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Early stage researcher position (Phd) - Real-life benefits in children

Cochlear is the global market leader in implantable hearing solutions and is a top 100 medical device company. Our implantable hearing devices include cochlear implant systems (CI) and bone anchored hearing aids (Baha™). Cochlear Technology Centre is part of our global R&D network and employs talented engineers to design and develop new products and technology platforms for implantable hearing devices.

Key Responsibilities

In order to help Cochlear bring new products to market that help people with hearing loss, we are recruiting for an early stage research fellow (PhD student) in the field of real-life benefits in school aged (10-16 years) cochlear implant users, starting in June 2014. This position has been opened in the framework of 'iCARE', a European research and training network (Marie Curie INT) on 'improving Children's Auditory REhabilitation'. iCARE is an international and interdisciplinary consortium from academia, industry and socio-economic agencies and offers a choice of 11 PhD and 3 postdoc positions, starting June or July 2014. Each project is supervised by a multidisciplinary team of experts and will benefit from extensive training.

Many of the tools that have traditionally been applied to measuring the benefit of cochlear-implant usage have reached the limit of their usefulness. What is needed to better assess performance, and also determine the effectiveness of new technologies, are measures that test the nuances of hearing performance in real-world listening environments, such as in noisy environments or situations where there is distracting input (possibly multimodal, e.g. visual and auditory), and that reflect realistic spatial input. Such measures could better reflect technologies that lead to fuller lives and minimize the handicap of hearing loss. This early stage researcher position addresses the development and assessment of techniques for measuring such real-life benefits in older child (6 years plus) cochlear implant users.

To be successful in this role you will define and perform research on listening effort and the central capabilities underlying speech understanding with competing sources and music appreciation.  You will drive the design and possibly implementation of the assessment methods, and conduct the audiological evaluation. In this role, you will be responsible for

  • gaining a thorough understanding - through research studies - of the cognitive load and listening effort experienced by children while performing demanding age-appropriate tasks. 
  • the design and evaluation of sensitive and specific assessment methods that include task completion using auditory input.
  • research on the effectiveness of technological approaches aimed at reducing listening effort in real-life, spatially complex, noisy environments such as classroom settings.

During your three year employment at Cochlear, you will have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to Cochlear's successful history of innovation by providing answers to this issue within our field. You'll work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team of experts: scientific supervision will be provided by Dr. Thomas Stainsby (Cochlear), and Prof. Dr. Astrid Van Wieringen, KU Leuven, where the research fellow will be enrolled as a PhD student.

Key Requirements

To add value to Cochlear in this role you'll be able to demonstrate the following skills and experience in your application and at interview:

  • A university degree in audiology or closely related field that qualifies for PhD training.
  • Demonstrable audiological experience in working with children, their training and rehabilitation.
  • A good technical competence for data analysis (SPSS) and preferentially test development (Matlab,  Python, C/C++, Objective C).
  • A strong fascination with research, combined with a highly developed international drive, demonstrated through a willingness to move to Belgium.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills in English, as well as willingness to learn the Dutch language, which is the language used in the experiments.

Marie Curie ITN regulations: Marie Curie funding is intended to promote mobility of early career researchers within the research community. Candidates must: a) have received a degree (Bachelor or Master's) that qualifies them for PhD training, b) should not have undertaken more than 4 years of fulltime research subsequent to that degree, and c) should not have been resident within the 'country of interest' for more than 12 months within the 3 years prior to 1 June 2014. For a full description of the eligibility conditions see:

Working for Cochlear:

Cochlear pioneered and is the global leader in the research and development, manufacture and marketing of implantable hearing solutions. Cochlear's global headquarters is located in Sydney, Australia. A success story in the commercialisation of R&D, Cochlear has a 70% share of the global market, employs more than 2,500 people worldwide, operates directly in over 20 countries and sells in over 100 countries. Over 250,000 people across more than 100 countries now experience hearing as a recipient of a Cochlear hearing solution. Cochlear can offer:

  • The Work - A high impact job supporting world leading technology
  • The Organisation - A global leader in active implantable medical device hearing technology
  • The Opportunity - To make a difference to the quality of people's lives

As a world-leader in innovative medical devices, Cochlear encourages continuous learning for employees. Visit for more information.

Working for Cochlear Technology Centre, Mechelen, Belgium:

Cochlear Technology Centre is Cochlear's largest Research & Development department outside Australia. Our enthusiastic colleagues work in a multidisciplinary setting to develop new technologies, products and manufacturing processes that will be used to develop new ground-breaking hearing implant systems. Close links of collaboration exist between our centre and leading technology providers and universities over Europe. Our team is characterised by a familiar, informal and dynamic culture.

The best in each of us enriches all of us.

Apply here by completing your application form online.

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