CAREER

We continously look for eager students and graduates to join our team as a bachelor or master candidate, intern, or as senior researcher and PhD student.

Bachelor/Master Theses & Semester Projects

Master thesis/internship project: Dropout Prediction in Digital Health Interventions

#datascience #digitalhealth #machinelearning

Project context: Digital Health Interventions (DHIs) and, more specifically, mHealth apps show vast potential in supporting health care systems with the globally increasing prevalence and economic costs of chronic diseases – the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. However, despite the availability of evidence-based DHIs, a substantial proportion of users do not adhere to them, ultimately dropping out and thus not receiving treatment. To solve this problem, we collaborate with several project partners that develop and distribute mHealth apps targeting food literacy, substance use, high blood pressure, sleep hygiene, and diabetes. Analyzing real-life longitudinal data of their apps, we aim to identify factors influencing non-adherence and explore machine learning methods that can effectively predict dropouts. Further information can be found on the project website.

Candidate profile: We are searching for highly motivated, proactive, and self-directed students with a general interest in digital health. You should be proficient in creating clear and comprehensible R/Python scripts that can be reused by other parties to explore and analyze large datasets. You should have experience cleaning and organizing data and applying relevant statistical models. You will be fully supported as to relevant theory from medical and behavioral sciences and how to write your thesis for a healthcare audience.

Master thesis/internship tasks: You will clean, organize, and analyze given data sets, conduct statistical analysis, engineer and select feature variables, and explore machine learning methods that classify potential dropouts in mHealth apps. Your work will be part of a more extensive scientific study which is subject to being published in a renowned medical peer-reviewed journal, which you are invited to co-author based on your contribution. The project can be conducted entirely remotely. We highly encourage members of underrepresented groups to apply. Students from other universities than ETH Zurich are also welcome to apply.

Start: Anytime, as soon as possible

Methodology: Longitudinal data analysis

Duration: 6 months (or to be discussed)

Interested students are invited to send an email to Robert Jakob at rjakob@ethz.ch.

Master Thesis Offer: Business Model Development for the AI-based Mindfulness Tool “Breeze”

Background: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impose enormous health burdens on individuals and lead to substantial health economic challenges. NCDs’ risk factors relate primarily to a lifestyle characterized by tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, or an unbalanced diet. This lifestyle leads to overweight and obesity, hypertension, and other cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Unfortunately, individuals with lower socioeconomic status (SES) are substantially more affected by NCDs. These individuals are also significantly underrepresented in clinical and non-clinical trials. As a result, health interventions are potentially only effective for individuals with higher SES and do not address those most in need. Therefore, it is essential to understand better how to reach and engage individuals with lower SES while developing and delivering health interventions. As a first step, we have already developed and successfully evaluated a novel AI-based Mindfulness Tool “Breeze” for the prevention and management of physical and mental health (10.2196/22803, 10.2196/22802, 10.1145/3369835). Breeze utilizes the microphone of a smartphone (or a smartphone with a Bluetooth connected headset) to detect breathing patterns in quasi-real-time to then provide biofeedback in a novel and gamified way.

Goal: The thesis has the objective to develop a business model for Breeze. This involves the following activities:
  1. To understand better the competitive landscape of mindfulness tools (see, for example, 10.2196/29412),
  2. To explore whether Breeze should be either further developed as a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B) product.

Candidate Profile: We are searching for a highly motivated Master student proficient in English and comfortable with desk research and qualitative research methods (e.g. conducting interviews with representatives of mindfulness companies and other experts in the mindfulness sector, such as investors, etc.). The ideal student has excellent communication skills and experience in business model innovation, entrepreneurship and digital health. Moreover, the master student has excellent grades and can invest 100% effort into this thesis.

Start: as soon as possible

Duration: 6 months

Interested students are invited to send an email with their (1) motivation letter, (2) CV, and (3) transcript of records to Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch (Scientific Director CDHI ETH Zurich & University of St.Gallen and Assistant Professor for Digital Health, University of St.Gallen) at tobias.kowatsch@unisg.ch. The thesis will be co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Felix Wortmann (Scientific Director Bosch IoT Lab) and Dr. Jan-Niklas Kramer (Innovation Manager, CSS insurance, Lucerne).

Master Thesis or Semester Project (3 or 6 ECTS) Offer – Elena+: Care for COVID-19

Project context: In Spring 2020, during the height of the pandemic in Europe, the Elena+: Care for COVID-19 smartphone app was developed by a group of international researchers. Functioning as a digital health intervention delivered by a text-based chatbot, the app coaches individuals through a series of psycho-educational coaching sessions (related to anxiety, sleep, diet etc.). The general project aim is to examine whether a chatbot-delivered smartphone app can help reduce the collateral damage of lockdowns (i.e., increased anxiety because of the situation, lack of exercise because of staying indoors etc.). Further details can be read in the study protocol paper.

Project status: The app is currently live and collecting data in Switzer- land, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Colombia, and Mexico, and is available in English and Spanish (European and Latin American versions). The app has had approximately 7000 downloads.

