Research Fellow in Human Computer Interaction (Computer Science)

Southampton, United Kingdom
£33,348 to £40,745 per annum
27 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
26 Apr 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Agents, Interaction & Complexity

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £33,348 to £40,745 per annum
Full Time Fixed Term for 3 years
Closing Date:  Wednesday 26 April 2023
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1937822FP-3R

Job Summary

The WellthLab, ( part of the Agents, Interaction and Complexity Group, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton and led by prof. m.c. schraefel, is seeking to hire a Post Doctoral Research Fellow to work on and lead projects around interactive technology to build and support health and wellbeing – what we call Wellth.  The work will involve research and development into interactive technologies to support building health knowledge, skills and practice.   

Duties and Responsibilities

We are seeking a research associate in human-computer interaction who is interested in building their research portfolio towards an independent position and in working across the above research threads, with hands-on research as well as through work with our students active in these areas. All the above research involves human experiments, including experiments with end-users across different ages and abilities. The RA would lead research projects, their validation with end-users (including obtaining ethical approvals), and report on the findings in top scientific and engineering journals and conferences. 

Our Lab is interdisciplinary and supports international collaborations, across disciplines. We work with Arts and Humanities, Engineering, Social Sciences and Health and Life Sciences; we have strong collaborations with Medicine as well. We also partner with diverse industries as relevant to our projects, all funded by national research grants. Similarly our lab offers state of the art biosensing systems for modelling human performance across a range of projects overviewed below.

The successful candidate will be part of these international collaborations, have access to these world leading facilities, and also be part of a community of talented PostDocs, PhDs and MSc students from the Electronics and Computer Science Department to help you thrive, develop your research and help with the lab’s mission to #makeNormalBetter.

Core projects and research questions you’d be engaged on include:

Incidental Interaction –We propose “incidental interaction” as a way to transform interactions we already have with every day objects into new kinds of additional interactions. For instance, in our elder athlete project, we are looking at how to transform everyday objects like arm wrests, door handles, floor mats, photos on walls into  artifacts that also support building balance, strength and mobility. Research questions include what the whole cycle of interaction looks like. For example: a floor mat and wraps around arm wrests can detect how much force the upper and lower body are using to stand up. How might the arm wrests cue using more or less upper body effort? What does the feedback look, feel or sound like to show, unobtrusively, how much effort a person has done that day?   

Non-visual Augmented/Mixed Reality

Most mixed and augmented reality work presumes that the dominant sense used will be visual. There are considerable challenges in taking that assumption outdoors, not least where light currently affects screen quality, and can occlude the visual field. 

There are however tremendous opportunities to leverage other senses for exploration, not least audio  – particularly when also using additional qualities like physical movement and way finding for learning. Drawing on motor learning and related cognitive neural processes, we are keen to explore these less-utilised senses for innovative augmentations to support actual learning on the go. 

Tool Designs to Build and Support Insourcing HEALTH knowledge skills and practice.

Most health technologies tend either to quantify what someone has done – how far they’ve walked – or quantify a signal coming from the body – like heart rate. Some applications use this data – like sleep disruptions – to tell the person how well they’re doing with their health. In our Inbodied Interaction approach, we call that approach “outsourcing health” to sensors and data. Our research question is how to design health supporting technologies to “insource” health – to help people  connect what they’re doing with how they’re feeling to learn how to feel better. One approach to develop this self-tuning is found in on our Experiment in a Box methodology
 How would you design approaches to support insourcing and self-tuning? 

Synthetic Human Presence – COVID let us know the power of online meetings, but also their limitations. This project is investigating the differences of human interactions in real-life and online using biomedical and optical sensors (ECG, EEG, eye tracking, video processing etc) in order to design a method to synthesise the feeling of real “co-presence” in an online setting. This includes new interface designs as well as different feedback and stimulation techniques (transcranial electrical stimulation, bio/neurofeedback etc).

Your Project Ideas

Ours is a team-based, collaborative lab, driven by co-design. We are interested in how you would take these kinds of inbodied interaction approached to develop and lead research in the lab. 

Essential requirements

  • A PhD (or equivalent) in an area pertinent to the experience described above 
  • Experience in human-computer interaction related experimental design
  • Advanced experience with coding, including open source tools.
  • Peer reviewed publications or similar

Example Demonstrable skills

  • Having knowledge of mixed-methods research and experience running user studies. A background including human computer interaction is a plus.
  • Experience with statistical analysis of experimental data
  • Knowledge and experience in developing software prototypes, in particular app development to prototype and test research ideas using for example Javascript and React for iOS and Android.
  • Comfort in integrating your software with sensors or other electrical kit also welcome.
  • Experience in Health-oriented research.  

If you have questions, please contact lab director, prof m.c. schraefel at

Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon completion of PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

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