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Assessing the Commercial Feasibility and Efficacy of Autonomous Vehicles in Logistics: A Human Factors Comparative Analysis

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

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

Application deadline:  25 October 2023 

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2024

For further details contact: Dr Safaa Sindi


The Cotutelle PhD Programme is a joint research degree involving more than one degree-awarding body, offering a range of benefits to doctoral candidates and institutions alike.

This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. This programme allows students to be jointly supervised by experts from both Universities. This allows for the formalisation of a high level of cooperation between supervisors and the deepening of research networks. It also promotes internationalisation at the doctoral level, attracting high-quality candidates and opening up new funding opportunities.

Both partners in the program (Coventry University and Deakin University) are actively involved in monitoring the student's progress and determining the length of the thesis and the form of examination required to meet the requirements of all partners. Joint decisions are made, and co-authored papers are encouraged, fostering collaboration and sharing of knowledge across borders. The Cotutelle PhD Programme offer an excellent opportunity for doctoral candidates to engage in cutting-edge research and benefit from a truly international academic experience.

The successful applicant will spend the 1st year at Coventry University and the following year at Deakin University and then the final 1.5 years at Coventry University  

The supervision team will be drawn from the two Universities. 

Details of the PhD project

This PhD project aims to investigate the impact of future autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the logistics industry. The goal is to reduce the challenges faced by companies in logistics operations for example, how to optimise hub-and-spoke networks to reduce lead time.

The project will focus on analysing the feasibility of using AVs and comparing their capabilities with traditional logistics methods (for example implementing distributed micro-warehouses).  Furthermore, the project will consider the behaviour of operators and analyse their abilities in solving real-world logistics problems to gain a deeper understanding of the task.

This project will be aligned with a Deakin University PhD project, which is looking at A human-in-the-loop multi-agent system for real-time coordination and situational awareness in logistics.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with a team of experts in logistics and human factors. The candidate will also be supported with publishing their research in top-tier academic journals and conferences and contribute to the development of innovative new solutions for real-world logistics challenges.

This PhD project will provide an exciting opportunity to explore the commercial impact of future AVs and contribute to the advancement of the logistics industry.

Funding details

This project is fully-funded, including tuition fee and stipend/bursary (£18,622 p/a).


  • 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. 

Entry requirements

Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme.

  • Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates).
  • A Masters degree in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Merit level. In addition, the mark for the Masters dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. Please note that where a candidate has a 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first – class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer – reviewed publications, research – related awards or prizes and/ or professional reports.
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study

For an overview of each University’s entry requirements please visit:



  • Candidates with a background in both computer science and logistics are preferred.
  • Please note that it is essential that applicants confirm that they are able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia).

How to apply

All applications require a covering letter and a 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.  

All candidates must apply to both Universities. 

For the Deakin application, please visit: http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/become-a-research-student/how-to-apply-research-degrees 

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