We have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant worth approximately £130K to support an exciting project which aims to apply visual neuroscience to the rehabilitation of childhood cerebral visual impairment and special education. The work is a collaboration between the University of Lincoln, Schoolof Psychologyand the West of England School and College for young people with little or no sight (WESC) (www.westengland.ac.uk). The grant will employ an experienced neuroscience / psychology researcher at WESC inExeter who will develop and evaluate a visual search rehabilitation computer game for use in children with partial visual loss. Dr Conor Linehan from the Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre (an expert in educational games) will also play a leading role in the project (http://staff.lincoln.ac.uk/clinehan).
WESC approached us as they realised that many of the children and young people they work with have problems which are due to damage to the brains visual centres rather than disorders of the eye itself. The project will also help WESC build expertise and understanding of the role of the brain in visual perception and its disorders. Previous research has demonstrated that visual search training can lead to significant recovery of vision following damage to visual regions of the brain in adults, but adult training programmes are simply to boring to use with children. At the same time, we expect that implementing visual search training as a game could also lead to improvements to provision of search training to adults with hemianopia (visual loss following stroke).
KTPs are a national initiative which supports partnerships between business and universities enabling Associates to work on challenging, high profile projects (www.ktponline.org.uk). Financial support for the KTP project with WESC is provided by the Technology Strategy Board with offer of a part contribution from the Medical Research Council.
Please let me know if you are interested in finding out more about this project. If you think you have a suitable background and are interested in applying for the position please see the job and application procedure here: http://jobs.lincoln.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=EL1076A
See also previous post: http://hodgson.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2012/05/28/visual-neuroscience-and-specialist-education/