Anupam Satumane Receives NIKE Research PhD Fellowship

March 8, 2022
Headshot of Anupam

NIKE’s Workplace Design and Connectivity team has selected Architecture Doctoral student and Baker research assistant, Anupam Satumane, for a one-year PhD Research Fellowship.

Satumane is currently a third-year PhD student working under the supervision of Siobhan Rockcastle, an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Baker Lighting Lab. His doctoral research focused on sustainability with greater research focus being put on occupant health within the built environment, not just the energy efficiency of a building, and how different factors, such as lighting and privacy, improve workplace sustainability.

To help test his theories and research, he found a timely partner with NIKE’s fellowship.

“They were interested in pushing the boundaries of technology to find out more about human experience, especially relating to work environments and how perception can affect different aspects of their employees,” said Satumane.

With the support of the fellowship award, Satumane is excited to get to work evaluating his proposal “Leveraging workplace design to promote workplace experience: Evaluating the impacts of social, environmental, and workplace settings on employee satisfaction”. The proposal looks to analyze how employee satisfaction is influenced by different workplace settings comparing a private office to a shared office to an open office, window views, window shading systems or patterned solar, and how visual enhancements in shared and open workspaces might improve overall perceptions of these spaces.

To help evaluate the proposal sustainably and accurately, Satumane is utilizing two novel ideas for experimentation. Instead of physical mock-ups and stringent geographic locations, Satumane is moving the experiment to a virtual immersive environment with the help of virtual reality headsets (VR).

The use of these headsets allows for greater flexibility with data collection and participation since the experiment can be easily replicated in the headsets regardless of the user’s physical location.

To help evaluate the data from the experiment, Satumane developed a triangulation method for the objective evaluation of participant data based on physiological feedback in addition to industry-standard subjective data collection.

Satumane hopes to be the pioneer of this new method that will use measurements and biofeedback to create objective data for experiments that have largely relied on subjective feedback that may or may not be accurate.

“Because half the time people don’t really know what they are experiencing,” explained Satumane. “Or sometimes, subjective questions are misinterpreted.”

The NIKE Research PhD Fellowship will provide up to $60,000 in financial support to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for the awardee. 

Satumane will start working with Workplace Design and Connectivity and Workplace Intelligence teams remotely this summer to complete the proposal.  The findings of this project will be used to support his doctoral dissertation with the university, which he hopes to complete in spring 2023.