Funding & Collaborators


UK Economic and Social Research Council

ESRC grant ES/W003120/1 (2022-25). The plasticity of the bodily self: how function and age shape the acceptance of virtual bodies. 

Dr Cowie is PI on this grant to investigate how children and adults can learn to control new virtual bodies and feel ownership over them. Using motion capture, psychophysiology, and virtual reality, we will investigate how both age and training can allow users to embody new virtual bodies. 

ESRC grant ES/P008798/1 , 2017-21: The Development of Own Body Representation in Childhood

Dr Cowie was PI on this project to investigate how children and adults perceive their own bodies, and how this grounds the emerging sense of bodily self. We used the Rubber Hand illusion and virtual reality approaches. The academic outputs of the project provide vital new information on how children represent their bodies. 


We are proud to work in collaboration with Prof Marco Gillies, Prof Sylvia Pan, Prof Tamar Makin, and Prof. Bob Kentridge... as well as with the following organisations:


Musemio are an award-winning cultural education platform, working with museums across the world to give children access to cultural and historical learning. With PhD student Emerald Grimshaw, we are working to optimise embodied virtual reality learning experiences for children. Read more here about Emerald's project.


Reach are a charity who work to support children, and the families of children, with upper-limb differences: helping children with upper-limb differences live life without limits. They are the partner charity for our BOLDkids project, which you can read more about here.

Vicon motion systems

Vicon are a world-leader in optical movement analysis. With MRes student Sam Keenaghan, we worked in partnership to optimise real-time full-body motion capture for children, allowing for perfectly synchronised movement of a virtual body. Read more here in our article for the Vicon magazine.

Bare Toed Dance

Bare Toed are a local company with years of experience in teaching children creative dance. With PhD student Rachel Mowbray, we worked in partnership to carry out dance training with a group of local children.