Long Document Summarisation through Propositional-Level Comprehension

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary, tuition fees, additional allowances

Duration: Full-time – 4 full years fixed term

Application deadline: October 2023

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2024

For further details contact: Dr Xiaoriu Jiang

Project details

Long document summarisation has many applications such as digital journalism, legal document understanding etc. While much progress has been made to text summarisation, large research gap exists for long text summarisation because the length limits of existing large language models make it challenging to capture the latent structure and long-distance interactions between text units. To mimic human summarisation process, multi-stage approaches first extract salient contents and then generate summary sentences based on extracted contents. However, the issues above are not fully solved, causing incoherence and hallucination in generated summaries.

This project aims to develop novel solutions for long text summarisation by extracting and representing the text structure and by modelling the process of text comprehension. We call this paradigm summarisation through comprehension. Methodologically, summarisation is similar to comprehension, first by information filtering, then by information synthesis. Cognitive scientists believe that comprehension is to reason over a coherent representation of text meaning, basically a propositional network of facts in the text, which provides both the cognitive basis and computational basis of salient content extraction and coherent and consistent summary generation. Meanwhile, we will study the effective ways of modelling the explicit and latent structure of long text into the summarization algorithm.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a 4-year collaborative studentship which requires the candidate to spend two full years based at Coventry University (UK) and two years based at an A*Star Research Institute (Singapore). The usual pattern is first and fourth years at Coventry and second and third year at an A*Star Research Institute.

Coventry University and A*Star will only cover the stipend up to a maximum of two years each. Changes to the mobility pattern will only be considered under exceptional circumstances and can impact on the duration of the course and level of funding available. Should a candidate request any changes to mobility which results in the period spent in either the UK or Singapore extending beyond two years then the candidate is responsible for covering the stipend for that period.


Bursary (£18,622 p/a), tuition fees, and additional allowances.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

How to apply

Please contact the Director of Studies, Dr Xiaoriu Jiang in the first instance along with sending your degree document and CV.

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