EPSRC PhD studentship: Intergroup encounters: Using GPS tracking and computer algorithms to enable positive interactions between groups in public spaces



Supervisors:  Dr Miriam Koschate-Reis, Prof Mark Levine, Dr Zena Wood

We are inviting applications for this EPSRC funded PhD studentship to commence as soon as possible. For eligible students the award will cover UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend (in 2013/14 this will be £13,726 for full-time students, pro rata for part-time students) for three years. This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding. Studentships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

Successful applicants will be based within Psychology (Streatham campus, Exeter) at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter.

Promoting contact (under the right conditions) and reducing social segregation are key social policy objectives. However, we know very little about naturally occurring contact and segregation in public spaces. This PhD project will combine insights from social psychological theory on intergroup contact, cutting edge developments in GPS tracking technology, and computer algorithms that classify types of contact. The research will integrate results from laboratory studies on intergroup contact with GPS tracking data of social interactions in the field. Technical challenges include the refinement of computer algorithms for classifying GPS data and the integration of social psychological variables with group-level behavioural outputs. Insights from theory and from experiments will be used to develop and validate computer algorithms to classify behavioural interactions at the group level. These computer algorithms will then be used to assess which types of group-level interactions between social groups are most effective in maximizing social and economic benefits, as well as in promoting wider change within the respective communities.

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The PhD candidate will benefit from working with a multidisciplinary team exploring the technical and social challenges of understanding tracking and improving intergroup contact in public spaces. There is also an opportunity to link in with research on the EPSRC-funded project “Being There: Humans and Robots in Public Spaces”.

You must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in Psychology or a related subject. A relevant Masters qualification would be an advantage.

The studentship will cover a stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£13,726 per annum for 2013-2014), research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the eligibility requirements outlined by EPSRC (see http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/Pages/eligibility.aspx). Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Students from outside of the EU would not be eligible for this award.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 8th September 2013.

For full project details, instructions on how to apply and a link to the application form, go to the apply button below.

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