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Informatics: ILCC: Language Processing, Speech Technology, Information Retrieval, Cognition (MScR)

Course Description

Research profile

Strongly interdisciplinary in nature, the Institute for Language, Cognition and Communication (ILCC) is dedicated to both basic and applied research in the computational study of language, communication, and cognition, in both humans and machines.

As technology focuses increasingly on language-based communication tools, research into the automation of language processing has become vital. ILCC offers you the broadest research scope in the UK, and a strong computational focus.

Our primary areas of research are:

natural language processing and computational linguistics
spoken language processing
dialogue and multimodal interaction
information extraction, retrieval, and presentation
computational theories of human cognition
educational and assistive technology
Much of our research is applied to software development, in areas as diverse as social media, assisted living, gaming and education.

You may find yourself working closely with other departments of the University, particularly the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences.

Many of our researchers are involved in two cross-disciplinary research centres:

Centre for Speech Technology Research (CSTR)

The Centre for Speech Technology Research (CSTR) is an interdisciplinary research centre linking Informatics and Linguistics. Founded in 1984, it is now one of the world's largest concentrations of researchers working in the field of language and speech processing.

CSTR is concerned with research in all areas of speech technology including speech recognition, synthesis, signal processing, acoustic phonetics, information access, multi-modal interaction and dialogue systems.

The Centre is home to state-of-the-art research facilities including specialised speech and language-orientated computer labs, a digital recording studio, perception labs and a meeting room instrumented with multiple synchronised video cameras and microphones. There is also access to high-performance computer clusters, the University storage area network, a specialist library, and many speech and language databases.

Human Communication Research Centre

The Human Communication Research Centre (HCRC) is an interdisciplinary research centre at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow that brings together theories and methods from several formal and experimental disciplines to understand better how this happens.

We focus on spoken and written language; we also study communication in other visual, graphical and computer-based media.

Training and support

You carry out your research within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups and may also attend lectures that are relevant to your research topic. Periodic reviews of your progress will be conducted to assist with research planning.

A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development in a wide range of topics, from writing and presentation skills to entrepreneurship and career strategies.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.


The award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.

It also contains two robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.

Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

Career opportunities

While many of our graduates pursue an academic career, others find their skills are highly sought after in the technology industry. A number of our students serve internships with large UK and international software developers, while others take up positions with major social media companies.

Visit the Informatics: ILCC: Language Processing, Speech Technology, Information Retrieval, Cognition (MScR) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, typically in an area of Informatics, such as artificial intelligence, cognitive science or computer science. You may also be considered if your degree is in one of the following areas: engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology. You will need to have experience in computer programming.

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