Job: Research Associate in VR, Robotics, Sound and Experience Design at UWE Bristol

Call for Applications

Research Associate – VR, Robotics, Sound (sonification) and Experience Design
UWE Bristol, UK
Job reference: R04126

Application closing date: 24 April 2022


A fantastic opportunity to take part in pioneering, interdisciplinary research that connects virtual reality, robotics, sound (sonification) and experience design, exploring questions of ethics and trustworthiness when technology is used to blur the boundaries between humans and robots.

The Research Associate will play a pivotal role in this research, developing a dynamic and immersive virtual environment and conducting a large-scale user study as part of a UKRI funded project, ‘Virtually There: Exploring Presence, Ethics And Aesthetics In Immersive Semi-Autonomous Teleoperation For Hazardous Environments’. This role is full time, fixed term and extends until the end of the project, 31 March 2023.


UWE Bristol in collaboration with Sellafield Ltd are exploring the role of sound (sonification) in the context of semi-autonomous robotic teleoperation in VR. In a co-designed, pioneering user study we will investigate the impact of data sonification on task performance, trust in the VR system and the robots it operates, presence, and the ethics of simulating a hazardous environment. If these types of systems are to become trusted and trustworthy, we need to better understand the experience of the immersed tele-operator in hazardous conditions. Trustworthiness is vital for the future of these types of systems, in nuclear decommissioning and beyond.


You will be confident working in an interdisciplinary team, incorporating ideas and literature from multiple sectors. You will be interested in developing an interactive virtual environment for the tele-present operation of robotic equipment using Unity games engine software. You may have a particular background or interest in sound design and will be interested in using software such as FMOD/WWISE to augment the sonic conditions of the virtual environment. You may have experience working with virtual reality hardware, designing for VR or supporting users in experiencing content in virtual reality. You may have experience in HCI, running user studies and/or investigating the use of robots in industrial environment.

We recognise that candidates are extremely unlikely to have experience in all of the areas mentioned above. We are also excited to see what additional skills and experiences that you might bring to the team, and how your own unique perspective will inform the development of this project. The research team are committed to supporting the successful candidate in developing their skills and interests throughout the duration of the research and to support them in exploring pathways for career progression.


This post is based at Bristol VR Lab, part of our City Campus in Bristol city centre which comprises of Bower Ashton Studios, Arnolfini, Spike Island and Watershed and is home to UWE Bristol’s creative and cultural subjects. Through a combination of University sites and partnerships with creative and cultural organisations in the city, we have developed a network of cultural and creative spaces. These enable our students and staff to develop their professional practice in inspiring learning environments as well as provide opportunities for creative collaboration and networking.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of this research, some of your work will additionally take place at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and the Creative Technologies Lab (CTLab) at our Frenchay campus. At Frenchay we have invested in the latest facilities and resources to give both our staff and students access to everything they need to succeed – £300m has been invested recently on new state-of-the-art learning spaces and accommodation while we continue to develop incredible new facilities to enhance our offer even further.

Frenchay campus has excellent transport links; as well as being located near the motorway network we are within walking distance of two train stations, our bus terminus connects us to the local bus and metrobus network and we also have a range of cycling and changing facilities.

Bristol is a city that’s famous for its rebellious streak, independent thinking, unique style and edgy creativity. Home to over 460,000 people hailing from 187 different countries – you can find over 91 different languages spoken here, and 45 religions practised. Topping polls on a regular basis, Bristol isn’t just a great place to live, but a great place to work.


We are one of the largest providers of Higher Education in the South West with 32,000 students, 250,000 alumni and 4,000 staff from across the globe. We are both globally connected and regionally embedded, with a strong network of employer and partner connections.

We have a lot to be proud of at UWE, our achievements include scoring above sector average for student satisfaction, we are ranked 36th in The Guardian Best UK Universities 2022 and 39th in the latest Times Higher Education ‘Table of Tables‘.

We are an ambitious and values led university. We’re focused on solving future global challenges through outstanding learning, world-leading research and a culture of enterprise and we are looking for people who share our core values to help us achieve those aims.

With inclusivity as a core value, UWE Bristol recognises the power of a truly diverse university community. We support and celebrate the diversity of our staff and students as a key driver for innovation and success, promoting pathways and achievements to inspire and generate confidence and ambition.

In addition to progressive pay rates, we offer a wide range of employee benefits including:

  • a generous holiday allowance of 27 days
  • up to 12.5 bank holiday/closure days per year
  • excellent defined benefit pension schemes
  • access to employee assistance programme
  • ongoing learning and development opportunities
  • family friendly policies and wellbeing initiatives
  • onsite nursery at our Frenchay Campus.
  • Retail savings via the Wider Wallet scheme
  • option to participate in the cycle to work scheme

We also boast an excellent in-house Learning & Development team who provide a wide variety of in-house training courses and development programmes and our Academic Practice Directorate supports our academic colleagues to ensure the highest in professional teaching standards.


Proud to be part of a vibrant, multicultural city that celebrates diversity, we’re always on the lookout for talented people from all backgrounds to join us. Our people are our strength, and diversity enhances our creativity and leads to better decision-making and problem-solving. Bring your talent and ambition to our growing staff community of over 4,000 individuals and find yourself in a stimulating and supportive environment where you’ll thrive. Add your individuality to ours to help set us apart.

We particularly encourage applications from Black, Asian, Multiple Heritage or Other Minority Ethnic, and female candidates as we are currently under-represented in these areas within UWE Bristol however all appointments are made strictly on individual merit.


If you would like an informal discussion about this opportunity please contact Verity McIntosh:

This is a fixed-term post until 31 March 2023, with potential to extend a further 3 months, and is full-time working on a 100% contract.

Interviews for this post will take place in person at UWE Bristol or online on Tuesday 3rd May 2022.

As the project officially commences 1st April 2022, the successful candidate will be invited to take up the role at their earliest convenience.

This post is available on a job share basis for applicants wishing to work part time.

UWE Bristol is a campus-based University and it is important for our success and the delivery of an outstanding experience for our students that our campuses are dynamic and vibrant places to learn and spend time. This role is therefore campus based with the opportunity for remote working.

We are able to sponsor qualifying candidates for this role under the Home Office Skilled Worker visa route. Please read our Skilled Worker Guidance to assess if you will be eligible to be sponsored under the criteria.

Please also refer to the Home Office Right to Work Checklist which provides details of which documents are acceptable to prove your right to work in the UK. Should you be shortlisted you will be asked to produce your right to work documents at your interview.

Any candidates wishing to apply who are subsequently appointed to this role without current Right to Work in the UK can be supported to obtain the Global Talent Visa (Academics and Researchers). This will involve a self-application which is a two stage process and we recommend you read the information about each stage on the following links:

You may also wish to explore other visa options which you are eligible for which will allow you to work in the UK.

Please note that UWE does not cover any visa or health surcharge costs.

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