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Educational Technology and Psychophysiological Research: benefits and risks of using Adaptive Virtual Reality Training (AVRT) for Simulated Taser Training and Trust-Building in Police-Community Engagement

   Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences

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  Prof Jill Jameson, Prof Josh Davis, Dr Mark Goss-Sampson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Simulation research is a rapidly developing field in healthcare but is still very underdeveloped in police research and training: this highly original VC PhD Scholarship opportunity offers world class potential for high impact innovative virtual reality (VR) research involving simulated police VR taser and community engagement training, using bespoke free-roam immersive reality AVRT facilities with police, youth, and community partners of the university.  This is an interdisciplinary emerging area of study. Hence applicants are advised to show evidence of interest and potential suitability for this project, but also strongly encouraged to meet the supervisory team before writing a research plan.

The unique capabilities of immersive VR simulation provide potential to place participants in challenging, dynamic, complex high-fidelity situations, from which initial reports demonstrate significant improvements in de-escalation, and metacognitive awareness of decision-making in conflict and emergency situations. This work aligns with the ILD Centres for Professional Workforce Development and Thinking & Learning, and UN SDGs #8 (Decent work), #11 (Access to justice for all) and #10 (Reduced Inequalities). Research findings will inform police training and public policy to improve policing and community-police engagement. Findings will also contribute original high quality research insights into the benefits and risks of using immersive VR police-community training using a dynamic instructor-operated flexible high-fidelity system. Data will be shared openly for international access to advance the field of VR police training in conflict situations and community trust-building. Results will be published and disseminated to the Challenging Hate Crime Community-Police Partnership of regional and national experts, in which the University has been a key member for 18+ years. Expert partners include the Met police service, a youth group, and safeguarding experts.    

This VC PhD Scholarship aims to:

1.      Carry out applied educational technology and psychophysiological research into the benefits and risks of using virtual reality (VR) scenarios for simulated police taser training and police-community engagement in trust-building.

2.      Ensure the PhD is achievable in 3 years, and within the reach/ability of a doctoral student.

3.      Ensure the research adds to at least 2 of the 3 REF 2021 impact case studies underpinning this research, led by the proposed supervisory team (Jameson, Davis, and Goss-Sampson).

4.      Provide an opportunity for immersive virtual reality research for an interested, well-qualified applicant.

Duration: 3 years full time study or 6 years part time study

Year 1: £16,062 (FT) or pro-rata (PT) Year 2: In line with UKRI rate Year 3: In line with UKRI rate

In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home rate, currently £4,596 (FT) or pro-rata (PT), for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee for the duration of their scholarship. This fee is subject to an annual increase.

Person Specification

·        1st Class or 2nd class, First Division (Upper Second Class) honours degree or a taught master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant area to the proposed research project

  ·        For those whose first language is not English and/or if from a country where English is not the majority spoken language (as recognised by the UKBA), a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 (in all elements of the test) or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required, if your programme falls within the faculty of Engineering and Science a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all elements of the test or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required. Unless the degree above was taught in English and obtained in a majority English speaking country, e.g. UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc, as recognised by the UKBA.

  ·        Previous experience of undertaking research (e.g. undergraduate or taught master’s dissertation)

  ·        Experience and knowledge of the use of, development of, and/or research into/training in immersive virtual reality simulation systems

  ·        Knowledge and proven evidence of the successful use of mixed methods (quantitative and qualitive) research methods and literature review in a field of relevance to the project (applicants should make a case for their suitability).

  ·        Experience of police and community conflict resolution/engagement and/or police training research

  ·        Understands the fundamental differences between a taught degree and a research degree in terms of approach and personal discipline/motivation

  ·        Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully

  ·        This scholarship may require Academic Technology Approval Scheme approval for the successful candidate if from outside of the EU/EEA

  ·        The scholarship must commence before 1 January 2023

  Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available at: Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered:

•       VC Scholarship Reference Number (Ref)– included in the personal statement section

•       Personal Statement - outlining your motivation for applying for this PhD, and your previous research experience (e.g., as a research assistant or completing a dissertation).

•       Academic qualification certificates/transcripts*

•       IELTS/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

•       Research Proposal* (ca. 1500 words- please use template available from:

•       Your complete CV*

•       Two reference letters (one ideally from a dissertation supervisor)*

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments must be in PDF format.  You will need to submit this as 1 single PDF, to be uploaded as attachment

Before submitting your application, you are encouraged to liaise with the Lead Supervisor on the details above.

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