Candidate Profile: We are searching for a highly motivated student, comfortable with using R/Python to explore large datasets. The ideal student will have some experience cleaning and organising data, as well as applying relevant statistical models.

Master’s thesis
For those interested in writing a master’s thesis, a general interest in healthcare, chatbots and marketing is desirable. However, your background area of study is not important provided you are motivated to learn. You will be fully supported as to relevant theory from social/behavioural sciences and how to write your thesis for a healthcare/marketing audience.

Example tasks

  1. Read and organise relevant literature from healthcare, information systems and marketing fields.
  2. Create clear and comprehensible R/Python scripts that can be re-used by other parties.
  3. Split tuple items into separate variables (for ex- ample, with regex).
  4. Create new composite variables (e.g., from psy- chometric item scores).
  5. Apply join methods to different datasets.

Example analyses

  1. Longitudinal regression models (e.g., linear regression and more advanced applications such as ARMA models).
  2. Analysis of Variance (e.g., within-subjects ANOVA, between-groups ANOVA)
  3. Exploring and codifying free text entries

Start: Anytime, as soon as possible

Methodology: Longitudinal data analysis

Duration: 6 months (or to be discussed)

Interested students are invited to send an email to Joseph Ollier at jollier@ethz.ch.

Master thesis/internship project: Passive mobile sensing in anxiety patients prior to and during cognitive behaviour therapy

Finishing your studies at the University of St. Gallen or ETH Zurich and looking for an exciting thesis matter? Why not considering one of these:

The Experimental Psychopathology and Psychotherapy group (Dual affiliation with the Psychiatric University Hospital and Dept of Psychology, UZH) offers an open master thesis project on passive sensing data collected through a mobile app within a randomized clinical trial on anxiety (SNSF OPTIMAX project, optimizing psychotherapy for anxiety disorders, headed by Prof. Dr Birgit Kleim). Passive sensing data was collected in collaboration with the group of Dr Tobias Kowatsch at the Centre for Digital Health Interventions, ETH Zurich and University of St.Gallen.

The OPTIMAX project aims at improving the treatment of anxiety disorders by establishing improved prediction models. Participants are patients with a primary diagnosis of anxiety and the treatment consists of 16 to 18 weeks of cognitive behavioural therapy. The aim of the master thesis is to investigate whether passive sensing data are feasible to describe different behavioural patterns in everyday life and whether these data can be used to predict treatment outcomes. Passive sensing data are collected pre, mid and post-treatment, therefore changes in the course of treatment can also be investigated.

Potential master candidates or interns should have an interest in digital assessments, data science and/or clinical psychology/psychiatry and, ideally, experience working with larger data sets. They will be supervised by the teams of Prof Kleim and Kowatsch.

Starting point: Immediate or upon agreement

If you are interested or need further information please email Dr Miriam Müller Bardorff via mmb@psychology.uzh.ch

Miriam Müller-Bardorff, PhD
Postdoctoral research scientist, clinical psychologist

Research and Software Engineering Positions

Already graduated, and looking for an opportunity to change the world, at least a little bit? Why not join us as a researcher:

Research Assistant and PhD Student at Bosch IoT Lab

Are you eager to investigate how platforms will shape the future of health? Are you keen on developing business models and strategies in the realm of healthcare platforms and smart connected MedTech products? Are you excited about bringing your ideas to life? We are looking for you!

What we offer:

  • Unique possibility to advance your scientific as well as entrepreneurial, management skills
  • A highly motivated, interdisciplinary team of young researchers in a very pleasant atmosphere
  • Direct project responsibility and close collaboration with our research partners, e.g., Bosch, startups, and renowned universities
  • Attractive employment conditions, outstanding work environment and the normal duration for successfully obtaining a PhD in our team is 3.5 years

Whom we are looking for:

  • Strong interest in technology-based innovation, entrepreneurship, platforms, and healthcare
  • A business, technology, or healthcare background, e.g., in management, economics, information systems, computer science, engineering or medical sciences
  • Prior experience in applied research projects, startups, or venture capital, as well as prior work experience in the healthcare industry is advantageous
  • Self-confident appearance and high conceptual and communication skills, especially regarding presenting research results to a broad and interdisciplinary audience
  • Master’s degree with a GPA (Grade Point Average) of at least 5.0 (GPA of 2.0 and better in Germany or Austria) to be eligible for a PhD at the University of St. Gallen
  • Profound knowledge (written/oral) in German and English

If you are fascinated by the described opportunity and would like to be part of our highly motivated, young research team, please send your application to the scientific director of the Bosch IoT Lab, Prof. Dr. Felix Wortmann via felix.wortmann@unisg.ch.

Job advert: Bosch IoT Lab PhD Position

Research Assistant in Emerging Business Models in Digital Healthcare 

100%, CSS Health Lab

The CSS Health Lab is an integral part of the Centre for Digital Health Interventions (CDHI) (www.c4dhi.org), a joint initiative of the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St. Gallen (ITEM-HSG), the Department of Management, Technology, and Economics at ETH Zurich, and the Swiss health insurer CSS.

