Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  Virtual Reality (VR) for the promotion of psychological and physiological benefit for older people.


This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr William Farrelly, Dr Shane Wilson, Dr Carmel Heaney, Dr Erik Mac Giolla  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Postgraduate Research Programme Translational Health Research Innovation preVention & Equity (THRIVE) offers 12 PhD research scholarships to commence in 2024. Each project will include an enterprise placement of minimum 12 weeks duration.

PhD Project title: (THRIVE 8) Virtual Reality (VR) for the promotion of psychological and physiological benefit for older people

This PhD application relates to the assessment of the psychological and physiological benefits of immersion in virtual environments and builds on research conducted at the ATU, Donegal. The developed VR environment has attracted significant attention from physicians in gerontology and palliative care in addition to carers in care homes. With older patients, the infirm or those in palliative care, age-related or illness-related concerns can include physical distress, pain, discomfort, psychological distress, medical uncertainty and anxiety, which is dependent, to some extent, upon the patient’s level of independence (for example, functional capacity (the ability to perform normal daily tasks) and cognitive acuity (the ability to think clearly, reason and remember). 

A core aim of this research is to permit older people, infirm patients and those in palliative care to experience the outdoors by means of virtual reality. There is significant research that suggests a strong link between nature, the outdoors environments and wellbeing. A second aim of this research is to present VR in a manner that promotes dignity preservation, this is equally applicable to palliative care and older people.  

Keywords / areas: Computing, Virtual Reality, VR and Older People, Virtual Reality and Older People, Aging, Virtual reality and Artificial Intelligence and VR and Artificial Intelligence and VR and AI.

Objectives of the research project:

1. to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual reality in improving the lived experience of older people, individuals

living with frailty, or those in palliative care by providing immersive VR experiences that can contribute to

improvement in the psychology or physiology of the target group.

2. to explore the technologies associated with VR to provide realistic virtual experiences that are compatible with

streaming services and utilise stand-alone headsets.

3. to explore the capabilities of VR software to generate data sets that can be used as metrics for the

determination of system efficacy.


A minimum of 2.1 honours degree (Level 8) in a relevant discipline.

Project Duration:

48 months (PhD)

Preferred Location:



Application Form / Terms and Conditions can be obtained on the website:

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm, (GMT) Monday 29th April, 2024.

Only selected applicants will be called for an online interview (shortlisting may apply).

Computer Science (8) Nursing & Health (27) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

TU RISE is co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021- 27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.
Funding for this Project includes:
• A student stipend (usually tax-exempt) valued at €22,000 per annum
• Annual waivers of postgraduate tuition fee
• Extensive research training programme
• Support for travel, consumables and dissemination expenses
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.