The researcher Iñigo Urteaga has been selected as a beneficiary of the prestigious La Caixa Junior Leader Programme 2022. The fellowship award ceremony took place in Barcelona and brought together the 105 young researchers selected for the 2022 PhD and postdoctoral calls. The La Caixa Junior Leader programme has become one of the most important funding programmes for young researchers from all over the world, to promote research excellence in Spain and Portugal.
Iñigo Urteaga will receive the professional recognition and funding to continue his research career at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics – BCAM in the Machine Learning group. Urteaga developed his research career in the United States and the Junior Leader grant offers him the possibility of returning to his home country. “The La Caixa Junior Leader fellowship offers me the opportunity to devise and develop my own research project, where I can explore and investigate new research ideas as an independent, principal investigator,” he explains.
His research focuses on methodological and applied aspects of probabilistic machine learning. He will study statistical models and algorithms for computer systems to effectively learn —from observed data, without explicit instructions— how to perform real-life tasks. Specifically, how these systems can accommodate and overcome the challenges of time-varying phenomena, collected via not-at-random measurement processes.
The application of statistical machine learning in healthcare is both a motivation and a use-case for the proposed research: in the realm of electronic health records, genomics, and self-tracked mobile health, collected data are measured at different temporal resolutions and are prone to sparsity and missingness patterns.
“I will not only investigate and devise novel statistical machine learning algorithms and methods, but will assess how these perform in the real world, e.g., in the aforementioned healthcare applications,” adds the BCAM researcher.
In addition to funding, the Junior Leader programme also offers an extensive training and skills development programme for young researchers, as well as the possibility to network and collaborate with other researchers from all over the world.
“I will closely work with researchers from BCAM’s Data Science area and Machine Learning group, and we will foster both methodological and applied collaborations. In addition, the project will benefit and contribute to the ongoing efforts on statistical modelling and data science for healthcare within the Basque Modeling Task Force (BMTF),” Urteaga adds.
“I would encourage young researchers to consider the Junior Leader fellowship, as it is a well-recognised career opportunity, which can have a significant impact on our future academic and professional careers. It not only provides great financial support to carry out our research, but also many opportunities for professional growth, with multiple networking activities, and a variety of rewarding professional development workshops,” concludes researcher Iñigo Urteaga.