Goldsmiths x Soundout Postdoc

Today’s an exciting day as I signed a contract for my next year-ish of employment. As of this month, I will be working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. This is particularly exciting for me for a few reasons.

The first is that I am again working in a psychology department. And not only any psychology department, but the same department that offers the Music, Mind and Brain where I did my MSc. Professionally, this feels like a good move since one day I hope to get one of those cross department appointments if I stay the academic course.

As someone who feels they are constantly slipping between then trying to crawl out of the interdisciplinary cracks, it’s nice to be able to know it is possible to find employment outside of my doctoral training in an academic context. Though that said, if I next take an industry role, this position will also prepare me for that (see next).

The second reason for being excited is the project I will be a part of. Funding for my position resulted in a successful Innovate UK grant application between Goldsmiths and SoundOut!.

The Innovate UK grants provide funding for projects where there’s an overlap between academic and industry needs and collaborating on a project will help solve a problem meaningful to both. In this case, the project is about developing a suite of tools that will help companies evaluate the effectiveness of their audio branding/audio assets at scale.

This excites me for two reasons (sorry to nest lists here). The first is that because we will be working on applied problems at scale (we will be using the platform to collect tons of data). That means there’s going to be a lot of chances to see how our ideas fare when theory meets practice as we will have access to literally thousands of participants' data to analyze.

We’ll actually get to see how our model predictions do out-of-sample and have the chance to reflect, modify, and change our opinions as new data comes in. The work will be situated as part of an on-going, iterative research process instead of doing one, small experiment then hope it replicates. The second is that a large portion of the project depends on applying my knowledge around memory for melodies and trying to model features that predict attributes like recognition and recall in an applied context.

The third (reason this project is exciting) is that the role will be below full-time hours and remote friendly. It’s been a very long time since I have been able to see anyone in person and I am hoping to use this flexibility to safely navigate a mobile friendly future. My other time will hopefully be used to have a healthy mix between taking it easier and learning new tricks.

I am not sure what new things I want to add to my toolbox as a result for this position, but I am some ideas. Looking forward to sharing more about this as it unfolds.