a Mini car in a driving simulator

Accessible human-machine interfaces in transport: designed for people with disabilities

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: £18,622 bursary (subject to changes depending on UKRI 2023 guidance), tuition fees and £400 in additional allowances

Duration: Full time - between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2023 (international), 31 August 2023 (UK)

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr William Payre.


Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship.

Project details

Research shows that poor transport design, whether public or private, can create challenges for disabled people and their ability to make door to door journeys.

In order to overcome some of these barriers, national disability charity Motability, in collaboration with the National Transport Design Centre (an accessible facility) at Coventry University, are seeking to sponsor a doctoral candidate to undertake research in the area of accessible transport solutions.

In line with the National Disability Strategy (2021), this Ph.D is focused on developing and assessing human-machine interfaces to enhance the accessibility of transport-related user interfaces. The applications of this research work can be, but are not limited to:

  • Facilitating the use of transport ticket booths for those with cognitive, vision or dexterity impairments
  • Developing a framework for designing transportation apps to mitigate the inconsistencies across them
  • Designing and assessing an in-car touchscreen for individuals with dexterity and fingertips sensitivity impairments.

The Ph.D is not limited to the aforementioned topics, and participants are encouraged to suggest their ideas if they are related to human-machine interfaces.

A state-of-the-art, driver in-the-loop simulator is available to conduct this Ph.D studentship. The car can be instrumented depending on the requirements of the research.

We welcome applications for this unique and exciting opportunity from candidates who have innovative research ideas that can help to provide solutions and make transport more accessible. The research could also look at future transport solutions and emerging technologies that are still to be defined.


Tuition fees, £18,622 bursary (subject to changes depending on UKRI 2023 guidance) and £400 in additional allowances.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Candidate specification

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average. 
    the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
Additional requirements

To be eligible you must:

  • live in the UK
  • be disabled* or evidence a lived experience of disability (i.e. demonstrate direct and frequent interactions with disabled people which has enabled you to develop deep insight into disability)
  • have a minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.

Please read the Research Entry Criteria for more details.

* You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.  This might include mental health conditions, cognitive or physical impairments or long-term health conditions, for example cancer, HIV, MS, endometriosis, arthritis, crohn's disease or undiagnosed long-term symptoms https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010. Statistics show that disabled students are less likely to continue their degrees, graduate with a good degree, and progress onto a highly skilled job or further study, therefore this studentship aims to address this issue.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr. William Payre.

All applications require full supporting documentation, and a covering letter – plus the following:

This is a thematic opportunity therefore applicants are required to submit a research proposal based within the selected theme/area of approx. 3,000 words

For information on Research proposals please utilise the  Research Proposal guidance.

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