Project code



School of Creative Technologies

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Creative Technologies and will be supervised by Dr Tom Garner, in collaboration with Professor Claire Nee (Department of Psychology) and Dr Amy Meenaghan (Institute of Criminal Justice Studies).

The work on this project will:

  • Explore the cutting edge of the interdisciplinary boundaries between interactive technologies and pedagogic practice pertaining to the study of forensic science and crime scene analysis
  • The successful candidate will work directly with internationally regarded experts in both the digital technologies and forensic science disciplines
  • They will have the opportunity to work with recognised industry and third sector partners, including Hampshire Constabulary, HaptX, FaceBook and Portsmouth County Council  
  • The successful candidate will also enjoy access to the University of Portsmouth’s world-leading digital facilities within the UoP Centre for Creative and Immersive XR, providing them the opportunity to work with equipment including (but not limited to) professional-grade virtual reality headsets, extensive bio-sensing and biofeedback technology and advanced multi-modal input and display interfaces

The project seeks to improve upon current limitations affecting global forensic science training with the development of new approaches and strategies to capitalise on recent breakthroughs in immersive and augmented technologies. Current forensic science training primarily utilises live role-play scenarios to consolidate classroom-based learning. Scenarios often use large and expensive setups and physical props that are time-consuming to produce and arrange, limiting the frequency and portability of their use. Consequently, whilst trainees find these scenarios to be beneficial, the restricted usage limits knowledge reinforcement and negatively affects trainee confidence and initial performance. One further key issue is that trainees are restricted to experiencing each scenario once and from a single role perspective. Therefore they cannot repeat the scenario to gain a first-hand understanding of each role or how the collective works; thereby negatively affecting cooperation/teamwork effectiveness. This project aims to make significant improvements to this situation by exploiting cutting-edge multi-user virtual, augmented and mixed-reality technologies to: 1) fully reinforce the learning; 2) enable trainees ongoing access to immersive and interactive training without restrictions on time or location; 3) support multi-role understanding by enabling trainees to re-experience scenarios from every role; 4) improve higher-level/organisational understanding of professional forensic science activities; 5) facilitate greater multi-agency collaboration, using the technology to reinforce Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles. 

To realise this aim, the successful PhD candidate will conduct various research activities including, but not limited to:

  • Develop a series of rapid prototypes to support stakeholder engagement and analysis
  • Produce rich data sets drawn from key stakeholder analysis and involvement methods, alongside user-experience/usability testing of prototypes at various iterations of development 
  • Develop a detailed theoretical, design, production and evaluation framework using stakeholder and testing data alongside secondary literature 
  • Review the best pathways to implementation of such software artefacts, with focus upon integration within existing forensic science curriculums. 

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only – eligibility criteria apply).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) and a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Digital Games or a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.


We are looking for candidates with a strong technical/developer background in computing, digital games technology or equivalent. In addition, we are seeking candidates with a good understanding of user-experience design theory and serious games.

Experience with the following would be a further advantage:

  • Development of immersive VR/AR applications
  • Experience working with photogrammetry and depth cameras
  • Pedagogy and teaching practice
  • Running perceptual experiments and stakeholder analysis sessions
  • Working with psychophysiological equipment and data


How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr. Tom Garner ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Digital and Creative Technologies PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: CCTS4551021