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 Cohort Activities   /   External Activities


Cohort Activities

Applications and Implications of AI (AI^2) forum

In September 2023's AI^2 forum, we had two fantastic guest speakers: Associate Prof. Dave Wong and Dr. Alexa Ruppertsberg. Dave discussed the pros and cons of being a post-doctoral researcher. Alexa emphasised the importance of research engagement.

To help ease your concerns and provide valuable insights, the recent AI^2 Forum session on August 30th was dedicated to “Demystifying the PhD Viva.”

In July 2023 edition of AI^2, we had the privilege of hosting two esteemed guests from NHS England: Dr. Dan Schofield and Dr. Jonathan Pearson. They provided us with a fascinating overview of NHS England and its Digital Analytics Research Team (DART).

Zoe Hancox and Jason Keighley hosted a testathon session where together we explored Pytesting of AI models to improve our code reliability, reduce bugs and increase our error finding efficiency in June 2023's AI^2 forum.

Dr. Kieran Zucker spoke at the May 2023 AI^2 forum about the challenges of implementing AI in healthcare.

Dr Keiran Suchak and Dr Peter Hristov gave a talk titled “What to Expect When You’re Expecting… the End of Your PhD” in the April 2023 AI^2 forum.

Four clinicians discussing the challenges and opportunities for data science and AI in their specialties in the March 2023 forum.

In the February 2023 forum, Hamidreza Saligheh Rad gave a talk about his work in Radiology and the impressive companies and initiatives he’s been a part of.

In Jan 2023's forum, Alexia Toumpa was our guest speaker who shared her fascinating work on ‘Prediction of object interactions in the real-world’ and thoughts on her time in industry.

We had an AI-themed Christmas bakeoff and medical quiz to end the year for December's forum. 10 bakers took part in the 2022 Bake Off.

 2023 ConSim Conference

We are organising the MSc project presentations as a simulated real conference in September 2023, ConSim2023.

 2023 CDT Conference

Our Leeds CDT AI Medical Conference in June 2023 was another great success. We were delighted to have a talk delivered by Sarah Culkin, Deputy Director of Analytics and Data Science in NHS England on ‘AI in the NHS’.

The students from all cohorts were given the opportunity to present their research and ideas through oral talks followed by poster sessions given by Cohort 1, Cohort 2 and Cohort 3.  

Participants presenting and discussing posters.


2023 UKRI AI CDTs in Healthcare Joint Conference

In June 2023 the University of Leeds CDT hosted the UKRI AI CDT Joint Conference, which took place at the Principal Hotel, York. The conference offered an opportunity for our PhD researchers to showcase their research through oral presentations and poster sessions. The conference welcomed guest speakers Dorothy Monekosso, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Durham who gave a keynote talk on ‘Why is innovating in digital health challenging?’ and Richard Stephens from NCRI Consumer Forum who gave a keynote talk on Fleshing Out the Data – Involving Patients in Your Research. The conference was a great success, giving the students an opportunity to network with fellow researchers.

Group photo of Healthcare Joint Conference participants.

2022 Retreat Program

In Nov 2022 our Cohort 1, 2 and 3 students attended a retreat program at Weetwood Hall in Leeds. During this program, they participated in mentoring sessions and career panels which covered academia/industry/public sectors, interdisciplinary research; delivered by Ann Blandford from UCL and included a networking lunch.

Group photos from the CDT retreat at Weetwood Hall.


2022 ConSim Conference

We organised the MSc project presentations as a simulated real conference C0nSim2022

2022 CDT Conference

Our Leeds CDT AI Medical Conference in June 2022 was a great success. We were delighted to have talks delivered by Hamish Fraser (Associate Professor of Medical Science Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice Brown University) on the Evaluation of diagnostic and triage accuracy and usability of a symptom checker in an emergency department: observational study” and by Alison Noble (Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering Fellow of St Hilda's College University of Oxford) on “The Emergence of Sonography Data Science”.  

The students were given the opportunity to showcase their research and ideas through oral talks followed by poster sessions given by Cohort 1 and Cohort 2.  

Group photo of Leeds CDT AI Medical Conference participants.


2022 Dragons Den

We are grateful to Richard Stephens for his enthusiasm, energy and passion to help everyone in our Centre, and especially the students, to become aware of the patients’ perspective when AI research is being translated to healthcare. Richard has been advising us, helping us shape the research programme, presenting to our students, and always reminding us to appreciate patients for sharing their data for research. The Patient Dragon’s Den Richard organised was a fantastic event that gave unique opportunity to the first cohort of our students to present their work to patients.

Alexandra, Della, John, and Richard were fantastic dragons. Not only did they share personal experience, but they could also gave a broad view of how patients could be affected by the research. We were impressed by the breadth of knowledge, understanding of AI, and the willingness to help our PhD students. They offered constructive feedback how to consider the effect on patients and shared invaluable tips how to engage with patients. Following the event, students who did not present (but participated as observers) were eager to have their patient dragon’s den presentations.

Screen captures of online hosted Dragons Den.


