PhD Studentships available at the University of Hertfordshire (2018 openings)

A limited number of studentships are available for exceptional candidates in particular areas (approximately £14,550 per annum bursary plus the payment of the student fees). Applicants from outside the UK or EU are eligible.

Our school: Research in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire has been recognized as excellent in the REF 2014, with 50% of the research submitted rated as internationally excellent or world leading.

The Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research provides a very stimulating environment, offering a large number of specialised and interdisciplinary seminars as well as general training and researcher development opportunities. The University of Hertfordshire is situated in Hatfield, in the green belt just north of London.

The following topics are available for students to apply under my supervision.

A- Adaptive therapeutic HRI

Prior work of researchers in our group has established methods to identify fatigue using EMG and EEG sensing. The next natural step, theme of this studentship, is to explore the link between fatigue and kinematic parameters recorded by the HapticMASTER robot, and also work on using fatigue as a potential input in the robot control loop with a goal to optimise treatment protocol.

Requirements: Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Computer Science, Biomechanics or other relevant area, and are expected to have strong interdisciplinary interests (e.g. in robotics, rehabilitation, neuroscience). They are also expected to have very good programming skills and interest in robotics.

B- Games and therapeutic interaction

Prior research in our group has focused on developing games for the purpose of rehabilitation. While this is shown to work, it has a limited reach due to diverse set of game preferences in the patient population. The PhD research in this studentship considers turning everyday games into serious games by designing an interface between the two. It addresses the shortcoming that many entertainment games are designed with an able user in mind, and hence are inaccessible to the patients or people with disabilities. Such an interface would in-turn enable different ranges of abilities to interact with games, and hence, have a larger set of games for therapeutic exercise.

Requirements: Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Computer Science, Biomechanics or other relevant area, Candidates are expected to have very good programming skills and strong game design interest (e.g. prior familiarity with Unity, JMonkey or UNREAL engines).

C- Safe interactions between humans and autonomous systems

Prior work of researchers in our group has focused on the assessment of safety-critical systems, including autonomous vehicles. The open question for a PhD studentship in this area is to determine under what circumstances it is safe for control of an autonomous system to transit between the human user and the system itself. This will require the identification of empowerment information, this being the minimum set of information needed for situational awareness. Application will be to a selected domain, which may include automotive, defence or nuclear.

Requirements: Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics or other relevant area, and are expected to have strong interdisciplinary interests (e.g. in robotics, human factors, neuroscience). They are also expected to have very good analytical skills and an interest in industrial applications of research.

D- Human and activity detection in ambient-assisted living scenarios

Our previous work in ACCOMPANY project (accompanyproject.eu) and recent collaboration with the North Hertfordshire County Council, focuses on person and activity detection in ambient assisted living scenarios. The next natural progression in this work is to improve on the technological readiness of systems for deployment in supervised and unsupervised settings. This involves working on detection algorithms fidelity, as well as user interfaces for the triad of care, the person under care, their relatives and the service provider.

Requirements: Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Computer Science, Electronics, or other relevant area, Candidates are expected to have very good programming skills and prior experience in using ambient sensors and mobile robotic devices. Experiences and research interest in multi-sensory fusion is a bonus.

Informal contact before application: the PhDs will be conducted under Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian’s supervision and candidates are invited to informally contact f.amirabdollahian2@herts.ac.uk. PhD topic C will be co-supervised by Dr Catherine Menon.

Application: Your application form should be returned to:

Mrs Lorraine Nicholls
Research Student Administrator,
STRI
University of Hertfordshire,
College Lane
Hatfield, Herts,
AL10 9AB
tel: +44 (0)1707 286083
l.nicholls@herts.ac.uk

Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees. We accept applications for self-funded places throughout the year.

Deadlines: The next short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on 8 January 2018 with an expected start date of 1st of March 2018.

