PhD University of Sheffield (UK Students)

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Website neuroshef University of Sheffield

Closing date: 29th June

Fully funded Project: Modelling Cognitive Decline: Large Data in Psychology and Medical Science

University of Sheffield – Department of Psychology

The project will be supervised by Dr. Nemanja Vaci, Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, and Dr. Merim Bilalić, Professor in Cognitive Psychology at the Northumbria University Newcastle.

Up to 20% of people aged over 65 experience strong declines in memory, problem-solving abilities, and speed of processing – clinically defined as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). With an ageing population on the rise, there is an urgent need to identify who is at risk of MCI, how associated decline can be slowed and how to support dementia patients. Dementia research is expected to receive benefits from building proficient statistical models on large volumes of data. From the utilisation of electronic health records to identifying markers of cognitive declines in records of everyday behaviours, big data can enable timelier diagnosis, better prevention strategies, and care once dementia is diagnosed. In this project, we will utilise big datasets that collect measures of cognitive performance and routinely collected clinical information to investigate factors that protect age-related changes. The project is planned to encompass analysis of large datasets with advanced statistical and machine learning procedures (e.g. nonlinear mixed-effect models, neural networks developed for unstructured and structured data).

Essential attributes:

Applicants should have an excellent relevant undergraduate degree and have (or be undertaking) an MSc/MEng in Psychology, Data Science, Machine Learning, Computer Science, or similar with significant statistical/data science component.

  • Strong motivation, as well as creative and problem-solving skills
  • Good written and oral communication skills

Desirable attributes:

Previous experience working with large data in the domains of Psychology or medical sciences

Application checklist:

  • CV
  • 2 Academic references
  • A personal statement (this should include a) brief description of your relevant experience and skills, b) motivation for working on this type of questions, c) how this project will benefit your career).

How to apply:

Please apply online via the Postgraduate Online application system,

You do not need to include a research proposal in your application, but your supporting personal statement should cover the reasons for applying, and how your experiences set you up well to take on the project.

For informal enquiries please get in touch with Dr. Nemanja Vaci,

To apply for this job please visit

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