Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Heritage-based virtual reality for well-being in space

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project in ‘digital heritage, human-computer interaction, game science and space psychology between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom).'

Deakin Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision

Deakin School


Centre for Advanced Design Engineering Training (CADET), Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom)

Research topic

This project and scholarship are offered as part of a collaborative doctoral cotutelle program between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (UK).

The successful PhD Student will be awarded a scholarship from Coventry University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and Coventry University. The PhD Student will graduate with two testamurs, one from Deakin University and one from Coventry University, each of which recognises that the program was carried out as part of a jointly supervised doctoral program. The program is for a duration of 4 years and scheduled to commence in September 2023.

The PhD Student is anticipated to spend up to 12 months of the total period of the program at Deakin University, with the remainder of the program based at Coventry University.

This PhD project will investigate how to design meaningful game-like VR content to address the psycho-sociological needs of people living and working in isolated, confined and extreme environments of space, the Moon and Mars. The immersive experience will be co-created in collaboration with museums and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) users, including transmigrants, as a reference to future spacefarers.

Project aim

As we expand into the solar system to explore, live, and work, it is imperative to research and design multifunctional well-being solutions to reduce various health risks and help crew members on the long-duration missions in low Earth orbit (LEO), to the Moon and Mars adjust and acclimatise to their new environment. See The Five Hazards of Humans Spaceflight by NASA for more details .

This PhD project aims to investigate how meaningful game-like heritage-based virtual reality (VR) experiences can support the well-being of astronauts and people living and working in ICE (isolated, confined, and extreme) environments. The heritage aspect can help promote relatability and emotional connection. In his book The Value of Museums: Enhancing Societal Well-Being (2021) John H. Falk defines meaningful experiences as those that are valuable to users and as such can create lasting memories and has the potential to affect long-term personal, intellectual, social, and physical well-being. The proposed content will be investigated and co-created with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) users including transmigrants as reference to the future spacefarers.

The research results will provide a fundamental understanding of the content to be potentially integrated into a system for measuring, monitoring and regulating affective stress using artificial intelligence (AI), wearable sensors and VR experiences for meditation, physical exercise, multisensory eating experiences, and similar purposes. Such meaningful experiences could also be used in hospitals, asylums, retirement villages, prisons and other isolated living and working environments such as in Antarctica, oil rigs, mines, and remote areas. By this, the study is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, i.e., 3 – Good Health and Well-being.

To achieve the proposed goals, the following methods will be used:

  • Literature review in the area of museum and heritage studies (including digital heritage and virtual museums), game studies, human-computer interaction (VR), and space medicine (psychology);
  • Qualitative data collection from experts in the above areas;
  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) participants including transmigrants;
  • Iterative design and development of a case study: a VR working prototype;
  • Summative user evaluation.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Sunday 27 May 2023

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.


This scholarship is supported by Coventry University, is available over 3.5 years and includes:

  • Stipend of £17,000 per annum
  • A Tuition Fee Waiver
  • Travel Support Package including one return economy airfare to Deakin University to support residency period in Australia
  • Student visa and health insurance costs for period of residency at Deakin University in Australia
  • Deakin University will also provide a full tuition fee waiver for a duration of up to 4 years.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry university, including English language proficiency requirements (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • be enrolling full time
  • be able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia)

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page and Coventry’s research entry criteria page for further information.

How to apply

Applicants should firstly contact Dr Kaja Antlej,  to discuss the project. After discussing your application with the Deakin Supervisor, you will be required to submit an Expression of interest directly with the relevant Faculty.If successful, you will be invited by Deakin University to lodge a formal HDR application.

The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the 'Making an Application' page.

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact:

Dr Kaja Antlej
+61 3 524 79546