New PhD students in Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics Team

The following new team members have joined us recently:

  • Miss Udeshika Dissanayake, researching in the area of rehabilitation robots and QEEG feedback
  • Miss Bernadette Iyawe, researching in the area of designing assistive and haptic affordances for the blind and partially sighted
  • Mr Sudhir Sharma, researching serious games and robotics for rehabilitation
  • Mr Azeemsha Thacham Poyil, researching combining robotics with EMG and QEEG

Application of motor control models in upper limb performance assessment and development of adaptive interfaces

Description: Fitts (1954) presented a model for human psychomotor behaviour for rapid aimed movements. The model provides an index of performance that could be used for analysing performance when aiming at targets. This model has been studied by different groups including MacKenzie (1992) who applied the model to human-computer interfaces. This PhD is aimed at incorporating Fitts model and MacKenzie’s method to assess human performance and compare between healthy individuals and those with impairments caused by some conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Furthermore, it will focus on not only assessing and predicting, but also developing adaptive models that can make the interface easier to use for different user groups.

Requirements:
Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Computer Science, Biomechanics or other relevant area, and are expected to have strong interdisciplinary interests (e.g. in robotics, rehabilitation, neuroscience). They are also expected to have very good programming skills.
The PhD will be conducted under Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian and Dr Steuber’s supervision and candidates are invited to informally contact Dr Amirabdollahian.

Applications: application forms can be found here.

Further information and an application form can be obtained from Mrs Lorraine Nicholls, Research Student Administrator, STRI, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Tel: 01707 286083, email: l.nicholls@herts.ac.uk.

Alternatively, follow the link to online applications, download the file and email to Mrs Nichols. Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees.  The short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on 9 June 2014.

Deadline: Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees. The short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on 9 June 2014.

PhD Studentship in Rehabilitation Robotics and Computational Neuroscience

We invite applications for a PhD studentship in the Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research at the University of Hertfordshire. The project will involve the design of adaptive rehabilitation and assistive robotics systems that are based on computational models of the cerebellum. For informal enquiries contact Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian (f.amirabdollahian2@herts.ac.uk) or Dr Volker Steuber (v.steuber@herts.ac.uk). More information can be found on our webpages:

http://homepages.stca.herts.ac.uk/~fa08aap/ (Amirabdollahian)

http://homepages.stca.herts.ac.uk/~comqvs/ (Steuber)

and in our publications, for example:

  • Reinoud Maex and Volker Steuber (2013). An integrator circuit in cerebellar cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience 38, 2917-32.
  • Radhika Chemuturi, Farshid Amirabdollahian and Kerstin Dautenhahn (2013). Adaptive training algorithm for robot-assisted upper-arm rehabilitation, applicable to individualised and therapeutic human-robot interaction. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation 10:102.
  • Volker Steuber and Dieter Jaeger (2012). Modeling the generation of output by the cerebellar nuclei. Neural Networks 47, 112-119.
  • Farshid Amirabdollahian and Garth Johnson (2011). Analysis of the results from use of haptic peg-in-hole task for assessment in neurorehabilitation. Journal of Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 8, 1-11.
  • Jason Rothman, Laurence Cathala, Volker Steuber and R. Angus Silver (2009). Synaptic depression enables neuronal gain control. Nature 457, 1015-1018.
  • Farshid Amirabdollahian, Rui Loureiro, Elizabeth Gradwell, Christine Collin, William Harwin, Garth Johnson (2007). Multivariate Analysis of the Fugl-Meyer Outcome Measures Assessing the Effectiveness of the GENTLE/S Robot-Mediated Stroke Therapy. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation 4:4.

Applicants should have excellent computational and numerical skills and a good first degree in computer science, maths, physics, neuroscience, or a related discipline. Successful candidates are eligible for a research studentship award from the University (approximately GBP 13,600 per annum bursary plus the payment of the standard UK student fees). Applicants from outside the UK or EU are eligible, but will have to pay half of the overseas fees out of their bursary. Information about the current tuition fees can be found under http://www.herts.ac.uk/apply/fees-and-funding.

Research in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire has been recognized as excellent by the latest Research Assessment Exercise, with 55% of the research submitted being rated as world leading or internationally excellent. The Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research provides a very stimulating environment, offering a large number of specialized and interdisciplinary seminars as well as general training opportunities. The University of Hertfordshire is situated in Hatfield, in the green belt just north of London.

