Anxiety, depression, and psychological distress can have a severe impact on university student quality of life and academic performance, and recent studies have highlighted the role that the COVID-19 pandemic has played in exacerbating symptoms. It has been recognised that universities are best positioned to lead on the development of systems of integrated support, recommendations including the provision of efficient links with external care providers and an increase of student awareness of on-campus services. However, comparatively little research has focussed on developing structured and scalable approaches towards the detection of early signs of psychological distress in university students.
The project will fill this gap by adopting state-of-the-art user-centred design processes to investigate opportunities and barriers towards implementing scalable methods of detecting early signs of psychological distress based on multimodal student data, including bio-signals. A proof-of-concept prototype for data collection and processing will be developed based on an existing health data logging platform.
The successful candidate will take responsibility of designing, running, and evaluating a range of activities with end users (e.g. university students and staff, as appropriate). He/she will also be in charge of developing a working prototype for data collection, visualisation, and processing.
The ideal candidate’s profile combines proficiency in user-centred design processes with technical competency in relation to a broad range of computer science techniques, including data integration across resources. Familiarity with data collection using wearable devices and with probabilistic inference methods, e.g. relying on machine learning models, will be advantageous. A Masters’ degree is desired but not essential.
The successful candidate will work in the Brunel Design School and will be supervised by Dr Federico Colecchia, who specialises in emerging technologies and innovation at the intersection between technical development and user-centred design. The researcher will work in a stimulating interdisciplinary academic setting and will collaborate closely with the Brunel Division of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences and with the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde.
For informal enquiries about the research, please email Federico.Colecchia@brunel.ac.uk.
Supervisors: Dr Federico Colecchia, Brunel Design School; Dr Daniel Bailey, Brunel Department of Life Sciences; Prof Feng Dong (external supervisor), Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde
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