Thursday, 21 July 2016

In CATCH, #WeAreInternational

We’re extremely privileged to have so many international links within CATCH. Academics, Professional Services staff, PhD students and Researchers from a variety of countries and ethnic backgrounds work as one team to research, develop, evaluate and implement new technologies to enable people to live well and age well.

Dr Mahnaz Arvaneh and Dr Dana Damian, both CATCH academics and lecturers in Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, are from Iran and Romania respectively. Dr Arvaneh has previously studied and worked in Singapore and Ireland and her research interests include to better understand how our physiology works in healthy and diseased states. She is also the Director of the Physiological Signals and Systems (PSS) laboratory. Dr Damian, the Director of Sheffield Biomedical Robotics Lab at the University, has studied in Switzerland and worked at Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard University in the USA before joining CATCH in 2015.

For the last year we have been highly fortunate to be joined by visiting Professor Mario Muñoz Organero from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain where he is an Associate Professor in Telematics Engineering.

Dr Heidi Christensen, CATCH Lecturer in Computer Science, is from Denmark and has worked at the University of Sheffield for 14 years on numerous European and UK funded projects. Most recently she has worked on the HomeService project, part of the large EPSRC programme grant ‘Natural Speech Technology’.

Professor Arlene Astell, who works for CATCH part time, provides excellent links to Canada and Europe.  Professor Astell is based in Canada as an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and is also Ontario Shores Research Chair in Community Management of Dementia at the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Science. At Sheffield, Professor Astell is the Principal Investigator for InLife, a Horizon 2020 funded European research project which aims to prolong and support independent living of older adults with cognitive impairment. 19 partners across Europe are taking part in the project from eight countries: Austria, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.  Sheffield is the only UK site on this project.

The Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) Congress is being held in Sheffield in September 2017. Over 400 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the congress. Within the centre, our very own Dr Peter Cudd is the President of the AAATE and many members of the CATCH team are members of the AAATE, furthering our collaborations across Europe.

CATCH’s Marketing and Communications Officer, Anneliese Fraser, originally from Austria, brings her expertise to our international centre having spent more than 10 years working in industry and higher education in Austria, Germany and the UK.

And it doesn’t stop there. Sid Sehgal, Research Associate from India, is an integral member of the STAR team, researching and developing the embedded speech technology in a computer based articulation therapy app. Dr Jochen Farwer, from Germany, is a Research Associate on two CATCH projects: SMART-COPD, an app based intervention to encourage COPD patients to take more exercise, and CloudCAST, a speech technology project. Dr Nasrin Nasr from Iran is a Research Fellow within the group and is currently a co-investigator on EU funded project The SCRIPT (Supervised Care and Rehabilitation Involving Personal Tele-Robotics).

As well as international staff, CATCH also has numerous international PhD students working on groundbreaking research projects.  These include Affra Al Shamsi, from Oman, researching into knowledge sharing in healthcare, Zahra Ommani, from Iran, who is working on speech technology for older adults and Bahman Mirheidari, also from Iran, working on speech technology applied to dementia.

In CATCH, we’re committed to the UK remaining a welcoming home of global scholarship and we will continue to ensure our research knows no geographical boundaries.

To find out more about the #WeAreInternational campaign and to show your support, visit

Written by Laura Murray

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