|Placed On:||31st March 2023|
|Closes:||20th April 2023|
An exciting opportunity for a scientist in veterinary, animal behaviour, experimental psychology or public health field to develop and investigate the effectiveness of a virtual reality intervention to improve human behaviour around dogs and reduce dog bites. You should have some knowledge of canine behaviour and human behaviour, plus quantitative data analysis and experimental design skills, to join our team to deliver our Dogs Trust funded research. Greater knowledge about how people interpret and react to canine behavioural signs of stress/threat will inform the development of a novel Virtual Reality intervention to improve human behaviour around dogs and potentially reduce dog bites. This new role will join the Westgarth Anthrozoology Group and work closely with the Virtual Engineering Centre and Dogs Trust on a multi-disciplinary project as part of our dog bite research portfolio. The post will also help to support the running of the Merseyside Dog Safety Partnership.
Virtual reality (VR) offers a unique opportunity from both a research design and practical training perspective to simulate interactions in a safe, ethical, accessible and highly controlled environment. With the previous support of Dogs Trust, we have developed DAVE (Dog Assisted Virtual Environment), a simulated Labrador dog that displays increasing aggressive behaviours on approach as he responds to a potential threat (i.e. the user), based on the Canine Ladder of Aggression. We have now demonstrated that participants (university students) find DAVE realistic and engaging, and behave in a variety of ways with him, including being ‘bitten’.
The objectives of the project are to:
You must have experience and qualifications in a relevant field such as animal, veterinary, experimental psychology or public health field, at postgraduate level to PhD. You will be able to design data collection, use statistical programs to manipulate and analyse data, and have a keen interest in canine behaviour and human behaviour change. You will need to be highly personable, confident in communicating with the general public at Dogs Trust community events. You must also have excellent time management skills and ability to manage the running of the project efficiently and achieve the objectives.
The post is available for a fixed-term period of two years.
Any applicants who are still awaiting their PhD to be awarded should be aware that if successful, they will be appointed at grade 6, spine point 30. Upon written confirmation that they have been successful in being awarded their PhD, they will be moved onto grade 7, spine point 31 from the date of their award.
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