Application Form
PhD Studentship in Audio-visual fidelity of virtual agents in VR (PhD_AVVR_RMDEB)

JobRef: 9210
  • Accepted file types: pdf.
  • Accepted file types: pdf.

PhD Studentship in Audio-visual fidelity of virtual agents in VR (PhD_AVVR_RMDEB)

POSTED:June 16, 2021
LOCATION:Trinity College Dublin
CLOSES:June 30, 2021
Duration:4 Years
Reports to:Dr. Rachel McDonnell & Dr. Enda Bates
Salary:Annual stipend of €18,500 per annum - non taxed
Closing Date:June 30, 2021


  • Contribute to the ADAPT research agenda that pioneers and combines research in AI driven technologies: Natural Language Processing, Video/Text/Image/Speech/Audio processing, digital engagement & HCI, semantic modeling, personalisation, privacy & data governance. 
  • Work with our interdisciplinary team of  leading experts from the complementary fields of, Social Sciences,  Communications, Commerce/Fintech, Ethics, Law,  Health, Environment and Sustainability.
  • Leverage our success.  ADAPT’s researchers have signed 43 collaborative research projects, 52 licence agreements and oversee 16 active commercialisation funds and 52 commercialisation awards.  ADAPT has won 40 competitive EU research projects and obtained €18.5 million in non-exchequer non-commercial funding. Additionally, six spinout companies have been formed. ADAPT’s researchers have produced over 1,500 journal and conference publications and nearly 100 PhD students have been trained. 

As an ADAPT funded PhD researcher you will have access to a network of 85 global experts and over 250 staff as well as a wide multi-disciplinary ecosystem across 8 leading Irish universities. We can influence and inform your work, share our networks and collaborate with you to increase your impact, and accelerate your career opportunities. Specifically we offer: 

  1. Opportunity to build your profile at international conferences and global events.
  2. A solid career pathway through formalised training & development, expert one-on-one supervision and exposure to top specialists.
  3. A Fully funded, 4 year PhD postgraduate studentship which includes  a stipend of (€18,500 per annum – non taxed), along with equipment, annual travel funding 
  4. Funding for annual student fees 



Virtual humans and avatars are increasingly important tools for remote communication and telepresence using virtual and augmented reality. The perception of realism and co-presence in virtual and augmented reality environment is influenced by numerous factors, including the accurate rendering and animation of virtual humans, and the accurate matching of environmental lighting. However, the perceptual evaluation of the influence of accurate spatial audio and the matching of environmental acoustics on factors such as co-presence and behaviour such as conversation is often overlooked. This project will evaluate the relative importance of both audio and visual fidelity on the integration of virtual characters in virtual and augmented reality environments. In particular, the project will investigate the relative weighting of increasing accuracy in these two modalities on behaviour and the perception of realism and co-presence. The perceptual evaluation of different factors such as the matching of environmental acoustics and lighting using varying degrees of accuracy will be investigated, with the goal of reducing computational complexity while maintaining an effective perceptual illusion.

The successful student will  be supervised by Dr. Rachel McDonnell (TCD – in collaboration with Dr. Enda Bates (TCD – Sigmedia Group – The student will join the ADAPT team at TCD, and will be part of the Digital Enhanced Engagement Strand within ADAPT. The student will also join the Graphics, Vision and Visualisation group ( at Trinity College Dublin, the only group of its kind in Ireland. The group publishes regularly in leading Graphics and Vision venues and conducts leading work on Computer Animation, Perceptually Adaptive Graphics, Volumetric Video, Light Field Imaging, etc . 

From this PhD you will gain skills and knowledge in creating virtual reality experiments using computer graphics techniques; spatial audio and virtual acoustics; quantitative research design; statistical analysis techniques; project management skills; research communication skills; statistical/interface programming experience. 

The successful student will have the opportunity to explore industry as well as academic career paths, based on their desired direction. The group has a lot of connections in the VFX, Gaming, and Animation industries.

  • An overview of the research challenge with a focus on the core societal objective and the outputs and impact you hope the research will deliver? How does it make the world better?
  • On completion of this project, what will be the anticipated key learning outcomes and developmental achievements for the researcher?
  • What potential career pathways will the researcher be equipped to go from this studentship/employment (eg industry, academia etc). 

Minimum qualifications:

  • Primary Degree or equivalent in computer science, electronic engineering, cognitive science, or psychology.

Preferred skills:

  • Experiment design
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Knowledge of computer graphics/virtual reality
  • Programming in Unity or Unreal Engine or similar
  • Spatial Audio


Application Process

Each application should only consist of

  1. Detailed curriculum vitae, including – if applicable – relevant publications;
  2. Transcripts of degrees,
  3. The name and email contacts of two academic referees,
  4. A cover letter/letter of introduction (max. 1000 words). In the letter, applicants should include the following details:
    1. An explanation of your interest in the research to be conducted and why you believe they are suitable for the position.
    2. Details of your final year undergraduate project (if applicable)
    3. Details of your MSc project (if applicable)
    4. Details of any relevant modules previously taken, at undergraduate and/or Master level.
    5. Details of any relevant work experience (if applicable).



ADAPT is committed to achieving better diversity and gender representation at all levels of the organisation, across leadership, academic, operations, research staff and studentship levels. ADAPT is committed to the continued development of employment policies, procedures and practices that promote gender equality. On that basis we encourage and welcome talented people from all backgrounds to join ADAPT.


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