PhD Studentship - Ambient Monitoring of Speech for Evidence of Cognitive Decline

Aston University - Engineering and Applied Science

Contract Type: Fixed Term (for 3 years)

Closing Date: 23.59 hours GMT on Tuesday 31 October 2017

Interview Date: To be confirmed

Ambient monitoring of speech for evidence of cognitive decline

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year Aston University PhD studentship in Digital Health. The student will be working within the Computer Science group in Aston University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science under the supervision of Professor Pete Sawyer. The successful applicant will join a small, world-leading team investigating the role of crowdsourcing in contemporary software development.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £14,553 in 2017/18 (subject to eligibility).

This application is only available to Home/EU students.

Background of the Project

Among the cognitive impairments associated with dementia is change to the way that affected people use language. Changes reported in previous longitudinal studies by different teams of researchers include: reduced vocabulary, reduction in grammatical complexity, changes in the ratio of different parts of speech, changes in the use of passive voice and reductions in propositional idea density. Such change in language can be manifest in written text but is believed to be detectable earlier in the development of cognitive decline in speech, where the cognitive load on the speaker to formulate sentences in real time (e.g. as part of a dialogue) is higher than when writing. The project will investigate the development of an ambient system for diagnosing cognitive decline from the longitudinal analysis of speech, perhaps captured using one of the modern generation of speech-activated IoT devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Computer Science, Software Engineering or similar.

For informal enquiries about this project and other opportunities within the Systems Analytics Research Institute contact Professor Pete Sawyer

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available here.

Applications should also be accompanied by a brief review (2 pages) of relevant research literature appropriate for this project area.

Details of how to write your project proposal are also included in the How to Apply section.

Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



Midlands of England