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  Natural Language Processing for Public Health Surveillance

   Computer Science

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  Dr Matloob Khushi  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The sale of sugary products is still strong, despite the recommendations to reduce their consumption. When children consume too much sugar, they can suffer from obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is why health organisations recommend parents reduce their children's consumption of sugary products. One barrier to successfully reducing the sale of unhealthy products like chocolates & sugary drinks is aggressive marketing by companies producing them through ads on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Ads show people happiness, laughter and pleasure associated with their products and people feel compelled to provide such items at their events and this drives sales in a thriving industry. Social media has emerged as a distinctive marketing avenue for such an unhealthy industry. There is an urgent need to evaluate and address unhealthy marketing on social media to improve public health and nutrition.

Social media has become an important platform for health professionals to promote healthy living. However, the presence of unhealthy foods and food advertising on social media are causing concern among health professionals. This study will examine strategies and approaches of both industries that promote unhealthy choices and healthy diet promotion by health professionals on social media to identify knowledge gaps.

We shall employ deep learning and data mining technologies to examine the role of social media in the commercial promotion of unhealthy products through a public health lens. The PhD candidate will novel deep learning-based algorithms to extract knowledge from the text.

Our previous publications in this space can be read here.

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.

Computer Science (8)

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 About the Project