Fully Funded IoPPN/Psychiatry Research Trust PhD Studentship

King's College London

Start date: 1st October 2018

Award: 1 fully funded IoPPN/Psychiatry Research Trust  PhD studentship

Project: We are looking for a computer scientist specialised in virtual reality with a strong interest in digital health.

This proposal will use virtual reality (VR) to improve the treatment of social anxiety among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As anxiety severely impairs the daily functioning of people with ASD, the development of more effective interventions will substantially improve their everyday functioning and quality of life.

Virtual reality (VR) has been used to treat anxiety disorders in people without autism and there is support for its efficacy. In children with autism, VR has been shown to be feasible and well tolerated.  By developing the VR environments jointly with young people with ASD we will aim to identify triggers that may trigger anxiety in people with ASD. In the novel application of VR to youth with ASD and anxiety, we will “teach” emotional literacy by observing physiological response and feeding back to patients during exposure to anxiety triggers.  We will then use a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy approach to help patients develop and implement strategies for anxiety management. This research aims ultimately to provide more effective and cost-effective interventions for youth with ASD.

The project is a collaboration between the VR Lab, the Department of Psychology and the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The student will acquire cutting-edge knowledge and experience in digital mental health.

Supervisors: Dr Lucia Valmaggia and Professor Emily Simonoff

Entry requirements: Applicants should have a 2:1 or 1st class honours degree in a subject relevant to the proposed project. Experience in programming in VR is essential.

Award types and eligibility: The award will cover the PhD stipend and tuition fees. Please note that this studentship is available to Home/EU fee status students only.

How to apply:

Applicants must complete and submit an online admissions application, via the admissions portal by midnight (23:59 GMT), Sunday 8 July 2018.  

On the ‘Choosing a programme’ page, please select ‘Research degrees’ and enter the keyword Psychology.

In your application, you will be asked to include:

  • Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application
  • Details of your qualifications (you will need to attach copies)
  • Details of previous employment
  • A personal statement describing your interests and why you wish to apply for this project. Please include this as an attachment rather than using the text box.
  • Academic References – all admissions applications require two supporting references. If the applicant is relying on his/her referees to submit references directly to the College after he/she has submitted his/her admissions application, then the applicant must ensure that their chosen referees are made aware of the funding deadline.

In the Funding section, please tick box 5 and include the following reference: LV-IoPPN-06-2018

Please note there is no need to complete the Research Proposal section in your application as the project has already been set.

You are welcome to email Dr Lucia Valmaggia (supervisor) for more information regarding the project and studentship.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Research Administration Assistant

References must be received by the deadline for the applicant to be eligible.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Closing Date: Sunday 8th July 2018 (23:59 GMT)

Interviews: Wednesday 25th July 2018

Further information: 

Virtual Reality Lab

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