To qualify for this position you must be eligible for a PhD at the University of St. Gallen. You will work on specific projects in cooperation with our healthcare partner CSS. As part of our team, you take direct project responsibility. You will plan, conduct, and evaluate cutting-edge research at the intersection of the social, medical, and engineering sciences. This includes subfields such as entrepreneurship, general management, behavioural science, and information systems.

Employment conditions, compensation and benefits are attractive and based on the guidelines of HSG. The average duration necessary for successfully obtaining a PhD is 3 1/2 years.

What we are looking for:

  • A master’s degree in engineering, medical sciences, or social sciences with a GPA (Grade Point Average) of at least 5.0 (GPA of 2.0 and better in Germany and Austria) in combination with a strong interest in entrepreneurship and management.
  • Prior experience in applied research projects, start-ups, or venture capital, as well as prior work experience in the health industry, is advantageous
  • Strong interest in healthy longevity, social and health psychology, health economics, technology-based innovation
  • Self-confident appearance and high conceptual and communication skills, especially regarding presenting research results to a broad and interdisciplinary audience
  • Profound knowledge (written/oral) in German and English

If you are fascinated by the described task and would like to be part of a highly motivated, young team, we would be pleased to receive your electronic application directly to the lab’s scientific director and Assistant Professor for Digital Health at HSG, Dr. Tobias Kowatsch, tobias.kowatsch@unisg.ch, with the subject line: CSS Health Lab Application, Research Assistant, Emerging Business Models in Digital Healthcare. For further information please feel free to contact Dr. Kowatsch.

Job advert: CDHI-PhD Position-Emerging BM in digital Health

Other

You did not find anything suitable? Then don’t worry, we take unsolicited applications also from students abroad and other universities. Please check also the affiliated research initiatives and healthcare clubs:

Healthcare Club HSG

The Healthcare Club at the University of St. Gallen sees itself as a platform whose added value unfolds primarily in three dimensions:

  1. Knowledge Acquisition: Keywords like “Digital Health”, “Medtech” or “Hospital Management” have become more and more common recently, but don’t you really know what they mean? Or are you already well informed, but don’t really know how to get access to further knowledge? Through exclusive insights into the health sector, members will be able to gain valuable first-hand knowledge and experience.
  2. Interdisciplinary exchange: Would you like to share your interest in the healthcare sector, exchange ideas and have the opportunity to experience the views of students with a different background? Our aim is to stimulate professional discourse on current topics in the healthcare field. We create the space for discussions between students of different disciplines and, in the future, especially of the Joint Medical Masters.
  3. Networking: The Healthcare Club connects interested students with experts and partner companies who are specialized in the healthcare sector and thus aims to facilitate a career entry into the healthcare sector. Whether this takes the form of an internship or valuable advice from industry experts depends entirely on you. Benefit from the experience and network of those who are already there where you would like to go.
Auto-ID Lab

Whereas the global Auto-ID Labs Network with its Labs at MIT, ETH/HSG, Keio, Cambridge, Fudan, ICU (Korea), and Adelaide, is co-chaired by Prof. Sanjay Sarma, MIT, and Prof. Elgar Fleisch, ETH/HSG, the ETH/HSG Auto-ID Lab is currently run by its Assistant Director Asst.-Prof. Alexander Ilic. The St. Gallen / Zürich Auto-ID Labs research interests are centered on the Internet of Things in the retail industry, with a special focus on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) applications for the end-consumer, mobile phone applications, the extension of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Architecture Framework for sensing capabilities, and technical approaches to combat counterfeiting. For more information please see www.autoidlabs.ch and www.autoidlabs.org.

Bits to Energy Lab

The Bits to Energy-Lab, co-chaired by Prof. Friedemann Mattern of ETH, and Prof. Elgar Fleisch of ETH/HSG has been established and run by Prof. Thorsten Staake, a former doctoral student of Elgar Fleisch. The lab is a joint initiative of several chairs and industry partners that is dedicated to investigating the role of ubiquitous computing technologies for sustainable development. Its research interests include the use of IT to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with a special focus on consumption visualization and carbon accounting. For more information please see www.bitstoenergy.ch.

Bosch IoT Lab

The “Bosch Internet of Things & Services Lab” (Bosch IoT Lab) is a joint initiative of Bosch Group and the University of St. Gallen (HSG). The lab’s mission is to find and test out business models for the Internet of Things & Services. In addition, researchers are working to develop innovative and breakthrough internet-based products and services. The first major areas of research include networked mobility and smart home. Prof. Elgar Fleisch chairs the initiative as the scientific head of the Bosch IoT Lab. The lab is operated under the direction of Assistant Professor Felix Wortmann (HSG). For more information please see www.iot-lab.ch.

Mobiliar Lab for Analytics

The Mobiliar Lab for Analytics is dedicated to investigating and improving human-machine interactions by the means of digital interventions and advanced analytics. It is a joint initiative of ETH Zurich and Mobiliar. The Lab seeks to understand when personalization can improve human-machine interactions, when digital interactions are preferable to personal interactions and what promotes trust in human-machine interactions. For more information please see www.mobiliarlab.ethz.ch.

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If you have any open questions, please feel free to contact us.

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