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MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership: Multimodal Intelligent Neural Interfaces for Early Detection and Treatment of Post-stroke Dementia

   MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership

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  Dr M Arvaneh, Dr Dan Blackburn  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The prevalence of stroke will double in 20 years. Almost a quarter of people who have stroke will develop signs of dementia after three to six months. The need for improving assessment, monitoring, and treating post-stroke cognitive impairment and dementia is listed 2nd in the top 10 priorities for stroke rehabilitation by The UK Stroke Association.

This timely project aims to address this growing global challenge by improving the early detection and treatment of post-stroke dementia. This project has two main objectives:

- Improve early diagnosis of dementia in stroke survivors by developing a multimodal, wearable, and intelligent assessment tool, consisting of computerised cognitive tests, brain recordings from a low-density EEG system, and CognoSpeaK [1] (our newly developed intelligent tool that automatically measures cognitive function by analysing speech)

- Explore the feasibility, acceptability and usability of our newly developed P300-based brain-computer interface game [2] for improving cognitive performance in stroke survivors with and without mild cognitive impairment.

To achieve the above-mentioned objectives, you will require to design and conduct experimental research, collect longitudinal data from stroke patients, process the collected data, and develop machine learning algorithms to identify robust biomarkers that could accurately monitor cognitive function and predict its failure in advance.

You will work in Brain-computer Interface group at University of Sheffield. Our group is uniquely multidisciplinary and diverse, integrating exceptional research programs that span bioengineering, data science and clinical, experimental and computational neuroscience. The research vision of our group is to develop brain-directed therapies and tools for improving human’s cognitive and physical performance.  

You will participate in a highly interdisciplinary project and interact and collaborate with system engineers, computer scientists, neuroscientist and medical doctors. You will receive broad range of training in our team, including EEG data recording and processing, statistical analysis, machine learning on biological data, ethics in research and data management, as well as scientific writing and presentation. You also have the opportunity to gain unique skills on commercialising biomedical devices.

Applicants with either an undergraduate honours degree or MSc (Merit or Distinction) in engineering, neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science are encouraged to apply. If you are interested in this research, and are unsure about whether you have the right background, please get in touch. The project can be adjusted based on your interests and experiences.

For more details please see:



Benefits of being in the DiMeN DTP:

This project is part of the Discovery Medicine North Doctoral Training Partnership (DiMeN DTP), a diverse community of PhD students across the North of England researching the major health problems facing the world today. Our partner institutions (Universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, York and Sheffield) are internationally recognised as centres of research excellence and can offer you access to state-of the-art facilities to deliver high impact research.

We are very proud of our student-centred ethos and committed to supporting you throughout your PhD. As part of the DTP, we offer bespoke training in key skills sought after in early career researchers, as well as opportunities to broaden your career horizons in a range of non-academic sectors.

Being funded by the MRC means you can access additional funding for research placements, international training opportunities or internships in science policy, science communication and beyond. See how our current DiMeN students have benefited from this funding here: https://www.dimen.org.uk/blog

Further information on the programme and how to apply can be found on our website:


Funding Notes

Studentships are fully funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) for 4yrs. Funding will cover tuition fees, stipend and project costs. We also aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of full studentships to international applicants. Please read additional guidance here: https://www.dimen.org.uk/eligibility-criteria
Studentships commence: 1st October 2023
Good luck!


[1] https://cognospeak.github.io/website/
[2] Arvaneh M, Robertson IH, Ward TE. A p300-based brain-computer interface for improving attention. Frontiers in human neuroscience. 2019 Jan 4;12:524.
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