Changing perceptions: Hearing, psychoacoustics and ICT

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Call for Expressions of Interest
06-07 February 2018 in Bristol

EPSRC is holding a two-day workshop to explore collaborative research opportunities between psychoacoustics, hearing and engineering (specifically within the information and communications technologies). The event will take place on 06 and 07 February 2018.

The workshop will be multidisciplinary, bringing together researchers from varied domains: psychology to computer science.

Aims and Objectives

  • To identify the strengths of UK psychoacoustics community
  • To identify and explore the research opportunities for linking the hearing research community to engineering, particularly within the information and communications technologies (ICT).
  • To identify the barriers to realising these opportunities.
  • To identify the steps that need to be taken to realise the opportunities and maintain and enhance position of the community in UK and worldwide.
  • To develop a strategy for the development of research in this area, including first steps to a roadmap for research.


During 2016 in the course of discussions around refreshing the EPSRC research area Music and Acoustic Technology, members of the community expressed concern about problems and missed opportunities in acoustics research particularly around engagement with the psychoacoustics community. There were comments that the music side seemed well-organised and well connected to the application domain, particularly the creative industries, broadcast and home entertainment. The current EPSRC portfolio reflects this.

However, less well represented was the hearing side. Even in the related EPSRC Research Area of Vision, Hearing and Other Senses, there was more support for vision than hearing. In addition, much of the hearing research supported by EPSRC is based in engineering departments and lacks connections to relevant underpinning biology. Increases in computer power have led engineers to technological solutions which are not grounded in an understanding of human hearing. This lack of connection is a concern and the disconnect appears to be growing.

This is a missed opportunity as current hearing technologies are not close to human performance and have other drawbacks. Overcoming them and developing new routes to diagnosis and intervention will mean fostering the interface between researchers studying human hearing on the one hand and engineers on the other.

Furthermore, assistive technology is not the only application area. The hearing science community also has the potential to contribute to other domains such as the audio industry and architecture.


EPSRC want to encourage collaboration that brings together the state-of-the-art in ICT in such areas as digital signal processing and acoustic engineering and cutting-edge psychoacoustics so that engineering developments are informed by an understanding of the biology. Such research will not only benefit the hearing community, but will extend into other areas such as the creative industries and building design.

Acoustics is a broad area and, in EPSRC terms, spreads from ICT into Engineering: from hearing and music-related areas through to applications in non-destructive testing, buildings and architecture.

For the purposes of this workshop the term acoustics will be limited to the topics within the remit of EPSRC's ICT theme. In particular, on the interface with biology, medicine and healthcare where psychoacoustics informs device design and its application to the engineering and physical sciences.

We are including sound (including music, but also other sounds, natural and artificial) and the intersection of sound with computer science. This includes the development of algorithms, signal processing techniques, user interfaces or information systems to support music or sound based interactions between humans and computers, between performer and audience, as well as applications in healthcare (assistive technology) and robotics.

We are also including basic studies of the biology and psychology of human hearing where the purpose of the research is to underpin design and implementation of human-computer interfaces and other aspects of ICT design.

For the purposes of this workshop we are excluding speech-based interactions and the use of acoustic technology in engineering-based applications such as building acoustics and non-destructive testing.

Some indications of future research are given in the Annexe to this Call.

Applying to Attend and Selection Procedure

Those wishing to attend the workshop should complete the online Expression of Interest (EoI) form (embedded on this page). This will be used to select participants based on their areas of expertise, ability and willingness to contribute to the discussion as described in their EoI submission. In addition, EPSRC and MRC will be seeking to ensure a balanced representation of organisation, expertise and career stages from both the academic and user communities.

Expressions of interest will need to address the following points:

  • What is your research area?
  • How will your research contribute to the goals of any initiative in this area?
  • What other disciplines and knowledge would you need to bring in in order to realise your ideas?
  • What research would you like to highlight in a poster at the workshop?
  • A short biography that includes your wider research interests

Places are limited and the number of participants from a given organisation may have to be restricted in the event of multiple applications.

All submissions should be sent using the online form. The deadline for submissions is 16:00 on Monday 20 November 2017. Applications will not be accepted after this deadline.

Successful applicants will be notified in the week commencing 08 January 2018.

EPSRC's decision on attendance is final and feedback will not be given to unsuccessful applicants.

EPSRC will be covering the cost of accommodation during the workshop. However, expenses for travel and subsistence or accommodation incurred by participants will not be covered by EPSRC.

Location and Date

The workshop will take place from 10:00 on 06 February to 15:00 on 07 February 2018 in Bristol

An application will be considered confirmation of availability on this date and a commitment to attend if selected. Full details of the venue and agenda will be made available to the selected participants.

Support for people with caring responsibilities

As this is a two-day event we understand that some people with caring responsibilities may be put off from applying. EPSRC is committed to attracting the best potential researchers from a diverse populations and so where participation might involve additional care requirements there may be support available. Details will be supplied to successful applicants on request.


Annexe to the Expression of Interest for "Changing perceptions: Hearing, psychoacoustics and ICT"

Expression of Interest Form