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Personalising adjustments to information visualisations for optimal perception accounting for individual differences including ageing

Start date

1st February 2024


1 fully funded 3-year PhD studentship, Full-Time, Department of Informatics - Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences & IoPPN


A fully funded PhD opportunity is available for a collaborative project between the London Centre for Urban Science Progress (CUSP) in the Department of Informatics and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IOPPN). The multidisciplinary project will combine experiments and theory to develop tools to effectively convey complex visual information for example maps containing climate, weather, health, pollution or hazard measures inclusively across the adult lifespan. Computer based cognitive and visual perception laboratory experiments which include eye tracking will be carried out on healthy participants at the IOPPN. Data analysis and the development of appropriate models that capture the effects of ageing on vision will be carried out with colleagues at CUSP. The project will be supervised jointly by Prof. Nicolas Holliman (CUSP) and Dr. Andrew Meso (IOPPN).


Candidates should be interested in understanding human vision and in what it takes to produce good visualisations. Ultimately, the candidate will contribute to developing digital tools for presenting information and in building a deeper understanding of how such tools might interact with human visual-cognition processes. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the project, we will consider applicants from a range of scientific disciplines holding a BSc, MSci or MSc. Knowledge of cognitive experiments, brain function, data analysis, coding and mathematical/quantitative tools are all desirable. We seek an enthusiastic candidate who is keen to learn for whom we would support training on other essential skills for the project.

Project (brief) summary:   

Among the key issues in visualization is how we personalise visualizations, to communicate to people if their perceptual or cognitive abilities are atypical. This is particularly an issue when communicating critical information for decision makers, whether at national or personal level.

One of the key issues in perception and cognition is the effect of age. As we grow older, there is an increasing body of scientific evidence about changes that impact our visual abilities which occur at different levels from the eye itself through to the perceptual, cognitive and even so-called executive function systems. In the proposed research we probe potential changes in signal to noise levels of perceptual representation and aim to study the way in which visualizations could be automatically adjusted to adapt for a viewers’ personal abilities.

In this proposal we specifically seek to improve the scientific evidence base for visualizations and to add to evidenced knowledge of what works in visualization. The main contributions are likely to be in algorithms and the lab-based verification of visualization approaches.

More information

The search for a candidate will remain open until the first week of October (Ending Friday 06th) with interviews expected to be held during the first week of November and the project commencing in early 2024. To discuss the position informally and get more information, contact Dr. Meso ( or Prof. Holliman (


Prof. Nicolas Holliman (NMES) & Dr Andrew Meso (IoPPN)

Entry requirements

Applicants should have (or be expected to obtain) a Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours (or Overseas equivalent). A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters with Merit.

Award types and eligibility

Students will be fully funded for three years full time, to include home tuition fees (studentship not available to Overseas applicants), annual stipend and some research and travel costs. Overseas applicants may apply but will need to cover the difference in fees.

To be treated as a Home student, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:

  • A UK national (meeting residency requirements)
  • Settled status
  • Pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements)
  • Indefinite leave to remain or enter

Further information

More information on the department and the programme is available at the departmental prospectus page here: and

About CUSP (

About the IoPPN (

Studying at the IoPPN (

Research degrees at the IoPPN (link to

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an online admissions application, via the admissions portal by midnight (23:59 GMT) on Friday 6th October 2023.

On the ‘Choosing a programme’ page, please select Computer Science Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time).

In your application, you will be asked to include:

  • Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application
  • Details of your qualifications (you will need to attach copies)
  • Details of previous employment - please include your CV
  • A personal statement describing your interests and why you wish to apply for this project. Please include this as an attachment rather than using the text box.
  • Academic References – all admissions applications require one supporting reference. If the applicant is relying on thier referees to submit a reference directly to the College after they have submitted thier admissions application, then the applicant must ensure that (1) their chosen referee is made aware of the funding deadline (i.e. 7 days from application deadline) and (2) that the reference needs to be sent from an institutional email address.

In the Funding section, please tick box 5 and include the following reference: AM-CUSP-IOPPN-24

Please note there is no need to complete the Research Proposal section in your application as the project has already been set. You are welcome to email supervisors Dr. Meso ( or Prof. Holliman ( for more information regarding the project and studentship.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact the Education support team at

References must be received by the deadline for the applicant to be eligible. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Closing date

Friday 6th October 2023


First week of November 2023


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