• EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Conversational AI
Human-Robot Interaction

Willing to speak to media

1996 …2022

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Google scholar page

 My research involves Artificial Intelligence techniques related to novel human-computer interfaces and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) --  in particular natural language processing and the use of machine learning methods for optimisation. My recent research focuses on reinforcement learning in spoken dialogue systems, user-adaptive natural language generation, technology-enhanced learning, and Human-Robot Interaction . I have published over 100 peer-reviewed research papers in these areas. I am Director of the Interaction Lab research group.


Google homepage 

I am Director of the Interaction Lab in MACS and joined Heriot-Watt in October 2009. I was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh (2003–2009), and a Senior Project Engineer at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) at Stanford University (2000–2002). I hold a PhD from the Centre for Cognitive Science, Edinburgh University, for work in logic and formal semantics (1996), and a BSc in Mathematics and Philosophy from Manchester University. I was Scientific Coordinator of the EC IST project TALK and Coordinator for the EC FP7 CLASSiC project on machine learning for human-machine interaction. I was also PI of the ESRC/EPSRC Technology Enhanced Learning project "ECHOES2" and site leader of 4 recent EC FP7 projects. I started 2 new EPSRC projects in 2015, and a Horizon 2020 project on socially intelligent robots  in 2016 (MuMMER project).


  • QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
  • Robotics & Autonomous Systems


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  • Amazon Alexa Challenge

    Rieser, Verena (Recipient) & Lemon, Oliver (Recipient), 2016

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)