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Heritage-based virtual reality for well-being in space CU Led

   Centre for Postdigital Cultures

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  Prof Sylvester Arnab  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.  

The successful applicant will spend the 1st year at Coventry University and the following year at Deakin University and then the final 1.5 years at Coventry University  

The supervision team will be drawn from the two Universities. 

As we expand into the solar system to explore, live, and work, it is imperative to research and design multifunctional well-being solutions to reduce various health risks and help crew members on the long-duration missions in low Earth orbit (LEO), to the Moon and Mars adjust and acclimatise to their new environment. See The Five Hazards of Humans Spaceflight by NASA for more details (  

This PhD project aims to investigate how meaningful game-like heritage-based virtual reality (VR) experiences can support the well-being of astronauts and people living and working in ICE (isolated, confined, and extreme) environments. The heritage aspect can help promote relatability and emotional connection. In his book The Value of Museums: Enhancing Societal Well-Being (2021) John H. Falk defines meaningful experiences as those that are valuable to users and as such can create lasting memories and has the potential to affect long-term personal, intellectual, social, and physical well-being. The proposed content will be investigated and co-created with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) users including transmigrants as reference to the future spacefarers. 

The research results will provide a fundamental understanding of the content to be potentially integrated into a system for measuring, monitoring and regulating affective stress using artificial intelligence (AI), wearable sensors and VR experiences for meditation, physical exercise, multisensory eating experiences, and similar purposes. Such meaningful experiences could also be used in hospitals, asylums, retirement villages, prisons and other isolated living and working environments such as in Antarctica, oil rigs, mines, and remote areas. By this, the study is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, i.e., 3 – Good Health and Well-being

To achieve the proposed goals, the following methods will be used: 

  • Literature review in the area of museum and heritage studies (including digital heritage and virtual museums), game studies, human-computer interaction (VR), and space medicine (psychology); 
  • Qualitative data collection from experts in the above areas; 
  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) participants including transmigrants;  
  • Iterative design and development of a case study: a VR working prototype; 
  • Summative user evaluation. 

Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme.   

This includes;   

  • Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates).  
  • A Masters degree in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Merit level. In addition, the mark for the Masters dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. Please note that where a candidate has 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first-class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer-reviewed publications, research-related awards or prizes and/or professional reports.  
  •  Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).   
  •  The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.   

 For an overview of each University’s entry requirements please visit:   

Application Process 

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus an up to 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

All candidates must apply to both Universities. 

For the Coventry application, please visit: 

For the Deakin application, please visit: 

Funding Notes

Fully funded with stipend
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