Graduation

Open position for PhD Candidates

The Transport Strategy Centre (TSC), led by Co-Director Professor Dan Graham, Head of the Centre for Transport Studies, are announcing an open position within the TSC for a full-time PhD Candidate in one of the following areas of transport research.

Research Subjects

Data-centric Engineering

The PhD candidate is expected to carry out cutting-edge research at the interface of engineering, statistics and economics and publish contributions to the emerging literature of data-centric engineering in transportation. This interdisciplinary subject combines mathematical modelling with advances in transportation big data and artificial intelligence.  The overarching aim of this area of research is to build and/or operate old and new infrastructure in smarter, safer ways, making the best use of data. Its core working areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Building resilient and robust transportation infrastructure through predictive modelling of urban rail transport operations, analysing large scale usage of roads across different modes, etc.
  • Monitoring transportation systems to understand and anticipate the impact of rare and high-consequence events.

 To learn more about data-centric engineering, watch this video produced by the Lloyds Research Foundation. A good textbook reference to the tools and applications for data-centric transportation engineering is:

  • Antoniou, C., Dimitriou, L. and Pereira, F. eds., 2018. Mobility patterns, big data and transport analytics: tools and applications for modelling. Elsevier.

Data-Centric Engineering has become a globally recognised academic discipline due to its establishment as a strategic research theme of the Alan Turing Institute, the UK's Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.  New research findings may get published in general-interest science journals such as NatureNature Scientific Communications and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and high-impact area-specific transportation journals such as Transportation Research Part B: Methodological and Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.

You may be interested in pursuing a PhD in data-centric transportation engineering if

  • you hold a degree in transportation science and engineering specifically;
  • you are a mathematician with solid background in statistics, and you are interested in developing transportation-specific applications of your skills;
  • you are an engineer with good knowledge of mathematical modelling and you intend to expand your methodological skillset with transportation system modelling tools.

This call is not linked to any specific grants or research projects, but we expect applications with a comprehensive research proposal in one of the following topics of data-centric engineering:

  1. Application of data science methods and models to big/high dimensional data (such as smartcard data) to identify opportunities for improvement in the operation, planning and design of transportation systems.
  2. Development and application of causal inference methods to identify determinants for intervention and forecast impacts.

Transport Economics and Econometrics

The PhD candidate is expected to achieve novel research findings and publish contributions to the literature of transport economics. This interdisciplinary subject combines applied welfare economics with transport studies. Its core aim is to model transport markets with microeconomic tools and derive policy recommendations supporting

  • Investments into new transport infrastructure (investment appraisal and cost-benefit analysis),
  • Transport pricing as a tool of efficient resource allocation (marginal cost pricing, congestion pricing, etc.),
  • Regulation of competitive transport markets and the contractual framework of public service provision.

The foundations of transport economics are covered in the following publications:

  • Small and Verhoef (2007), The Economics of Urban Transportation. Routledge.
  • De Palma, Lindsey, Quinet, and Vickerman (Eds.). (2011). A Handbook of Transport Economics. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Prominent figures of this research area and several members of our group are active in the International Transport Economics Association. New research findings are frequently published in Economics of Transportation and the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy (co-edited by Professor Dan Graham), beside general-interest journals of economics and transport.

You may be interested in pursuing a PhD in transport economics iftube

  • you hold a degree in spatial and transport economics specifically;
  • you are an economist with solid background in microeconomic theory and econometrics, and you are interested in transport-related societal problems;
  • you are an engineer with good knowledge of transport systems and you intend to expand your methodological skillset with economic modelling tools.

This call is not linked to any specific grants or research projects, but we expect applications with a comprehensive research proposal in one of the following topics of transport economics:

  1. The welfare economics of efficient pricing and capacity provision in public transport and emerging shared transport modes (e.g. carsharing, ride-hailing).
  2. The wider economic impacts of transport supply; advances in the empirical identification of of wider effects (including external benefits of agglomeration and market access) and applications in investment appraisal.

