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From:
Willem-Paul Brinkman <[log in to unmask]>
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Date:
Fri, 22 Feb 2008 14:01:33 +0100
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PhD Studentship: "Impact of Culture on Avatar Use in Self-service Equipment."

School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics, Brunel
University (West London), Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, United Kingdom

Telephone: (01895) 274000
Departmental fax:  (01895) 251686

The People and Interactivity (PANDI) HCI research group at Brunel
University is seeking a PhD candidate to undertake a commercially
sponsored EPSRC CASE-NA project. This HCI-based project aims to establish
an understanding of culturally relevant avatar / character design for use
in self-service machines. The PhD candidate will be looking at HCI issues
such as avatar personality, social status, age, gender, assistance style,
degree of entertainment, etc.

Brunel University, with its multicultural community of over 14,000
students including 2214 international students, is an ideal place to
recruit participants for such a study. Participants will be drawn from a
number of cultural groups, allowing comparison that will allow the project
to establish culturally relevant designs for avatars / characters. A
series of existing and newly created characters will be used to measure
the user experience and facilitate group discussion. The project's results
will allow Brunel to understand the effect of avatars within different
culture groups and give the commercial sponsor clear directions for
potential product improvements.

Research environment:
The research undertaken is part of the activities of the PANDI Research
Centre (http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/acad/siscm/disc/research/pi), which
brings together HCI researchers at Brunel University. The project is
commercially sponsored and will be conducted in close cooperation with the
company, which will include a minimum of 3 months working with the company
in Dundee. The PhD studentship will cover tuition fees of 3,235 and a
tax-free bursary of at least 12,600 pa for the duration of 3 years.

Application details:
Ideal applicants will have experience in the fields of human-computer
interaction, computer science, psychology, industrial design and / or
similar. We seek candidates with a Masters degree, or from those with at
least an upper Second class Bachelors degree. Candidates must have good
communication skills and should have an interest in HCI, interface design
and empirical research; both qualitative and statistical data analysis. An
EPSRC eligibility requirement is that the candidate has a relevant
connection with the UK and is eligible for public sector support (usually
established by residence, but for more specific details please see the
EPSRC web site).

Those interested in applying should send a C.V., names and contact details
of two referees, and a cover letter to: [log in to unmask]

The deadline for applications is the 31st of March, but candidates are
encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Interviews will be held on the
7th of April at Brunel University (West London). The successful candidate
will be encouraged to start the project as soon as is practically
possible. Informal enquiries may be made to Dr Stephen Richard Gulliver.

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