Explainable machine learning for risk prediction in later life care

This project sits with the ACRC Academy , a dedicated centre for doctoral training based with the Advanced Care Research Centre. The programme is novel, structured, thematic, cohort-based, and of 48 months duration, with an initial taught year followed by three years of PhD research. Each PhD research project within the Academy has been devised by a supervisory team comprising academic staff from at least two of the three colleges within the University of Edinburgh.


Risk prediction in healthcare is important, particularly when there is uncertainty that treatment benefits outweigh risks of harm. This is more often true in older populations due to complexity from multiple health issues. Machine learning may improve prediction of outcomes, but many such models are ‘black-box’ and lack explainability to help clinicians make better decisions [1]. This project will develop explainable machine learning models to predict and explain the benefits and risks from treatments. We will rely on recent advances in machine learning surrounding explainability, e.g., gradient- or attention-based approaches, to investigate how changes in risks relate to input factors.


[1] Amann, Julia, et al. "Explainability for artificial intelligence in healthcare: a multidisciplinary perspective." BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 20.1 (2020): 1-9.

Research Group


Further Information: 

Dr Chen Qin - Chen.Qin@ed.ac.uk

Prof Sotirios Tsaftaris - S.Tsaftaris@ed.ac.uk

Dr Anand - atul.anand@ed.ac.uk

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/equality-diversity

Closing Date: 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


A stipend of £16,748 (2022 rate) and fees are payable for home students. There is funding available for stipend and fees for international students as part of the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: