PhD Position F/M Beyond-desktop displays to make visible the hidden environmental impact of everyday decision making

Inria
January 31, 2023
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2023-05720 - PhD Position F/M Beyond-desktop displays to make visible the hidden environmental impact of everyday decision making

Contract type : Fixed-term contract

Level of qualifications required : Graduate degree or equivalent

Fonction : PhD Position

Context

This PhD proposal is part of a national project (ANR) called Be·Aware (https:// beaware.inria.fr), which involves collaborators at Inria Bordeaux (Potioc team), Bourgogne School of Business (the LESSAC lab) and CIRED. The PhD student selected for this position will be located at Inria Bordeaux with the possibility of research visits with the other partners.

The Be·Aware project explores how augmented reality (AR) systems can reduce the spatial and temporal distance between people's choices and their environmental impact. The aim is to design interactive visualizations that integrate concrete environmental consequences (e.g. waste accumulation (Assor et al, 2021), rare earth mining) directly into people's surroundings. This interdisciplinary research will be informed and validated by incentivized and controlled behavioral economics experiments based on game- theoretical models, and be guided by real environmental data and scenarios.

Topic description

The social desirability of pro-environmental attitudes has become nearly universal. However, people have been slow to make positive changes in their behavior, including the adoption of more eco-friendly lifestyles, but also a more active support of environment-friendly policies, politicians, organizations, and industries. In other words, we continue to observe a behavior gap: actual behavior is not in line with stated attitudes (Alcock et al., 2017).

The aim of this project is to help people better understand the environmental impact of their everyday decisions by making the effects, which are often far away in space or time, visible and salient in the here and now in new ways, such as using AR technology. We will explore systems that use headsets, physical models or mobile devices to overlay virtual, rendered elements into the context of people's familiar physical environments. These systems are meant to help people make the connection between an intended behavior or an item in their proximity and the environmental costs and consequences connected to it, which are generally invisible and often difficult to know about. By making these impacts understandable and salient, we intend to help us all to become informed citizens concerning the hidden impacts of our everyday actions.All these activities will be conducted in collaboration with the members of the Be·Aware project.

These systems are meant to help people make the connection between an intended behavior or an item in their proximity and the environmental costs and consequences connected to it, which are generally invisible and often difficult to know about. By making these impacts understandable and salient, we intend to help us all to become informed citizens concerning the hidden impacts of our everyday actions.

The guiding hypothesis of this project is that by "virtually" relocating consequences of our actions in our neighborhood or immediate surroundings, augmented reality can have an educative effect and enable us to make informed decisions, consistent with our stated attitudes.

All these activities will be conducted in collaboration with the members of the Be·Aware project.

Assignment

The selected student will explore different design possibilities and develop and evaluate prototypes using methods from human-computer interaction (HCI). However, the guiding hypothesis is difficult to test using HCI methods. We will therefore additionally collaborate with behavioral economists whose experimental methods are able to abstract constraints and incentives of real- world situations into "games" which can be used to compare different approaches in an experimental setup. Behavioral experiments have a relatively strong internal validity, based on game theoretical models and mathematical predictions (Kagel and Roth, 2020).

Concretely, the challenges linked to this research project are 1) ensuring a relevant hybridization between real and virtual content to promote a convincing user experience; 2) exploring visual metaphors that inform the experience with concrete environmental data; 3) understanding the impact of display and interaction modalities on the overall experience and learned message.

Main activities

To tackle these challenges, the PhD candidate will

  • conduct a review of existing visualization approaches to communicate environmental impact and explore the current knowledge and available data,
  • design and develop prototypes of immersive hybrid (real/virtual) experiences as well as related visualization and interaction techniques,
  • design and conduct experimental protocols to evaluate the usability and efficacy of the proposed solutions.
  • Skills

    Selection criteria

    The applicant for this topic should have:

  • excellent analytical and conceptual thinking skills,
  • excellent programming skills,
  • very good English skills (both spoken and written), and
  • a deep curiosity for science and for topics related to this PhD topic.
  • Benefits package
  • Subsidized meals
  • Partial reimbursement of public transport costs
  • Leave: 7 weeks of annual leave + 10 extra days off due to RTT (statutory reduction in working hours) + possibility of exceptional leave (sick children, moving home, etc.)
  • Possibility of partial teleworking and flexible organization of working hours
  • Professional equipment available (videoconferencing, loan of computer equipment, etc.)
  • Social, cultural and sports events and activities
  • Remuneration

    gross monthly salary (before taxes) :

  • 2051 euros during 2 first years
  • 2158 euros durng the third year
  • General Information
  • Theme/Domain : Interaction and visualization Instrumentation et expérimentation (BAP C)

  • Town/city : Talence

  • Inria Center : Centre Inria de l'université de Bordeaux
  • Starting date : 2023-03-01
  • Duration of contract : 3 years
  • Deadline to apply : 2023-01-31
  • Contacts
  • Inria Team : POTIOC
  • PhD Supervisor : Hachet Martin / Martin.Hachet@inria.fr
  • About Inria

    Inria is the French national research institute dedicated to digital science and technology. It employs 2,600 people. Its 200 agile project teams, generally run jointly with academic partners, include more than 3,500 scientists and engineers working to meet the challenges of digital technology, often at the interface with other disciplines. The Institute also employs numerous talents in over forty different professions. 900 research support staff contribute to the preparation and development of scientific and entrepreneurial projects that have a worldwide impact.

    Instruction to apply

    Thank you to send: - CV - Cover letter - Master marks and ranking - Support letter(s)

    Defence Security : This position is likely to be situated in a restricted area (ZRR), as defined in Decree No. 2011-1425 relating to the protection of national scientific and technical potential (PPST).Authorisation to enter an area is granted by the director of the unit, following a favourable Ministerial decision, as defined in the decree of 3 July 2012 relating to the PPST. An unfavourable Ministerial decision in respect of a position situated in a ZRR would result in the cancellation of the appointment.

    Recruitment Policy : As part of its diversity policy, all Inria positions are accessible to people with disabilities.

    Warning : you must enter your e-mail address in order to save your application to Inria. Applications must be submitted online on the Inria website. Processing of applications sent from other channels is not guaranteed.

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