Advanced Care Research Centre

Blog - Research Visit to University of Barcelona

ACRC and AIM-CISC researcher Imane Guellil tells us about her recent visit to the University of Barcelona.

ACRC Imane in Barcelona

In May 2023, I visited the University of Barcelona, specifically the Language and Computational Center (focusing its research on the computational processing of language) and had the privilege of working with renowned researchers in the field of linguistics and Natural Language Processing (NLP). The visit was a valuable experience and had two key outcomes:

Firstly, the research visit facilitated collaborative work on the project “XAI-DisInfodemics: eXplainable AI for disinformation and conspiracy detection during infodemics”, which is carried out by the CLiC research group. This project is funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and, as appropriate, by the “European Union NextGenerationEU/PRTR”. Maria Taulé is the PI of this project and the director of the CLiC research group, and she was my faculty host during my research visit to the University of Barcelona. Maria provided me with all the facilities during my visit where I shared an office other researchers and PhD students. She also introduced me to different members of the team including Mireia Farrus Cabeceran, who focusses on the speech recognition part of the project. Hence, the exchange allowed me to build an international professional network and exchange ideas with other researchers. CLiC has been recognized as an established group by Generalitat de Catalunya.

Secondly, this visit opened the door to a systematic review of the detection of vaccine misinformation/disinformation on social media using NLP. As the preparation of a systematic review will require three main phases (abstract screening, full-text screenings and data extraction), annotators are crucial for the success of this operation. Maria and Mireia put me in contact with two master students to help with those tasks.

ACRC Imane in Barcelona with group

We are planning to involve a student/post-doc at the University of Edinburgh for collaborating on this systematic review. During my visit, I started working on the research protocol that we plan to submit to a journal. This protocol will be used by the annotator for the different screening and data extraction parts. We also plan to submit the resulting systematic review to a journal. The systematic review would be the first step of our collaboration to detect the different datasets, annotation guidelines, models, etc. used for the detection of vaccine misinformation/disinformation using NLP.

As the detection of drug misinformation is a part of my future fellowship application, collaboration with the CLiC group would be crucial for the success of this application.

As part of my visit, I was invited to give a talk related to my background and my current work at the University of Edinburgh. The audience was interested and curious about our research related to the detection of geriatric syndromes and adverse events using NLP. The different interactions and exchanges offered other perspectives regarding our research problem. 

I am also positive that the contacts established throughout my visit will be valuable for moving my career forward. Overall, my visit to the University of Barcelona was an inspiring and rewarding experience that provided me with valuable knowledge and a network of undoubtedly great value for my current work and my future career as an NLP researcher working on medical data.