2022 UKRI AI CDTs in Healthcare Joint Conference

In May 2022 Cohort 1 and 2 attended the Joint CDT Conference. The conference offered an opportunity for our PhD researchers to showcase their research and ideas through oral talks and poster sessions. The conference began with a presentation from guest speaker Maria Liakata, Professor in Natural Language Processing (NLP) followed by a Q&A session. Our students were given the opportunity to network with fellow researchers from University College London, Edinburgh University, and Imperial College London. 

Group photo of Leeds participants from Healthcare Joint Conference.

Patient Engagement seminar with Richard Stephens 

Classroom with Richard Stephens conducting seminar with students.


CDT journal club and seminars

The CDT journal club involves all students who are 6 months past the start of their studies. The students meet weekly, every Wednesday at 3pm, to present and discuss papers related to AI in Medical Diagnosis and Care. Some of the slots include presentations from internal or external speakers. If you wish to join the CDT journal club and seminars, contact Lucy Godson, Anna-Grace Linton or Zoe Hancox.

A monthly university-wide forum on Applications and Implications of AI, initiated and run by the students, providing an opportunity to meet diverse role models from different sectors and career stages.

Online activities and support

CDT-led coffee and chat sessions happen every Friday and provide an opportunity for social interaction and informal catchup. The students maintain regular contact through WhatsApp and Discord. The Discord channel is particularly effective in maintaining day-to-day activities of the CDT. We have two student led discord servers, one for work-related conversations/collaborations and another for socialising. The work-related server is where students keep in contact most days to discuss our work, clarify common queries, give reminders, give announcements, share useful resources, and share any relevant events to their studies. The students have separate channels for modules and were able to utilise this space to support each other and make sure that each student had a colleague to work with during group projects, which helped with group cohesion. The social server is a space for the CDT students and related courses which is mainly used for online social events. Over the summer this server is used to aid in the cohesion of the new cohort before joining in the autumn semester. This provides new students with a local contact with whom they are able to occasionally interact or ask questions.  

CDT Cohort Walks

As part of the induction for new students, we organise a social walk to allow the students to meet in an informal atmosphere and get to know each other. Cohort 3's induction included a walk in Ilkley Moors in September 2021.

Hiking group photos.

In the summer 2021, a walk in Ilkley (Leeds) was organised for Cohort 2 students. Due to lockdown, Cohort 2 students had all activities online. The walk provided an opportunity to meet each other face to face, offering a good chance for group bonding and team building.

Hiking photos.

As part of their induction, Cohort 1 went for a walk in the Yorkshire Dales.

Hiking photos.


Social Activities

In addition to the walks, we regularly organise social activities to promote group bonding, team building, build a relaxing atmosphere and have fun :). The pictures below show two examples - celebrating the Chinese New Year with Cohort 1 and farewell to  the CDT manager Ellen Goodison.

Group photos from activities.

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External Activities

  • CDT students had the incredible opportunity to attend and present posters at the N8 Digital Health Community Day held at the University of Leeds, Nexus. This event was a gathering of experts from various fields, providing a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration in the realm of digital health. Read more at our CDT students' blog.
  • Emma Briggs completed a short clinical observation at Oaklands Health Centre general practice, gaining first-hand experience of clinician interaction with primary care digital systems and diagnostic processes.
  • Jack Breen won the Best Poster Award at the Health Data Hub AI4Health 2023 Summer School and he have also previously won the Best Presentation Award at the School of Computing Symposium 2023.
  • Mary Paterson presented a poster about the classification of vocal pathologies at UK Speech. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet with other researcher using speech technologies and learn from some of the top experts in this field.
  • Three of our CDT PhD students (Jason Keighley, Rachel Harkness and Jack Breen) had their first experience discussing their research at SPIE Medical Imaging 2023 in San Diego. This included presentations about efficiency in ovarian cancer classification using histopathology dataexplainability in the classification of chest x-rays, and a poster about the effective compression of histopathology data.
  • Mary Paterson and Bailey Andrew attended the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2023) in New Orleans. Mary presented a poster in the Women in Machine Learning workshop summarising her work using AI to detect voice disease from speech. Bailey presented a preprint of his work at the New Frontiers in Graph Learning workshop. This conference was an amazing opportunity to meet a wide range of researchers and see the newest cutting edge work being done in computer science.
  • Anna-Grace Linton presented her research at the UK Health Text analytics conference (HealTAC 2021).
  • Three CDT students - Jack Breen, Rachel Harkness and Joe Sims - attended the leading international conference in medical image analysis (MICCAI 2021). Jack Breen presented his research to one of the workshop challenges.  
  • Rachael Harkness presented her research at the International .Medical Informatics Association conference (MedInfo21).
  • Andrew Broad presented his work to the monthly meetings of the National Pathology Imaging Cooperative's Digital Research Group at St James's Hospital.
  • Sara Jones was awarded the Margaret Steel Innovation Award (£1000) from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Leeds.
  • Our students attend various seminars at the University of Leeds, e.g. the Leeds Institute of Data Analytics seminar series, the School of Computing colloquia, the National Pathology Imaging Cooperative seminars, the Computer Vision and AI for Languages special interest groups.

The first cohort of our CDT students met The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Baroness Nicky Morgan who visited the University on Leeds on 24 January 2020, discussing how researchers are being trained to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) in the fight against cancer.

The first cohort of our CDT students with The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Baroness Nicky Morgan.

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