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Research Associate

King's College London - Informatics

Location: London
Salary: £32,676 to £42,652 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance. Grade 5/6
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 5th October 2021
Closes: 24th October 2021
Job Ref: 033627
 

Building and Campus: Bush House Building, Strand Campus

Contact: Dr Petr Slovak; petr.slovak@kcl.ac.uk 

Job description

Job description

Dr Slovak's group is seeking a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher or research assistant with a strong background in Human-Computer Interaction or Computer Science, as part of the newly awarded £1.2 million UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (https://petrslovak.com/flf/).  The successful candidate will be mentored jointly by Dr Slovak, Prof Max Van Kleek (Oxford), and Prof Nic Marquardt (UCL). 
 
The project will envision, develop, and test new technologically-enabled interventions in the context of child mental health. Such innovative approaches are sorely needed: more than 1 in 10 children and young people (aged 5-16 years) in the UK have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet only 30% have had appropriate intervention at a sufficiently early age, and less than half of those improve from the treatment.
 
The overarching goal of this project is to conceptualise, develop, and deploy a new class of mental health interventions that—in contrast to the current workshop and classroom based approaches—are fully embedded in the lives of children and their families through connected, embedded toys, sensors, and devices. As an example, PI's prior work led to an interactive socially-assistive robot (‘smart toy’), which has since been commercialised (purrble.com) by the largest social-emotional developer in the US (Committee for Children). This serves as an initial proof-of-concept showcasing the possibility of the envisioned intervention model, as well as the appeal and benefits of such new interventions.
 
Since the project started in January 2021, the team has secured a further round of funding (as part of a £4 million MRC programme grant) and has active collaborations with leading researchers across Oxford, Stanford, Michigan, UW, Nottingham, KCL, and other universities world-wide.
 
The postdoctoral researcher will take a lead on the technical design and development of innovative mental health interventions across two case study contexts—emotion regulation and parenting interventions—working directly with the PI and another HCI postdoctoral fellow as relevant. The successful candidate will help translate identified user needs into innovative technology infrastructures (relying on embedded/IoT systems); rapidly create hardware/software prototypes to test the intervention effects; and translate successful prototypes into production-worthy open source projects that can be taken up by the HCI and clinical psychology communities. Grade 6 (i.e., postdoctoral) candidates will be also expected to lead the preparation and dissemination of results at top venues in HCI. 
 
This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 30 months.
 
This is a full-time  post - 100% full time equivalent.

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