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PhD Studentship - Vision-based Artificial Intelligence and Social Network Analysis for Early Prediction of Disease from Cattle Behaviours and Interactions

University of Bristol - Bristol Veterinary School and Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bristol
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Stipend and fees, see advert details
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 18th November 2021
Closes: 6th December 2021

Location: University of Bristol and University of the West of England, Bristol

Salary/stipend: Standard BBSRC stipend rate

Hours: Full time

Contract (temp/perm): Contact/temporary

Closing date: 6th December 2021, Midnight

The project:

Social network data now gives us unprecedented means to research human and animal behaviour, and recently has found much value in the early prediction of mental health disorders and degenerative disease. Human behaviour in the general environment is extremely complex, so there is much potential in investigating more structured animal environments where we have found evidence that social activity subtly changes even under mild (subclinical) infection (https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2020-20047).

This PhD project is aimed at developing vision-based artificial intelligence(AI)  techniques to build dynamic social networks to understand changes in social dynamics associated with early and chronic subclinical disease in cows. This studentship will combine and extend our AI methods (https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.09205 and https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compind.2018.02.016) and the underlying behavioural science to develop a system that tracks individuals and classifies their social interactions.

The studentship would suit either computational student interested in social network analysis, or someone with biosciences expertise who wishes to build up artificial intelligence skills – a tailored training package will be developed to suit. The student will be based 50%/50% at two leading, geographically close institutes – Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of West of England with Dr Mark Hansen and Professor Melvyn Smith, and Bristol Veterinary School at the University of Bristol, with data scientist Professor Andrew Dowsey, behavioural scientist Dr Suzanne Held, computer vision expert Dr Tilo Burghardt and Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group Lead  Professor Mike Mendl.

This studentship will start in September 2022.

How to apply:

This studentship is part of the BBSRC SWBio Doctoral Training Partnership (https://www.swbio.ac.uk/). Please apply from https://www.swbio.ac.uk/programme/projects-available/.

Candidate requirements:

Please see https://www.swbio.ac.uk/programme/eligibility/ for conditions specific to this funding.

Standard University of Bristol eligibility rules for PhD admissions also apply. Please visit http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/2022/health-sciences/phd-veterinary-sciences/ for more information.

Funding: For eligible students (see above), funding is available to cover tuition fees and UKRI Doctoral Stipend (£15,609 p.a. for 2021/22, updated each year) for 4 years. An enhanced stipend is available for eligible students with a recognised veterinary degree (£24,090 p.a. for 2021-2022). Research training budget will also be provided to supervisors.

International students are eligible to apply for this funding but must cover relocation costs by themselves. The details are available at https://www.swbio.ac.uk/programme/eligibility/. We will also consider competitive self-funded applications (both UK and international) supported by external funders: https://www.swbio.ac.uk/programme/how-to-apply/external-funded-applicants/.

Contacts: Andrew Dowsey (andrew.dowsey@bristol.ac.uk)

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