Skip to main content

Postgraduate research project

Multimodal large language models for audio-aware argument extraction

Fully funded (UK only)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

For any democratic society, access to news and engaging in online debate are critical for the public to shape opinions and make informed decisions. Modern consumption has moved away from traditional broadcaster mediated content and towards unmoderated social media.

 In these unmoderated environments, accurate and balanced arguments are directly challenged by the proliferation of misinformation, toxicity, and polarised viewpoints. Use of multimodal Natural Language Processing (NLP) can scale up our ability to extract arguments from online content, both to see key issues and evidence and helping online moderators facilitate healthier online discourse.

The last two years have seen dramatic advances in Large Language Models (LLMs), both for text and multi-modal NLP applications. You will explore how the latest deep learning-based LLM’s can use methods such as chain-of-thought prompting to extract argument components, such as premise, claim and cited evidence, from politician and influencer online video content.

 You will build a novel LLM architecture that can also directly exploit audio features, such as emotional rhetoric and speech style, so models attend to implicit as well as explicit cues in target videos. You will explore a range of attention algorithms, as well as multi-task training using both audio and text task objectives.

Your work will be aligned with the Rebooting Democracy project to give opportunities for collaboration with a large inter-disciplinary team and maximise impact.

You will join the School of Electronics and Computer Science, ranked 1st in the UK for Electrical and Electronic Engineering. We’ll also support the development of your future career and give you opportunities including:

  • teaching assistantships
  • professional networking via leading organizations like Alan Turing Institute
  • £31M RAI UK Hub
  • access to Future Worlds to explore commercialization of your research

The University of Southampton and its School of Electronics & Computer Science promote equality, diversity, and inclusivity, as demonstrated by our Athena SWAN awards. We also offer benefits for employees' well-being and work-life balance and are committed to sustainability with the Platinum EcoAward. We deeply encourage submissions from applicants from underrepresented communities and welcome applicants that value diversity and are willing to play their part in supporting inclusivity.

Prospective candidates are invited to apply soon, as we will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis.