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Building an Inclusive Metaverse

Applications are invited for our EPSRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) PhD studentships that will support six (6) research projects starting 1 October 2022. One of these projects is “Building an Inclusive Metaverse” led by Dr Vanja Garaj in the Brunel Design School

Successful applicants will receive an annual stipend of £18,062 including outer London allowance plus payment of their full-time tuition fees for a period of 42 months (3.5 years).

You should be eligible for home (UK) tuition fees but there is a limited number of studentships (no more than two) available to overseas applicants, including EU nationals, who meet the entry criteria.

The Project

This PhD project will apply the principles of inclusive design in researching and developing the human-computer interaction (HCI) software solutions to facilitate the accessibility and inclusivity of the Metaverse for people with disabilities and older people. The project will build upon two other collaborative EPSRC-funded research projects by the Brunel Design School: Inclusive Immersion and Towards an Equitable Social VR. Our partners on these projects include the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge, Meta, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Digital Catapult, Open Inclusion and Games London.

Please contact Dr Vanja Garaj at vanja.garaj@brunel.ac.uk to find out more.


You will have or will receive an undergraduate degree classified at 1st class or 2:1 (honours) in computer science, design or related engineering subject. A postgraduate masters degree may be an advantage. Where appropriate, applicants must have English language proficiency to an overall score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Skills and Experience

You will have an educational background in computer science, engineering and/or design, coupled with a strong interest in the immersive XR technologies of VR, AR and MR. In addition, the project requires a good level of the pre-existing programming skills in Unity and/or Unreal Engine and the ambition to develop these skills further as the project unfolds. You should be a highly motivated individual and possess a strong sense of curiosity. The ability to study independently, think critically and collaborate with others is essential.

How to apply

Email the documents below as a single PDF file to cedps-studentships@brunel.ac.uk by 16:00 on Wednesday 25 May 2022. Please state the name of the project supervisor in your email.

  • Your up-to-date CV;
  • Your 300-word personal statement setting out why you are suitable for this position;
  • Your Undergraduate/Postgraduate Masters degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • Your English Language qualification of IELTS 6.5 overall or equivalent, if applicable;
  • Two references, one of which can be provided by a member of Brunel University academic staff.

Interviews will take place in June 2022.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Vanja Garaj - Director of Research for Brunel Design School, Tutor for the Professional Design Studio module (DM5534), MSc Integrated Product Design and Module Leader for the Systems Design module (DM2318), BA Industrial Design and Technology. Previously, Head of Department of Design (2018 - 2021) and Director of Postgraduate Research for Design. Before joining Brunel Design in 2017, Programme Director for MSc Digital Design and Branding in Digital Media Subject Area, Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Brunel, leading a range of modules on digital design at postgraduate and undergraduate levels—covering product, service and graphic design aspects. Teaching promotes goal-oriented experimentation, while placing emphasis on the design process and practice-based approach in collaboration with industry. Co-ordinated a number of live student briefs, across design fields, with organisations including Cancer Research UK, NHS, Pan Macmillan, Help for Heroes, Friends of the Elderly, Corney & Barrow, Shell, Ibis and BT.

Related Research Group(s)

Design for Sustainability

Design for Sustainability - We focus on developing the theory and practice required to design solutions that foster environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability in areas ranging from materials and manufacturing to products, services, business models, bottom-up initiatives and socio-technical systems.

Design and Manufacturing

Design and Manufacturing - Developing products, services and manufacturing processes that will deliver economically and environmentally sustainable solutions, based on design principles derived from an understanding of human capabilities and limitations.