Application Form
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in NLP+ML [PD_NLPML_TCD_CG]

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in NLP+ML [PD_NLPML_TCD_CG]

Level:Postdoctoral Researcher
POSTED:January 10, 2023
LOCATION:Trinity College Dublin
Duration:Specific Purpose
Reports to:Dr Claire Gillan
Salary:€40,583
Closing Date:January 31, 2023

Post Summary

The Gillan Lab at Trinity College Dublin (www.gillanlab.com) is looking for a postdoctoral fellow to work on an exciting project that applies natural language processing, machine learning and network analysis methods to help understand how psychotherapy works, ask fundamental questions about the nature of depression, and help digital providers use basic science insights to deliver personalised and more effective care.

The role is for 3 years in duration and arises from a partnership between Woebot Health (https://woebothealth.com/) and the Gillan lab. The successful candidate will enjoy a dual role within the industry and university organisations, with a 90/10 Trinity/Woebot split.

The postdoctoral fellow will work closely with Dr Gillan and key team members in the Gillan lab and at Woebot, collaborating on data processing, analysis, validation and dissemination. There is considerable scope for input in design of research questions that fall within the remit of using data science to refine digital psychotherapy interventions. The work will build on recent work from the Gillan Lab using natural language on social media to understand depression dynamics (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-28513-3), extending these principles to clinical data with a clear pathway to real-world impact.

The postdoc will join a growing team of PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and technical staff (e.g. app developers) in the Gillan lab and will participate in regular lab meetings, learn about diverse methodologies in mental health science and have the opportunity to attend international conferences annually. Although the postdoc will be primarily employed at Trinity College Dublin, they will additionally avail of a range of resources and opportunities to participate in corporate events at Woebot.

Woebot Health was founded on the following principles:

  1. Behavioral Health For Everyone: We believe that like physical fitness, emotional fitness is something that people can actively cultivate on a daily basis. Creating a cultural shift in this direction is a crucial pathway towards tackling the mental health
  2. Academic Rigor By Design: We are committed to demonstrating outcomes and contributing to the field. In addition, we apply best practices from human subjects research to our users and the protection of their
  3. Humans First: We practice human-centered product design principles. In essence, we listen to our users as well as pay attention to and design for their lived experience of mental health problems.

Standard Duties and Responsibilities of the Post

The research fellow will be responsible for data cleaning and aggregation of time series of text interactions between client and the Woebot platform, necessary for analysis. They will maintain the highest of security and privacy standards in line with Woebot and Trinity College Dublin data protection policies and procedures. The postdoc will additionally take a leading role in research design and implementation of analysis plans on aggregate data, with a central goal of using real-world language data to improve our understanding and treatment of depression and related conditions. In addition, postdocs will participate fully in lab life, attending regular meetings and collaborating with other lab members. As a senior role in the lab, the ideal candidate will be mature, responsible and show readiness for leadership.

On completion of this post, it is envisioned that the postdoctoral fellow will have gained the organisational, technical and leadership skills necessary for making the transition to Principal Investigator of their own laboratory. That means that during their time in the lab, they will be expected to assist in the supervision of junior team members and will be encouraged to apply for independent research funding and will become increasingly autonomous over the course of their tenure in the lab. Though not required, postdocs will have the opportunity to take on some light teaching if they wish.

Crucially, candidates will simultaneously be prepared for a future in industry. Due to the dual appointment at Woebot, the postdoc will gain experience of data science in industry, and learn by proximity about agile practices (sprints, etc), user interface design, user feedback and product development activities at Woebot.

Funding Information

This position is funded by the SFI ADAPT Centre and Woebot Health

Person Specification Qualifications

  • PhD in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, computer science or a related field

If the PhD is not in psychology, additional domain-relevant experience is essential

Knowledge & Experience (Essential & Desirable)

  • Experimental/research design (essential)
  • Manipulating large unstructured datasets (essential)
  • Time series analysis methods (essential)
  • Dissemination (e.g. publications, oral presentations, posters) (essential)
  • Clear and transparent scientific practices (e.g. code sharing, preprints, data availability) (essential)
  • Core foundation in mental health science (Essential)
  • Skills & Competencies
  • Strong data analysis skills, using python, R or similar (essential)
  • Inferential statistics (essential)
  • Natural language processing (desired)
  • Machine Learning (desired)
  • Network Analysis (desired)

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit a full Curriculum Vitae, covering letter, and the names and contact details of 2 referees (including email addresses) via the following form: https://forms.gle/BDpwWgUtjKCxY1E9A 

Further Information for Applicants

URL Link to Area www.tcd.ie
URL Link to Human Resources https://www.tcd.ie/hr/

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