Fully Funded PhD Studentship – Happiness, subjective well-being and the ‘quantified self’ – capturing subjective data to influence sustainable behaviours



The advent of smartphones, their data collection capabilities and integrated sensors (accelerometers, cameras, microphones, GPS) have initiated a ‘grassroots’ movement of individuals who collect and share personal data (exercise, diet, mood). To date, little published literature is available in the area and this research would begin to apply more rigorous approaches to investigate what can be captured, what it means and what impact it can have.

The research would build on two areas of existing research within the Design School: (i) the design aspects of capturing and reflecting upon ‘experiences’ (of self and others) in order to shift behaviours to more sustainable modes and (ii) a ‘Design for Happiness’ toolkit that can be applied to products, services and systems in the pursuit of more sustainable societies. This research sits in a context of increasing interest in subjective well-being and life satisfaction as a measure of a nation’s progress.

The proposed research would bring the two together to explore how best to capture and measure ‘happiness’ within a defined context. The context would be defined with the successful candidate but possible areas are the link between happiness and sustainable behaviours (e.g. in the home, travel, in the workplace). The ‘users’ of the data could be individuals, peer groups, communities or organisations. The research could apply a range of qualitative and/or quantitative methods.

Students must have a first or upper second class academic qualification or relevant Masters qualification in a discipline that has a clear focus on user-centred-design. Knowledge of product/industrial design, interaction design, service design, behaviour change or sustainability would be an advantage.

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The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £13,726 per annum for a period of three years plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, the studentships are open to UK and EU applicants only. Non UK applicants must the minimum English language requirements, details available here: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/international/englang/index.htm 

Informal enquiries about the project should be made to:

Tracy Ross: [email protected] or +44(0)1509 222782

Information about Loughborough Design School can be found at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/lds/. Students will be part of a large research community, and will take part in a skills development and training programme.

Details about the application process can be found by clicking the Apply link below.

Please note that we require all online applications to be accompanied by a 1-2 page summary of why the applicant feels that they are appropriate for the post e.g. their particular skillset, interests, experience and how they might approach the research. This proposal should be emailed to [email protected] at the same time as submitting an online application.

Please quote the following reference when applying: TRCET/LSD2013 – 201

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 31st July 2013

However, early application is strongly encouraged as a 1st October 2013 start is preferred and the advert will be withdrawn once a suitable candidate is identified

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