Transit System Performance

 The PhD candidate is expected to carry out cutting-edge research at the interface of engineering, statistical and mathematical modelling, and economics and publish contributions to the literature on transit system performance. This interdisciplinary subject involves the application of statistical modelling, machine learning methods, mathematical simulation and optimisation, and transport engineering principles.  The aim of this research area is to analyse, compare, and provide recommendations to improve and/or optimise transit performance across domains of operations including (but not limited to): service provision and quality, demand management, reliability and resilience, maintenance, economic and environmental sustainability, and safety and security. You will work closely with the applied research arm of the Transport Strategy Centre, who undertake performance measurement and analysis of over 100 metro, light rail, bus, rail, and airport operators around the world. Further information on the applied arm of the TSC can be found here.

With increasing access to large scale automated data sets on passenger trips, vehicle movements, and asset condition, among others, the academic research field of transit performance analysis has been rapidly expanding. New research findings may be published in general-interest science journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and high-impact area-specific transportation journals such as Transportation Research Part B: Methodological and Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.

You may be interested in pursuing a PhD in transit performance analysis if you possess the following background:

  • you hold a degree in transportation science and engineering specifically;
  • you are a mathematician or computer scientist with a solid background in statistics, and you are interested in developing transportation-specific applications of your skills;
  • you are an engineer with good knowledge of mathematical modelling and you intend to expand your methodological skillset with transportation system modelling tools.

This call is not linked to any specific grants or research projects, but we expect applications with a comprehensive research proposal in one of the following topics of transit system performance:

  1. Application of advanced statistical and machine learning methods to quantify and analyse transit system performance.
  2. Development and application of mathematical simulation and optimisation models to improve transit system performance.

Join our research group

Working in our research group

Professor Dan Graham’s research group (Academic research within the TSC) currently employs three postdoctoral research associates and six PhD candidates. Group members have a diverse background in engineering, economics, statistics and natural sciences. The group’s research profile includes a range of subjects in transport science: empirical as well as theoretical areas of transport economics, the measurement of wider economic benefits of transport and agglomeration economies, statistical modelling and causal inference econometrics applied on large-scale automated transport data, among others.

The PhD Candidate will carry out leading research in the subject selected, under the supervision of Professor Dan Graham and an assistant supervisor. The group’s research findings are disseminated at leading scientific conferences around the world and published in top-tier academic journals. 

Beside research activities, PhD candidates have the opportunity to work on a range of research themes related to aspects of urban mass transit systems and the wider implications of these systems for cities and for social and economic wellbeing. PhD candidates are involved in teaching activities, including lectures and tutorial sessions in quantitative methods, econometrics, microeconomics and transport economics, for both graduate and undergraduate students. Successful candidates are also expected to contribute to grant applications and specific external research assignments.

The research group's offices are located within Skempton Building, South Kensington Campus, in close proximity to Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall, and the Natural History Museum.

Skemptonaerial



 


Requirements

  • Applicants are expected to hold an MSc degree by summer 2021 in a related discipline.
  • Fluency and full proficiency in written and spoken English (English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 overall, minimum 6.0 in all elements).
  • Applicants must be self- motivated and have excellent skills in academic writing and in communicating research findings.
  • Outstanding academic record in previous studies. Industrial experience in the transport sector is considered as an advantage.
  • Applicants must fulfil the general requirements of postgraduate research admissions at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/civil-engineering/prospective-students/postgraduate- research-admissions-phd/

Funding and scholarships

Information on the annual cost of living in London and PGR tuition fees can be found on the College fees and funding pages. For outstanding PhD candidates, the TSC may provide funding for up to 3.5 years, including tuition fees (3 years) and a tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI London rate. Please contact us for further details as part of your application.


How to apply

Applicants wishing to be considered for this opportunity should send the following application documents to Professor Dan Graham at d.j.graham@imperial.ac.uk.

  1. Current CV including details of their academic record, and if possible, class ranking
  2. Covering letter explaining their motivation, suitability, skills and/or experiences (1 page maximum)
  3. English testing results, i.e. IELTS or TOFEL (if any).
  4. Contact details of two academic referees (including name, affiliation, phone number and email address).

Application via the Imperial College Registry is not necessary at the initial stage. Applications will be regularly reviewed until the position is filled. Please contact Professor Dan Graham at d.j.graham@imperial.ac.uk, or Dr Daniel Hörcher at d.horcher@imperial.ac.uk for further details, informal discussions and information about the opportunity.

Closing Date: 31 January 2022