Alpha is Telefonica’s Moonshots facility, based in Barcelona. At Alpha, we bring together the very best minds in the world in order to tackle the world’s greatest challenges, and create solutions that are truly unique.
Worldwide, healthcare costs have been increasing faster than GDP for 50 years, whilst key indicators such as life expectancy have plateaued in many countries. The root cause is a change in disease burden – across the world, today’s biggest diseases and biggest killers are chronic diseases such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, and mental health disorders. In fact, for every life saved from infections since 2000, we’ve lost two lives to chronic disease.
However, it’s now well-established that the main cause of chronic diseases is everyday behaviours such as poor diet, lack of exercise, using tobacco, excessive alcohol, or lack of sleep. In 2008 the official leading cause of death in the US became personal choices; yet healthcare systems today are simply not designed to help people change these root causes of chronic disease. To make tackling everyday behaviours even harder, pioneers in neuroscience and behavioural economics have begun to reveal that people are not even really in conscious control of their behaviour. We’re learning that attention is such a scarce resource that we make many decisions – big and small – using automatic (and unconscious) processes. It appears that the best way to tackle chronic disease is to help people optimise their happiness – using the basic drive for happiness to steer everyday behaviours.
At Alpha, we believe that advances in neuroscience, mobile computing, and machine learning now mean we can help people to take control of their own behaviour, optimise their life, and limit the effects of unhealthy behaviour on their bodies and their minds.
We believe that doing this will help people to manage and prevent a range of chronic diseases and help make personal changes that will improve their satisfaction with their life. To achieve this, we are using cutting-edge digital insights and the smart, real-time interpretation of data to develop targeted tools, built around each user.
Of course, we recognize the myriad challenges involved in this work. We are working systematically with our team of diverse minds in science, engineering and design to build breakthrough solutions to meet these challenges head-on. To support our work, we are partnering with the best academics, developers, companies, and professionals around the world.
Our offices are in an iconic building located right by the Mediterranean Sea and close to the vibrant innovation and start-up business area of Barcelona.
Our current research roles
Alpha Health Research is an interdisciplinary lab that enthusiastically encourages mixing different scientific domains. Our team includes experts with very different cultural and professional backgrounds. We collaborate with world leading psychologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists and behavioural economists. Our mission is to harness unprecedented data sources, machine learning advancements, new knowledge about brain and human behaviour, and to bring concrete value to people helping them living happier and healthier lives. We discover new scientific knowledge but we are also driven to apply our research in practice, i.e., to bring actionable information from data and scientific knowledge to health products that measurably improve lives of millions.
Extensive awareness and understanding of the State of the Art in Recommendation Systems
Hands-on experience in building recommendation systems
Strong background in machine learning with domain knowledge and experience in the following areas: recommendation systems, information retrieval, data-driven statistical modeling, feature extraction and analysis
Solid knowledge of scripting in Python and/or R, knowledge of other programming languages is an advantage
Strong desire to transfer your ideas into reality
Publications at top-tier conferences or journals
Excellent critical thinking skills, combined with the ability to present your ideas clearly and compellingly in both verbal and written form
Interest and/or experience in human behaviour analysis, psychology, or computational neuroscience is nice to have