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Upper Limb Rehabilitation using Virtual Reality in Acute Spinal Cord Injury

   School of Health and Life Sciences

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  Prof L Paul, Dr M Poyade  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Glasgow United Kingdom Human Computer Interaction Computer Science

About the Project

Project reference SHLS20095


Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is devastating for the individual. Improving arm and hand function is a high priority for people with SCI and even small improvements in arm and hand function can reduce reliance on others for self-care, promoting independence and positively affecting quality of life. Virtual reality (VR) training has been used as a form of arm and hand rehabilitation in different clinical conditions, with limited evidence in SCI, especially the acute stage. Doing exercise in a virtual environment, is more enjoyable and motivating than traditional exercise therapy, increasing the amount of therapy undertaken, leading to improvements in arm and hand function.


The overall aim of this PhD is to explore the role of virtual reality to improve upper limb function in people with acute spinal cord injury. The PhD will involve an extensive literature review in the area and then working in collaboration with patients, carers and clinical staff to design, develop and evaluate VR in people with acute spinal cord injury. This studentship is fully funded by Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research. The successful student will be supervised by staff from Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow School or Art and the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow and will be based between GCU and the Spinal Injuries Unit.


Candidates must have a postgraduate degree (MSc) in Computer Sciences & Visualisation, or equivalent, with experience in one or some of the following fields: Serious Games, Virtual Reality, Human Computer Interaction, visualisation, user-centred design, and design methodologies. They must have experience using some of the following technologies: Virtual Reality, Head Mounted Display, Oculus Quest 2, Unity, 3DSMax, Adobe Suite. Important to the project, they should have outstanding communication skills (written & spoken), be feel comfortable interacting with people from different professional backgrounds and individuals with spinal injuries.

Supervisor research profiles

Professor Lorna Paul

Dr Matthieu Poyade,-matthieu/

Dr Mariel Purcell (Consultant - Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit, Glasgow)

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2021. Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, then select the Full-time study, October 2021 application link under Health and Social Care. 

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date. 

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to: [Email Address Removed]


Virtual Reality

Serious Games

Spinal cord injury

Computer Science

Human Computer Interaction

Funding Notes

The studentship of £20,009 per year is for three years. The studentship covers the payment of tuition fees (£4,400 for UK students) plus an annual stipend of £15,609.
Bench fees for this project will be covered by the grant funding.
Further details of fees, scholarships and discounts at
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