The Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal, is the fruit of an innovative alliance between academic, government, and philanthropic institutions to contribute to the efforts undertaken by the international community to address the challenges in global health.
The post is a PhD studentship to be appointed to Trinity College Dublin as part of the “HEalth data LInkage for ClinicAL benefit (HELICAL) “H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 Innovative Training Network.
European researchers have made leading contributions to the large genomic, transcriptomic and clinical datasets from patients with chronic diseases. Advances in information science provide unprecedented opportunities for using these datasets to elucidate the complex biology of these disorders, its influence by environmental triggers, and to personalise their management. Currently, exploitation of these opportunities is limited by a shortage of researchers with the required informatics skills and knowledge of requisite data protection principles. HELICAL addresses this unmet need by developing a trans-sectoral and interdisciplinary training programme that provides 15 early stage researchers with training in analysis of large datasets, using autoimmune vasculitis as a paradigm, as comprehensive biological and clinical datasets are already available. The programme will be delivered through a multidisciplinary, trans-sectoral partnership of Academic and Industry researchers with expertise in basic biomedical research, epidemiology, statistics, machine learning, health data governance and ethics. Therefore, HELICAL exploits recent advances in data science to link research datasets with longitudinal healthcare records, based on the robust ethical foundation required for linkage studies using near-patient data, to address key experimental questions.
The post is for an early stage researcher (ESR) who will undertake a three-year PhD studentship as part of the H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 HELICAL (Co-ordinator: Professor Mark Little, Trinity College Dublin, TCD). HELICAL is an EU-funded Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) with 17 Academic Partners (TCD (IRL);MedUni Vienna (A); University of Glasgow, Farr Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (UK); Universite Paris Diderot (F); KungligaTekniskaHoegskolan, Uppsala Universitet (S); ConsorciInstitutd´InvestigationsBiomediques, Consejo Superior De InvestigacionesCientificas, Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona, Instituto de Investigaciones Marques de Valdecilla, Universitat de Barcelona, UniversitatAutónoma de Barcelona (E); Charles University (CZ); Ghent University (B)) and nine Non-Academic Partners (Tissuegnostics (A); IBM Zurich (CH), patientMpower (IRL); Anaxomics Biotech (E); Firalis (F); European Institute for Innovation in Health Data (B); RITA European Reference Network, Laser Analytica, Eagle Genomics (UK)). The HELICAL training program focuses on three complementary areas: application of informatics to such datasets to gain new biological insights; translation of these into practical clinical outputs and management of ethical constraints imposed on such studies.
The appointee will be trained in advanced data science, clinical applications and enhancement of their awareness of FAIR and GDPR data principles. The HELICAL ITN is highly integrated and so the appointee will also have the opportunity to acquire additional skills through regular meetings, workshops and seminars, and through secondments to other partners in the HELICAL network.
The present post is to be based in ISGlobal (Barcelona Institute for Global Health) under the guidance of ICREA Prof. Xavier Rodó, lead scientist of the CLIMA (Climate and Health) program. The project is entitled Unravelling the environmental links determining ANCA vasculitis flares and its population epidemiology. Using high-resolution registry data in different locations in Europe, the successful applicant will approach the complex nature of this human vasculitis of yet an unknown origin. A thorough study aimed at decomposing the disease dynamics on the basis of sophisticated statistical approaches will be performed by the candidate to determine relevant routes for subsequent investigation. The variables to study range from health variates to environmental and atmospheric processes, with the use of particle dispersion computer models to trace the trajectories and sources of air masses. The work will combine computer-based research with field monitoring in different locations where the ITN consortium is rich in clinical case records and will demand a training on environmental sampling for chemical and microbiological analyses and the application of massive metagenomics tools in the laboratory. With all those results and the clinical records, artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning algorithms will be specifically developed to be applied to data in the search for relevant information to form a conceptual basis for the epidemiological dynamics of this disease and its potential environmental etiological agents, factors or facilitators.
HELICAL is funded under the H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 designed to promote movement of researchers in Europe and so is open to researchers from any country in the world provided they have not carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. HELICAL pursues a policy of equal opportunities on matters of gender and disability and will seek to recruit an equal proportion of male and female applicants and will provide employment opportunities for candidates with disabilities. Where applications of equal quality are received, preference will be given to female candidates as part of a strategy designed to recruit equal numbers of men and women to the HELICAL posts. Employment procedures and contracts will conform to the European Charter for Researchers / Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)
ISGlobal obtained the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R, https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/hrs4r) logo from the European Commission in July 2015. This reflects the talent-oriented strategy for human resources at ISGlobal and is a key tool for developing and implementing policies for talent attraction and retention.