerequisites: 

  • Australian Citizens only 
  • Minimum GPA of 5.5/7.0 (preference will be given to applicants with strong academic performance in a cognate background)

For more ASD opportunities, see below

Forensic text comparison in electronically-generated text messages 

Supervisors: Shun Ishihara <https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/ishihara-s> and Yuko Kinoshita <https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/kinoshita-y?term=kinoshita

Forensic text comparison (FTC) typically compares two sets of texts: one is from the offender and the other from the suspect, in order to assist the fact-finders (e.g. juries and judges) to conclude the case. The summer scholar will work as a member of the forensics team and gain experience in quantitative text analysis by contributing to empirical studies on forensic authorship verification and/or fundamental-scientific studies on individual differences in writing styles. Depending on the student's skills and research interests, other linguists may be involved in supervision. Tasks may include:

  • Becoming familiar with the conceptual framework for the analysis of forensic linguistic evidence
  • Becoming familiar with the tools for the analysis of forensic linguistic evidence
  • Working on databases for FTC experiments
  • Assisting with FTC experiments

This project would suit a student with a strong background in computing and natural language processing. The scholar will address challenges in FTC and formulate research questions to be possibly tackled as an Honours, Masters or PhD project.

Contact shunichi.ishihara@anu.edu.au if you have any questions.

This SRS is funded by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), and the student will receive mentoring and advice from ASD over the course of the summer.

Requirements/Prerequisites: 

  • Australian Citizens only 
  • Minimum GPA of 5.5/7.0 (preference will be given to applicants with strong academic performance in a cognate background)

For more ASD opportunities, see below

Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) – Various Projects

Supervisors: To be determined

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) is a vital member of Australia’s national security community, working across the full spectrum of operations required of contemporary signals intelligence and security agencies: intelligence, cyber security and offensive operations in support of the Australian Government and Australian Defence Forces (ADF). ASD has entered into a partnership with the ANU, the goals of which include research collaboration on topics related to ASD’s mission and building national capability in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), including training future generations of signals intelligence and cyber security professionals.

ASD values strong critical thinking and research skills, with an emphasis on an ability to present and reason analysis in diverse forums. ASD analysts work on a broad range of tasks which include: investigating large and complex data sets, developing new methods of analysing data for intelligence or information security purposes and solving cryptological problems using advanced mathematical concepts.

As part of this partnership, ASD is pleased to offer funding for research projects at the Summer Research Scholar level. These research projects may come from anywhere in the university (computer science, mathematics, physics, statistics and linguistics are all represented in ASD’s business); however, they will typically align with these areas:

  • number theory
  • cryptography
  • statistics
  • data science
  • secure systems,
  • vulnerability research
  • computational linguistics

To apply, submit a short paper describing your work. There will also be an opportunity to deliver a short presentation about your work to ASD and ANU staff. Please note on your application if you have a preference for one of the nominated topics or projects.

Requirements/Prerequisites: 

  • Australian Citizens only 
  • Minimum GPA of 5.5/7.0 (preference will be given to applicants with strong academic performance in a cognate background)
  • Nominate your area/s of interest, based on the list above

Watch this space, as other projects may be advertised

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University