School of Computing and Engineering

Sociotechnical design of mHealth applications in resource-constrained environments

Primary supervisor: Dr Jose Abdelnour-Nocera

Start dates: January, May and September of each academic year

Duration: This is a three-year position.

Research context

Research at the University of West London lives in an ecosystem of interdisciplinary research clusters. This PhD position is based in the School of Computing and Engineering. This particular proposal is focused on health digital communities.

This PhD position proposal is framed in the research field of mHealth and is in particular focused on the management of anticoagulation therapy. Coagulation disease is one of the most diffused health issues today and its management requires a continuous communication between patient and doctor. The introduction of mobile devices in anticoagulant therapy practice and management may help in improving the quality of life of patients and support remote doctor-patient communication.

In particular, we are interested in the application of such novel applications in resource-constrained environments, typical rural areas in which people do not have direct access to the Internet, from home or from mobile phones. In such settings, the closest medical centre is located in the village and is aimed at serving all the people who leave in that area. Sometimes, the medical centres are provided with Internet connection but its use is strongly restricted to doctors and not always fully available due to technical failures.

Research goal

The research activity will aim at investigating tools, techniques and methods that can be used by sociotechnical interaction designers and developers of mHealth applications in resource-constrained environments.

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate should have an MSc or equivalent degree in computer science and combine solid theoretical background and excellent software development skills. Strong commitment to reaching research excellence and achieving assigned objectives is required, so as ability to work in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment. It is expected that the PhD candidate will carry out applied research work that will start from the establishment of a theoretical framework, continue with the implementation of a software prototype and the experimentation with real data, and conclude with the validation of a proposed solution through a real-life user study. 

Background knowledge and/or previous experience in the following areas (in order of preference), though not mandatory, will be considered very favourably: Mobile (Web) design, Interaction design, Software internationalisation and localization.

All applicants for whom English is not their first language must also demonstrate their English language proficiency through evidence of IELTS at overall 7 (with 6.5 in all four skills) or by providing access to MA/MSc chapters or published work.

Further information

For general enquiries about the application process visit the Graduate School pages.

Questions regarding academic aspects of the project should be directed to jose.abdelnour-nocera@uwl.ac.uk.