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Embodiment in Immersive Environments

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded Psychology PhD studentship available from September 2019 to research embodiment in virtual environments. There will be opportunities during the PhD for secondment to our project partners in the creative industries. Past students have carried out secondments at Microsoft and BBC R&D for example.

The AHRC Bristol + Bath Creative Cluster is a newly funded research programme working in collaboration with creative industries in the Bristol and Bath region. The partners are University of the West of England, University of Bristol, University of Bath, Bath Spa University, and Watershed, working with a range of industry partners from film and television, theatre, publishing and computing. The partnership will support its business partners in finding new ways to engage the audiences of the future in new market places. Our core aim is partnering with industry in understanding user engagement in new platforms. We will be working at the sites where 5G connectivity, XR technologies and live arts overlap, with our goal to develop new markets for our partner creative businesses and to lay the foundations for the Bristol + Bath cluster to be internationally successful by 2030. As part of this cluster, we invite applications for a full-time, fully-funded PhD Studentship.

The Project
Working collaboratively between Psychology and Computer Science you will bridge two teams: the CREATE Lab in the department of Psychology exploring human computer interaction with a focus on virtual reality and CAMERA in Computer Science looking at new forms of motion capture. The PhD will explore how emerging immersive technologies are changing the ways in which the creative industries engage their audiences, and will develop an understanding of what this means from a psychological perspective. In the current programme of work you could, for example, explore questions concerning what it means to have a very realistic avatar; how you identify behavioural characteristics that make that avatar lifelike; what forms of rendering make the character engaging or what it means to inhabit another person’s avatar, although there is plenty of flexibility to come up with new research questions. The programme of research will involve carrying out user studies in this area. We also aim to carry out some large-scale deployments as part of the AHRC Creative Cluster grant, enabling opportunities to explore questions on embodiment “in the wild” as well as in the lab.

Applicant criteria
Applicants should:
• Fulfil the entrance requirements for a Department for Psychology PhD (
• Have expertise in a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

You will have a background in Psychology, Cognitive Science or Human Computer Interaction. Experience of both quantitative and qualitative methods is essential and an enthusiasm to collaborate with the broader project team. Some programming ability would be beneficial and desirable. During the PhD you will be strongly encouraged to use 3D development environments such as Unity or Unreal together with a range of other technologies such as motion capture and videogrammetry, with training provided through CREATE or CAMERA where required.

The preferred start date is 30 September 2019.

Interviews are due to take place on Monday 20 May 2019.

To apply please follow this link:

Funding Notes

The award is available for up to 3 years (subject to continued satisfactory progress) and will include tuition fees at the Home/EU rate, an annual stipend of £15,009 (2019/20 rate, liable to increase in 2020/21 and 2021/22) and a Training Support Fee of £1,000 per annum.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Bath in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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