PhD Studentship - Making connections in ASC: Supporting communication and peer cooperation in children with autism spectrum conditions

University of Sussex - School of Psychology

PhD studentship available for September 2017

Project title: Making connections in ASC: Supporting communication and peer cooperation in children with autism spectrum conditions

Supervisor: Dr Nicola Yuill (Children & Technology Lab, School of Psychology, University of Sussex) @chatlabuk

There are increasing numbers of apps and technology supports for children with autism, but little that focuses directly on face-to-face interaction and close cooperation with peers. This project involves evaluating and extending the use of existing collaborative technology developed both in our lab and beyond (e.g. linked tablets, digitally-augmented objects) in supporting children with autism to work together with typically developing peers and those with autism, both during and after experience with the enabling technology.

The student will have choice in determining the specific direction of the project, choosing among the various environments we have developed, assessing more play- or task-oriented interactions, focusing on interactions with other children with ASC or typical development.

Methods will involve comparative quantitative and qualitative analysis of videotaped interactions over time, using Interact software to examine patterns of interaction sequences. The theoretical background involves understanding different theoretical perspectives on the development of cooperation in typical and atypical development (e.g. Holt & Yuill, 2014; Yuill & Rogers, 2012; Yuill et al, Frontiers 2014), including informative work on non-humans (Bard & Leavens, 2014), and the perspective of embodied and enactive approaches to the analysis of interaction (Fantasia, de Jaegher & Fasulo, 2014).

Applications should be made by Tuesday 10th January 2017. The award of the studentship will be based on a competitive process. If awarded, it would be a full-time studentship (funded for a duration of three years) covering tuition fee, and a maintenance allowance. The maintenance allowance is currently £14,296 per annum.

Eligibility requirements for potential candidates:

  • This award will only pay fees at the Home/EU rate ( Candidates may not be eligible for the full award if they do not meet UK residency requirements. For full details of eligibility, please check the ESRC guidelines.
  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master's degree in Psychology or a related discipline.

Guidance for applicants:

  • Application procedures can be found here.
  • Please submit an online application for the ‘PhD in Psychology’ programme, for September 2017 entry through this link.
  • State in the ‘Funding information’ section of your online application that you are applying for this studentship, giving the title of the project as above and mention the supervisor, Dr Nicola Yuill, in the ‘Supervisor suggested by applicant’ section.
  • The proposed source of funding should be specified as 'ESRC or School of Psychology’.

Candidates should provide:

  • A research statement that briefly outlines your current state of knowledge, hypotheses that could be addressed, and an outline of potential methods. Your answer should not exceed 2 pages including references, be set at minimum 10-font type with margins a minimum of 1cm.
  • An up-to-date CV.
  • A current degree transcript(s) with full details of performance on all completed courses.
  • Two academic references.

For queries with respect to the application process please send an email for the attention of 'Postgraduate Coordinator' to:

To discuss the details of this PhD project further, please contact Dr Nicola Yuill:

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