Postgraduate research opportunities

Walking back to happiness: recording, sharing and wellbeing on pilgrimage routes

A three-year full-time PhD scholarship for candidates in Information Science and Human Computer Interaction who wish to explore how contemporary pilgrimage journeys are recorded, stored, and shared on the way, and wellbeing implications.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


17 April 2020


30 June 2020


3 years


Candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • An excellent first degree (1st class Honours), or a first degree, or Master’s degree with the expected completion date no later than September 2020 in Information Science, Human Computer Interaction, Computer Science or other relevant cognate disciplines.
  • Experience and skills related to Information Science, Human Computer Interaction, Software Engineering, and Design/Maker skills are desirable; background in qualitative research methods will be preferred.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • A willingness to engage both with rigorous academic work and with realising the impact of research findings beyond the confines of academia.

Candidates who are not native English speakers will be required to provide evidence for their English skills (such as by IELTS or similar tests that are approved by UKVI, or a degree completed in English).

Project Details

Religious and secular pilgrimages have long been part of human history and remain very much alive today, manifesting themselves in different forms and locations in the Holy Land, the Hajj, Lhasa, Kumbh Mela, Char Dham, the Camino de Santiago, Kumano Kodo, Glastonbury Tor, Elvis’s Graceland, national parks, and war memorials. Many walking challenges, such as the West Highland Way, may also be categorised as personal pilgrimages.  

This project focuses on pilgrimage from the perspective of Information Science and Human Computer Interaction. It will combine theoretical models and ethnographic in-situ application, focusing on the interactions that furnish pilgrims with ready opportunities to record, store, and share their experiences. These interactions will be explored from the viewpoint of the NHS-NEF five steps to wellbeing: connect, be active, take notice, learn, give. In addition to investigating pilgrim’s information behaviour, the project seeks insight on how ubiquitous and mobile computer interaction may support pilgrimages through non-visual multimodal interaction before, during, and after the pilgrimage.

The successful student will have the opportunity to shape the specific proposal of work during the first 12 months of their PhD study, within the project scope. As such we ask for a personal statement from applicants to highlight individual interests.

Funding Details

This is a University funded project and covers the Home/EU tuition fee and annual net stipend of £15,285 (in 2020/2021) for 3 years full-time, starting in October 2020.

Whilst open to International candidates, please note that this scholarship covers Home/EU/RUK Fee rate only.



Dr Perla Innocenti, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde 

Dr Mark Dunlop, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde 

The successful student will also have the opportunity to integrate with the wider Department of Computer and Information Sciences and will benefit from a network of fellow PhD students and a range of academic staff part of the iSchool Research Group and the Digital Health and Wellness Research Group

Contact us

If you have any queries about this project, please email the lead supervisor Dr Perla Innocenti.

How to apply

Applications via the online Pegasus system of the University of Strathclyde.

Please include the code for this PhD studentship: 2079.

How to apply guidance is available here.

Applicants should submit:

  • A CV (including name & contact for two academic referees)
  • Degree certificate(s)
  • Degree transcript(s)
  • English qualification certificates where applicable
  • Scan of passport photo page
  • PhD proposal (approximately 2000 words, excluding references)
  • Evidence of funding or ability to fund difference between UK/EU and Overseas fees if necessary.


The University of Strathclyde is committed to achieving and promoting equality of opportunity in its learning, teaching, research and working environments, and to ensuring these environments support positive relations between people, and a culture of respect. As a provider of employment and education, we value the diversity of our staff and students and are committed to encouraging everyone to realise their full potential.