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PhD Studentship in Psychology in the area of Human Computer Interaction: Embodiment in Immersive Environments

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded, full time, 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. Our core aim is partnering with industry in understanding user engagement in new technological platforms. We will be working at the sites where 5G connectivity, XR technologies and live arts overlap from a range of disciplinary perspectives. As part of this cluster, we invite applications for a full-time, fully-funded PhD Studentship in the area of human computer interaction.

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 interest in new technology and/or programming ability would be beneficial. 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 1 and 2 August 2019.

To apply please follow this link:

Funding Notes

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

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.20

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