Application forms should be returned to Mrs Lorraine Nicholls, Research Student Administrator, STRI, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Tel: 01707 286083, l.nicholls @ herts.ac.uk. The short-listing process will begin on 20 February 2014.

Vice Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Research

Good news, I won the VC’s Award for “Excellence in Research” on Friday. It was a very humbling experience as a series of quotes obtained from my peers were read out during the award ceremony, extremely touching and inspiring. It was followed by a staff garden party and then a smaller party which made the event memorable for years to come.

I will share some photos of the award ceremony soon.

 

New PhD studentships available – deadline 7th June 2013

A limited number of studentships are available for exceptional candidates in particular areas (approximately £13,600 per annum bursary plus the payment of the standard UK/EU student fees). Applicants from outside the UK or EU are eligible, but will have to pay half of the overseas fees out of their bursary. Information about the current tuition fees can be found here.

Research in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire has been recognised as excellent by the latest Research Assessment Exercise, with 55% of the research submitted being rated as world leading or internationally excellent. The Science and Technology Research Institute provides a very stimulating environment, offering a large number of specialised and interdisciplinary seminars as well as general training or researcher development opportunities. The University of Hertfordshire is situated in Hatfield, just north of London.

Application forms should be returned to Mrs Lorraine Nicholls, Research Student Administrator, STRI, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, Tel: 01707 286083, l.nicholls @ herts.ac.uk. Applications should also include two references and transcripts of previous academic degrees. We accept applications for self-funded places throughout the year. The short-listing process for studentship applications will begin on 7 June 2013.

These two topics are available under my supervision:

Topic 1: Application of motor control models in upper limb performance assessment and development of adaptive interfaces

Fitts (1954) presented a model for human psychomotor behaviour for rapid aimed movements. The model provides an index of performance that could be used for analysing performance when aiming at targets. This model has been studied by different groups including MacKenzie (1992) who applied the model to human-computer interfaces. This PhD is aimed at incorporating Fitts model and MacKenzie’s method to assess human performance and compare between healthy individuals and those with impairments caused by some conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.

Furthermore, it will focus on not only assessing and predicting, but also developing adaptive models that can make the interface easier to use for different user groups.

Topic 2: Correlating muscle activity with performing therapeutic games using robots

An exciting area of research in this area relates to progressing robot-mediated therapy using information that can be obtained from EMG electrodes placed on upper limb muscles. This research continues the work of Mrs Radhika Chemuturi conducted with the GENTLE/A system. Radhika investigated the adaptive control for human-robot interaction using kinematic information provided by the robot. PhD research offered by this topic intends to utilise body worn sensors and electrodes alongside kinematics to provide a better estimation of human intention when performing upper limb activities. To support this, PhD candidates would need to develop multiple haptic games while also focusing on incorporating sensory information into game performance.

Technological Platform Used:

Both topics will utilise state of the art haptic devices such as PHANToM Omni, Falcon and HapticMASTER robot for the experimentations on motor control theories.

Requirements:

Applicants should have a very strong first degree or (preferably) a Master’s degree in Cybernetics, Computer Science, Biomechanics or other relevant area, and are expected to have strong interdisciplinary interests (e.g. in robotics, rehabilitation, neuroscience). They are also expected to have very good programming skills and interest in robotics.

The PhD will be conducted under my supervision and candidates are invited to informally contact f.amirabdollahian2@herts.ac.uk.

 

Two new post-doc positions and a project manager position available at UH

We have three new positions available, two full-time post-doctorate positions in adaptive rehabilitation robotics of elbow and wrist after stroke, and a full-time post for a project manager to manage two new incoming EC-funded projects.

Application deadline for these posts are 21 September 2011 and that application procedure and further information about the posts can be found on our human resources website (http://www.herts.ac.uk/jobs/home.cfm) with reference numbers 006129 (post-doc positions) and 006130 (project manager position).

Farshid