Dr Pooya Soltani

Senior Lecturer

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

I am an active researcher and educator, and I use game technology in entertainment, digital health, and sports performance. My research is multidisciplinary, and I frequently bridge between different scientific domains for understanding human behaviour. During my PhD, I was a research technician, and I used various hardware, software, and methods in large-scale multi-year gamification and clinical projects.

From 2017 to 2019, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Aix-Marseille University, where I used virtual reality for rehabilitation and sports.

From 2019 to 2020, I was an innovation fellow for biomechanics and ergonomics at Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre (ATiC), UWTSD. We developed joint projects with the Welsh enterprises and charities, and I provided psycho-biophysical research and analysis on collaborative creative health projects. I was also a research engineer at CAMERA Motion Capture Innovation Studio, University of Bath. I have scoped and conducted research for helping health and creative SMEs innovate and grow. This included business proposals, brainstorming, identifying relevant research question, feasibility studies, training workshops, and data dissemination. Concurrently, I was conducting research on hyper realistic avatar pipelines to understand their effects on human behaviour and performance.

Since 2022, I am designing and lecturing modules at various levels. I am also designing a course on serious gaming that focuses on sports, psychology, and military. I am also undertaking operational management, academic leadership, and pastoral responsibilities, as well as enterprise, research, and consultancy activities. 

Professional memberships and activities

American Psychological Association

Academic qualifications

PhD in Sports Sciences (Biomechanics and Human Energetics), University of Porto

MSc in Sports Sciences, Shiraz University.

BSc in Sports Sciences, Shiraz University.


Creative Technologies

Games User Research

Ergogenic Aids

Science Media Production

Serious Games


Research interests

The big picture for me is how mixed reality technologies and avatars affect us. My research and teaching are applicable to both game design, as well as health and well-being. Within game design and development, I am particularly interest in (e)sports performance and perception. I have used VR for understanding motor control, opponent interaction, deception, and gender and experience differences. Within health and well-being, I have used AR and VR for rehabilitation and increasing motivation for doing physical activity.


  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships, European Commission, Seal of Excellence (2018).
  • Collège de France Postdoctoral Fellowship, Total value 55000 euros (2018-2019).
  • Institut Carnot STAR Postdoctoral Fellowship, Total value 50000 euros (2017-2018).

Enterprise and commercial interests

Research grants: I have created business proposals, held brainstorming sessions to identify relevant research question, and have conducted feasibility studies for small to medium health and creative enterprises.

Consulting: My research on using exergames in type-1 diabetes was adopted in the latest policy document of the Brazilian Society of Diabetes. I have also conducted independent validation studies, rapid prototyping, pipeline optimization, and promotional activities for various health and creative enterprises.

Continuing learning and knowledge transfer: I have held online and in-person workshop series and thematic workshops on integrating technology with traditional methods.

Public speaking: I have participated in various public engagement events including Futures Night and University of Bath Images of Research. My research has been featured in national and international media outlets including the BBC, Bloomberg, and the Daily Mail. 


GAME50172 Gameplay Applications

GAME40401 Fundamentals of Gameplay

GAME60282 Military Games Design, Development & Philosophy

GDEV7XXXX Project Management and Research Methods

GDEV7XXXX Advanced Games Design 


Morice, A., & Soltani, P. (2023, July 4-7). Getting past a basketball defender is not just a matter of size: A body- and action-scaled affordance approach [Conference presentation]. Twenty-eighth Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Paris, France.


Soltani, P., Morice, A. H. P. (2022). A multi-scale analysis of basketball throw in virtual reality for tracking perceptual-motor expertise. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 33(2), 178-188. doi: 10.1111/sms.14250


de Brito Gomes, J. L., Martins Vancea, D. M., de Araújo, R. C., Soltani, P., de Sá Pereira Guimarães, F. J., & da Cunha Costa, M. (2021). Cardiovascular and enjoyment comparisons after active videogame and running in type-1 diabetics: Crossover randomized trial. Games for Health Journal. doi:10.1089/g4h.2020.0209


Soltani, P., & Andrade, R. (2020). The influence of virtual reality head-mounted displays on balance outcomes and training paradigms: A systematic review. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 2. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2020.531535



in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021