Skip to main content


This site requires the use of cookies as defined by our Terms and Conditions.  We have provided a detailed description of how cookies work and are used on the site.  To accept cookies, please click the "Accept Cookies" button.
View All Vacancies

PhD Studentship (3 years) Optimization of a Speech-In-Noise test for Auditory Fitness for Duty

College of Health & Life Sciences - Studentships

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Sunday 30 April 2023
Reference:  R230038
Release Date:  Thursday 09 February 2023

Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the College of Health and Life Sciences, to be undertaken within the Cognition and Neuroscience Research Group ( at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on optimizing a speech recognition in noise test that is developed to assess the auditory fitness for duty of personnel with excessive occupational noise exposure. The studentship is offered in collaboration with Amplivox Ltd. 

The position is available to start from July or October 2023.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £17,668 in 2022/3 (subject to eligibility). 

Overseas Applicants

Overseas applicants may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees. Currently the difference between ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees is £14,054 in 2022/3. As part of the application, you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding.

Background to the Project

Auditory fitness for duty (AFFD) is defined as the possession of hearing abilities sufficient for safe and effective job performance. The challenges that hearing loss poses for personnel in the military or police forces could detrimentally impair the efficiency of communication and the completion of their duties. 

Audiometry may not provide enough face validity in the current AFFD assessment to reflect the listeners’ routine work environments or their listening challenges. The Audiology Department at Aston University collaborates with the UK’s largest audiometry manufacturer Amplivox to adapt a speech-based test for AFFD assessment. We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to take on this research. The primary tasks include to parameterize and optimize the procedures of the current version of the speech test, and design new test conditions with high face validity. 

Applicants should have a degree in audiology, hearing science, psychology, audio engineering, auditory neuroscience, or a related discipline. Programming experience in Matlab, Python, or similar programming languages is preferred. The project will use psychophysical approaches as primary method. Prior experience of psychoacoustic experimentation, speech perception test, or audiological test is highly preferred.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in audiology, hearing science, psychology, audio engineering, auditory neuroscience, or a related discipline.  Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of computer programming in Matlab, Python, or similar programming languages, statistical analysis, scientific writing, and good communication skills.

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Dr. Mengchao Zhang by email at

Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply:

  • A copy of your current CV
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree (if studied); this should include both certificates and transcripts, and must be translated in to English
  • A research proposal statement*
  • Two academic references
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here.  

Please select “Research Neurosciences” from the application form options.

*The application must be accompanied by a research proposal statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor’s name, project title and project reference in your Personal Statement.

If you require further information about the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at 

Email details to a friend


Forgotten Details