Research Associate in Mental Health Data Science
We are seeking a Research Associate to work with social media big data in epidemiological samples, joining the exciting interdisciplinary research environment of the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC IEU) at the University of Bristol.
Interactions on social media have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of human behaviour, including the development of both good and poor mental health. However, to do the best science we need to know as much as possible about the people who are participating in our research, so we can account for any biases and validate our methods against ground truth measures. The CLOSER group of UK longitudinal cohorts (www.closer.ac.uk) includes tens of thousands of people who have contributed their data to research since birth. By inviting participants in these cohorts to also allow us to derive information from their social media feeds, we will be able to relate this vast repository of information to gold-standard measures of the behaviours we are trying to understand and to world-class data on other aspects of life.
To work out the best way to do this, we are engaging with participants from two generations of the Children of the '90s cohort to find out what is acceptable to them in terms of collecting and coding their interactions on social media. We will use what we learn to develop software that collects and codes social media data in a way that protects the anonymity of participants by scoring Tweets without making the text available to researchers. We will share this software with other CLOSER cohorts to make it easy for them to invite participants to contribute their Twitter data in a safe and secure way.
The millions of data points will help us to understand human behaviour and how mental health changes over time. Collecting these data in large groups of well-known people will also give all scientists working with social media data the information they need to achieve a step-change in the quality of research in the field.
The successful candidate will have a PhD or equivalent experience in a quantitative discipline and strong Python programming skills. They will work as part of an interdisciplinary team with Dr Oliver Davis and Dr Claire Haworth (http://dynamicgenetics.org) at the MRC IEU at the University of Bristol (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/integrative-epidemiology/), in collaboration with researchers at Cardiff University, UCL and the University of Essex.
For informal enquiries, please get in touch with Oliver Davis (email@example.com) and Claire Haworth (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.