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Video Games and Augmented Reality for dizziness rehabilitation

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  • Full or part time
    Prof P Sumner
    Dr G Powell
    Dr Fernando Loizides
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This PhD project will discover whether new advances in augmented reality and video game technology can benefit the rehabilitation of patients with debilitating dizziness. Within this aim, the project will be co-developed between the successful student and supervisory team, allowing fresh ideas to be piloted and integrated as these technologies rapidly develop.

Persistent postural perceptual dizziness (PPPD) is the most common diagnosis in patients reporting chronic dizziness (Popkirov, et al 2018; Staab et al., 2017; Bittar and Lins, 2015). It is a chronic functional condition where debilitating dizziness occurs in challenging visual environments such as supermarkets, cinemas and busy roads. Similar symptoms also occur in about 10% of the general population (Powell et al. in press, Neurology).

The standard rehabilitation approach currently used in clinics is de-sensitisation. However, the stimuli used are general, patient compliance is low, and rehabilitation success is highly varied. In collaboration with a start-up games company, we have produced a pilot version of a new rehabilitation video game that we hope will improve current rehabilitation.

The PhD Project would build on this in two ways in parallel:

1. Test the rehabilitation video game with patients, using a randomised trial (pilot and feasibility testing will be complete before the PhD project starts, and ethical approval will be in place).

2. Explore augmented reality as a means to enhance rehabilitation delivery and participant experience

The student would be embedded in a successful cross-disciplinary team that prioritises student career advancement. The training and supervision provided will position the student as an expert in the application of augmented reality and video game technology to healthcare, and thus open career opportunities in either academia or industry. The network of supervisors and collaborators span computer science, psychology, start-up companies and the NHS, providing hands on experience of these domains.

The student will be embedded in the highly collegiate and supportive post graduate community in the Schools of Psychology and Computer Science, with all the associated benefits (e.g. conference money, options for teaching experience, regular seminar practice, computer and IT support). The student would have access to the facilities and expertise of both schools, encouraging networking and further possibilities for application of the work.
The student will be supervised by Professor Petroc Sumner (Psychology), Dr Georgina Powell (Psychology) and Dr Fernando Loizides (Computer Science and Informatics)

The studentship will commence in October 2020 and will cover your tuition fees (at UK/EU level) as well as a maintenance grant. In 2019-2020 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £15,009 per annum. As well as tuition fees and a maintenance grant, all School of Psychology students receive conference and participant money (approx. £2250 for the duration of the studentship).They also receive a computer, office space and access to courses offered by the University’s Doctoral Academy and become members of the University Doctoral Academy.

As only one studentship is available and a very high standard of applications is typically received, the successful applicant is likely to have a very good first degree (a First or Upper Second class BSc Honours or equivalent) in either Psychology, Computer Science or any a related discipline, and/or be distinguished by having relevant research experience.

Funding Notes

This studentship is open to Home, EU or international students.

The award offered will cover Home/EU fees and maintenance stipend.

International candidates are welcomed but must be able to self-fund the difference between Home/EU and International fees


You can apply online - consideration is automatic on applying for a PhD in Psychology, with an October 2020 start date (programme code RFPDPSYA) and specify in the funding section that you wish to be considered for School funding.

Please specify that you are applying for this particular project and the supervisor.

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