The Di Liberto-Lab at the University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD) is advertising: 1) a fully-funded PhD Studentship for a project in the areas of auditory neuroscience and neural data analysis (start Sept 2021); 2) a fully-funded MSc by Research Scholarship (start Sept 2021); and 3) a short-term research-assistant or post-doc position (main PI: Richard Reilly, School of Engineering; start: ASAP; end: Feb: 2022). Please see below for additional details on each position. I also welcome expressions of interest from students interested in applying for external funding to join our lab (please contact me at diliberg [at] tcd.ie with subject starting with “[Expression of interest]”).

PhD Studentship

Project title: “Investigating linguistic abstraction in multivariate neural data”
PI: Giovanni Di Liberto, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science and Statistics, TCD

Applications are invited for a fully-funded 4-year PhD student position in the Di Liberto-lab at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland. The project aims to better understand how the human brain transforms complex auditory sounds (e.g., speech and music) into abstract concepts. This work will be conducted with a preferred focus on human speech communication and methodologies that are partly theory-driven (e.g., from computational linguistics) and partly data-driven (e.g., electroencephalography). The details of the research project will be defined together with the successful candidate to make this the most interesting for both the student and the lab. The successful applicant will be based in the School of Computer Science and Statistics. Please contact me for further details on the studentship and the research project.

We are looking for candidates with:

  • Strong computational and signal processing skills, or interested in developing such skills
  • Strong interest in studying cognition and the human brain and, potentially, a background in cognitive science, neural engineering, or similar area
  • (Ideally) Prior experience with speech sound processing
  • (Ideally) Expertise in machine learning

  • Interested candidates should submit a CV and a brief cover letter (diliberg [at] tcd.ie), explaining in about 100-200 words their motivation in applying for this position. Please mention if you have particular research questions that you would like to pursue.

    The position is available until filled. Funding is available for EU-candidates only; however, I welcome expressions of interest with no geographical restrictions. The exact start-date will be defined according to the college academic year calendar (preferably the 1st September 2021).

    I also welcome expressions of interest from students interested in applying for external funding (e.g., PhD Scholarships) to join the lab next year. Please note that the submission deadline for some PhD Scholarship applications is often 1 year before the proposed start date.

    MSc by Research Scholarship

    Project title: “Investigating the impact of hearing-aid processing strategies on hierarchical speech processing”
    Main PI: Giovanni Di Liberto, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science and Statistics, TCD
    Academic partner: Alejandro Lopez Valdes, Assistant Professor, School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, TCD
    Industrial partner: Emina Alickovic, Research Engineer at Eriksholm Research Centre, Oticon A/S, Denmark, and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Linkoping University, Sweden
    Funded by: William Demant Foundation. Funding is available for EU-candidates only for this particular project.

    Project summary: Speech communication is impaired in individuals with hearing deficits. While hearing-aids can restore the ability to comprehend speech, their positive impact is greatly reduced in noisy multi-talker environments. To tackle this challenge, modern hearing-aids adopt amplification and noise reduction strategies that can increase comprehension in such real-life listening scenarios. However, the precise impact of those strategies on speech comprehension remains unclear, making the choice of the hearing-aid strategies and their parameter tuning challenging. One solution may be provided by the recent finding that neural signals recorded non-invasively with electroencephalography (EEG) during natural speech listening can be used to derive robust objective indices reflecting neural linguistic encoding. In this project, we aim to use such objective neural indices to determine the effect of hearing-aid strategies on the hierarchical processing of speech. In addition to providing us with novel important insights into the effect of hearing-aid strategies on the neural processing of speech, the natural speech listening task is suitable for the simplified identification of the optimal hearing-aid strategy in individual users. As such, this project will test the possibility of using EEG for the accurate and rapid tuning of hearing-aid devices.

    We are looking for candidates with:

  • Strong computational and signal processing skills
  • Strong interest in studying cognition and the human brain
  • (Ideally) Prior experience with speech sound processing

  • Interested candidates should submit a CV and a brief cover letter, explaining in about 100-200 words their motivation in applying for this position. Please contact Dr Di Liberto (diliberg [at] tcd.ie) or Dr Lopez Valdes (lopezvaa [at] tcd.ie) if you are interested in the position.

    The deadline for submitting applications is 11/07/2021, and shortlisting and interviews will take place shortly after that. The successful candidate will start the MSc by Research on the 1st September 2021.

    Short-term Research Assistant or Post-doc position

    Project title: “The electrophysiology of natural speech processing”
    Main PI: Richard Reilly, Professor, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, TCD
    Academic collaborator: Giovanni Di Liberto, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science and Statistics, TCD
    Funded by: Science Foundation Ireland, Career Development Award 15/CDA/3316

    Project summary: The PI, Richard Reilly, is expert in objective measurements of auditory perception in cochlear implant users. As part of this career development award, the research team has developed a number of novel objective measurements of auditory cognition. The present project aims to devise a paradigm to test the applicability of such measurements for the monitoring cognition in cochlear implant users. One main challenge to this work is the separation of neural responses from the electrical artifacts generated by the cochlear implant. One central element of this project is methodological and will involve the use of simulated electroencephalography data. The goal of this study will be the identification of experimental requirements for isolating neural indices of speech comprehension in cochlear implant patients, such as minimum number of EEG sensors and passive listening task duration, as well as determining the effectiveness of novel data analysis procedures. If possible, we will also extend this study by recording a small number of EEG sessions. Altogether, this study will constitute the basis for a larger scale studies after the end of this project.

    We are looking for candidates with:

  • Strong computational and signal processing skills
  • Strong interest in studying cognition and the human brain
  • (Ideally) Prior experience with speech sound processing

  • Interested candidates should submit a CV and a brief cover letter, explaining in about 100-200 words their motivation in applying for this position. Please contact Prof Reilly (reillyri [at] tcd.ie) or Dr Di Liberto (diliberg [at] tcd.ie) if you are interested in the position.

    The position is available until filled and the candidate would start as soon as possible. Note that this is a short-term position that will end in Feb 2022. See further details here.