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Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Assistance Dogs for People with Epilepsy

Applications are invited for a 24-month Post-doctoral Research Fellow position as part of the NeuroInsight Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Action for Postdoctoral Fellowships.

NeuroInsight is a collaboration between the FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases and the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics.

The award will provide for salary (indicative range €42-52K plus allowances depending on host and applicant status), research costs, training and career development programme. For detailed information on the opportunity, eligibility and the application process please see the call documentation on www.neuroinsight.eu

As part of the NeuroInsight application process, applicants are invited to submit their proposed research program for their Fellowship and to have agreed supervision from a NeuroInsight supervisor. The research program can be based on the applicant's own ideas, ideas from potential supervisor(s), or a combination. In this listing I suggest an idea as a starting point for a potential applicant to build in to their own proposal under the programme themes, and I am open to other similar proposals from suitable candidates.

Assistance dogs are often used by those with physical conditions to support their daily lives, and we know that they become highly attuned to their owner’s behaviours. Some dogs are known to be able to detect the onset of an epileptic seizure but training assistance dogs so as to communicate to the outside world, their detection of the onset of a seizure is difficult.

We have all become used to the raw data that wearable sensors can provide us – heart rate and activity intensity for example. When we apply machine learning and other AI techniques to this raw data then we can get higher level interpretations such as step counts, caloric expenditure or recognition of activity types like walking, running, swimming, etc.

I would like to explore how far we could go with simple sensors worn by assistance dogs, to automatically detect their trained responses to their human charges, in particular to the onset of an epileptic seizure, in real time. The basic idea which is a starting point, brings together patient needs for those with epilepsy, animal behaviour of assistance dogs, and machine learning and data analytics for automatic detection of dog behaviour.

The starting point brings together a broad spread of research areas and it is not necessary that a successful applicant will have expertise in all of these areas since we will be able to use the resources of FutureNeuro and of Insight to support the project. For example, we can provide access to both the clinical and the assistance dog aspects of such a project as well as to expertise in machine learning.

Prior to application, interested applicants should contact the proposer for further discussion.

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