Funded PhD Opportunity Inclusive Software Design Enabling Disabled and Non-Disabled Musicians to Compose and Perform Music in an Immersive Virtual Network

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies


There are many assistive technologies available that allow musicians to participate in music making, regardless of abilities. In addition, significant research is concerned with designing and building bespoke instruments, interfaces and software applications. The current and wide-ranging research into accessible music making is often centred on responding to an individual need and rarely includes broader inclusive or universal design principles. Whilst this research is important and has helped many people join the music community in meaningful ways, its impact is often limited to one condition, one person and can be difficult to expand beyond its original scope.

This PhD project aims to broaden that impact by creating a software environment with inclusivity in music composition and performance as its first and guiding principle; an environment that will facilitate composers and performers of many abilities to effectively and creatively utilise the wide variety of algorithms and synthesis techniques available to musicians today. This environment will have at its core the exploration of networked immersive technologies to facilitate interaction between composers and performers.

The research is aligned with Ulster University’s multi award-winning Inclusive Creativity project ( and opportunities to work with the international roster of musicians associated with Inclusive Creativity will be available to the successful applicant.

The research project will also feed the work of Ulster’s Creative Industries Institute (

It is expected that applicants will have experience of working within an inclusive musical environment.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 70%



    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

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Ulster has a very relaxed feel and atmosphere

David Lyttle - PhD in Musicology

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Friday 23 November 2018
Interview Date
week commencing 10th December 2018

Contact Supervisor

Professor Frank Lyons

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #327154 when applying for this PhD opportunity