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Design of digital technology and machine learning solutions for mental health


   Design

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The significant societal and economic impact of mental health conditions worldwide is well documented. With a growing awareness of mental health, the pressing need to streamline access to sustainable care services is now an imperative. Whereas digital technologies have, in principle, the potential to address these issues, a set of challenges that are more user-centred than technical in nature need to be overcome, as they represent the key obstacle in design and acceptance of technology advancement.

This project will fill a knowledge gap by elucidating key factors influencing user attitudes towards digital technology, with an emphasis on solutions enabled by machine learning, in relation to mental health care. It will lay the foundations for an ambitious long-term programme of user engagement and technology development to the benefit of patients and care professionals.

The successful candidate will take responsibility for design, planning, execution, and evaluation of a range of activities with end users (general public, patients, and care professionals, as appropriate). The selected candidate will play a key role in understanding opportunities and barriers towards inclusive access to digitally-enhanced mental health care services.

The ideal candidate’s profile combines proficiency in state-of-the-art user-centred design processes with technical competency in relation to Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning in particular. 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. They will have access to a broad network of relevant stakeholders and will benefit from a range of support services that Brunel University London offers to their Doctoral Researchers, including professional skills and career development support.

For informal enquiries about the research project, please email .

Research journey

Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Brunel

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students. 

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

Careers support

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.


Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: View Website. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

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