Applications of Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence/Augmented Reality Technologies to Macular Disease

Closing Date
Wednesday, 30th June 2021
Computer Science

Macular disease is the leading cause of visual disability and blindness in the UK, Europe and North America. Around 5% of the UK population over the age of 65 suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), with this figure increasing sharply in older age groups. In the later stages of AMD, individuals experience a complete loss of central vision, which is often profound and permanent. As a result, patients develop alternative viewing strategies that exploit more peripheral areas of the retina to support functional vision. The University of Nottingham has recently received funding form the Macular Society to develop new assistive technologies for patients with AMD. Our overall goal is to help those with AMD optimise the information available to them via the peripheral retina, to support daily activities such as reading, recognising objects and friends and navigation.

We are looking for a talented and ambitious PhD student who would like to explore using machine vision and AI to model human vision. We will focus on the effects of AMD, with the aim of conducting in silico modelling of the perception of potential image manipulations that might enhance visual capacity, as perceived by those suffering with AMD. This approach will allow us to simulate the potential benefits of different interventions before moving to clinical validation studies. This would allow researchers to determine what image manipulations have the best chance of improving a person's vision and only conduct human subject trials with those.

Combining the modelling of human vision from existing knowledge and learning how the human vision system works using Machine Learning is an exciting and novel frontier of research.

The project will be jointly co-ordinated by researchers in the Computer Vision Lab (School of Computer Science) and the Visual Neuroscience Group (School of Psychology) at the University of Nottingham. 

This three-and-a-half year studentship is supported under the banner of the Nottingham Doctoral Training Centre in Artificial Intelligence, and includes a stipend of £15,609 per year and tuition fees.

Please note: incomplete and/or late applications will not be considered.

Applicants are normally expected to have a 2:1 Bachelor or Masters degree or international equivalent, in Computer Science or a related discipline (e.g. bioengineering, cognitive science, computational neuroscience etc.).

This PhD scholarship funds UK home tuition fees and stipends.

To apply, please submit the following items by email to Roxanne Lockett (

(1) a copy of your CV, including your actual or expected degree class(es), and results of all University examinations; 

(2) an example of your technical writing, such as a project report or dissertation; 

(3) contact details for two academic referees - it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that references are requested and sent to ( 

(4) a research proposal – max 2 x sides A4

(5) a covering letter. This must include the University’s job reference number. This can be found at the top of the advert and usually begins SCI.

Applicants should contact Prof Michel Valstar, School of Computer Science ( for more information.