Fully funded full-time PhD studentship

Location: UCL Ear Institute
Closing Date: July 15th, 2019

Assessing and optimising audiovisual integration for listening 

Applications are invited for a fully funded full-time PhD studentship at the UCL Ear Institute, co-supervised by Prof. Jennifer Bizley and Dr Hannah Cooper.

Background

Being able to see a talker’s face provides both phonetic information, through lip movements (“speech reading”, Sumby and Pollack 1954), and rhythmic cues that allow listeners to better track that voice in a mixture of other competing sounds (Maddox, Atilgan, Bizley & Lee, eLife, 2015).  The goal of this studentship is to develop methods that allow us to identify listeners who currently show poor audiovisual integration and use targeted training strategies to enhance their ability to benefit from informative visual cues when listening in noise.  The student will develop a standardised measure for the benefit that seeing a talker’s face provides to speech reception thresholds in the presence of a competing talker.  Subsequently, we will use this paradigm to determine to what extent participants with hearing loss will benefit more from visualising a talker’s face when listening in noise and to assess the efficacy of training paradigms to enhance audiovisual integration.

Key requirements: The successful PhD candidate will be involved in planning/programming of experiments, recruiting and testing subjects, collecting and analysing data, reporting the results for publication and writing a thesis. The student will be expected to act as a demonstrator for our degree programmes in Audiology for 180 hours a year.

To apply:  Please send a covering letter (detailing why you would like to apply, motivation, interest and suitability for the PhD research programme) and CV to Jennifer Bizley j.bizley@ucl.ac.uk. Informal inquiries can be directed to Jennifer Bizley and Hannah Cooper hannah.cooper@ucl.ac.uk.  The deadline for applications is Monday 15th July, with interviews taking place in late July. 

Funding Notes

Funding for this three year studentship comes from the UCL NIHR BRC Hearing Theme and the UCL Ear Institute. The student will receive a tax-free stipend and fee payment at the home/UK rate. Demonstrating will be paid at an hourly rate in addition to the stipend.

NIHR UCL/H BRC Deafness and Hearing Problems Theme

The Deafness and Hearing Problems Theme was established within the NIHR UCL/H BRC in 2017 http://www.uclhospitals.brc.nihr.ac.uk/deafness-and-hearing .The BRC Deafness and Hearing Problems Theme builds on the unique partnership of the UCL Ear Institute and the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, which provides the infrastructure and excellence to deliver world-leading translational research in the field of hearing loss.  Researchers within the Theme collaborate across four main areas to develop and deliver targeted and transformative therapies to prevent or alleviate deafness and hearing problems and to regenerate the hearing system.

UCL Ear Institute

The UCL Ear Institute, a state-of-the-art research institute within UCL’s Faculty of Brain Sciences, brings exceptional discovery scientists and excellent clinicians together on one site with a unified goal of understanding hearing and fighting hearing loss https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ear/.  Research at the Ear Institute is truly interdisciplinary and collaborative enabling individual researchers to pool their expertise.  In addition, partnerships with other departments, centres and institutes both at UCL and across the world ensure that research at the Ear Institute is world-leading and at the cutting edge.