James Watt Scholarship


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Heriot-Watt University (HWU), The Times International University of the Year 2018, has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry.

The School of Textiles and Design (SoTD) reflects current and future developments in fashion, design, new materials and cutting-edge technologies, consistent with Heriot-Watt University’s (HWU) strategy to build flourishing communities, be pioneers in education, excel in research and enterprise, and be a global, connected university. The SoTD is focussed on applying design to harness technology with the aim of addressing human- and environmentally-centred problems and issues: for example, health, ageing and well-being, sustainable design, design heritage, wearable health monitoring, protection, and waste reduction.

The SoTD is seeking candidates for two fully-funded doctoral studentships. The successful candidates will be joining an active community of research, supported by experienced doctoral supervisors and the University’s Research Futures Academy.

Methods for Measuring and Minimising Fibre Shedding

The aim of this project is to establish a framework for evaluating fibre shedding and ‘microfibre pollution’ from textiles.

The global distribution of microplastics and fibres (fibres shed from textile materials) in the aquatic environment has been widely reported recently. The third biggest contributor of plastics in our oceans is textiles and textile fibres, which have been found in almost every sample of water analysed. There is increasing concern that our garments shed fibres into the environment during wear and laundering and whilst there has been no evidence of harm caused at a population level, there is considerable evidence of harm to individual organisms. Additionally, there is widespread concern that unintended fibre-shedding is unlikely to be beneficial to the environment.

There are currently no established methods for measuring the fibres shed from textiles. Whilst there is a body of work to establish simulated wash tests to evaluate fibre shedding during laundry, no research groups have looked at methods for measuring fibre shedding during ‘wear’. Further, the methods to count fibres shed are inefficient and no single method is advocated. This area of research is relatively new and is being discussed by Scottish Government, environmental agencies, and Industry.

How to apply

For further information, please contact: Dr Lisa MacIntyre – l.m.macintyre@hw.ac.uk.

Please apply via the Postgraduate Programme application form

Deadline for applications is Monday 17th February 2020

Interactive Technologies for Learning

The aim of this project is to explore the use of interactive digital platforms and assess their potential as tools to support more effective learning.

This project will examine the concept of ‘trialogical learning’ facilitated by a web platform linked to an interactive e-book. The creation of interactive elements and features will allow for the investigation of best practice for exploiting the experiential learning possibilities presented by this technology. Examples presented in the book will change and be updated by a community of learners who interact with the book and the web platform. This means the book can be truly described as an epistemic object. This concept has not previously been explored as part of a research study and as such offers an opportunity for an original contribution to knowledge.

The rapid expansion in the use of touch screen tablets since Apple launched the iPad, together with the growth in social networking, have provided the opportunity for new forms of highly interactive visual publications to emerge. Helping to drive this development is Apple’s release of iBook Author as free downloadable authoring software. This technology has made it possible to develop interactive content specifically designed to exploit this medium. As with any new technology, early content published has tended to convert existing content into e-books which use the original word-processed document, without necessarily fully exploiting the interactive potential offered by the technology. The new technology has made it possible to integrate interactive apps (sometimes referred to as widgets) within the book itself.

The content of the new e-book will be focussed on the topic of Design Thinking and Innovation. It introduces a Design Thinking approach to solving human-centred design problems and provides a number of novel tools for gathering, analysing, and visualizing information.

The successful candidate will help to develop appropriate content for the e-book, working in close collaboration with the academic team. Concurrently, the researcher will be developing apps for incorporating into the e-book format together with a linked web platform. The project will make use of iterative design and testing, material and digital prototyping, user evaluation and feedback, and interim and final dissemination.

How to apply

For further details, please contact: Professor Julian Malins –j.malins@hw.ac.uk.

Please apply via the Postgraduate Programme application form

Deadline for applications is Monday 17th February 2020

Qualification requirements

Honours degree at either first or 2-1 in a related subject area and a post-graduate degree. The candidate should demonstrate high level design skills, ability to handle interactive media, graphic design skills, excellent communication skills, and an ability to work in collaboration with others. A high degree of literacy is essential.

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