Determining the dynamics of risk in motorway traffic scenarios

Determining the dynamics of risk in motorway traffic scenarios

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

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International - including EU at international rates from September 2021)

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

Application deadline: 21 June 2021

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2021

For further details contact: Dr Huw Davies

Cotutelle PhD Programme

This studentship is part of the Cotutelle PhD Programme with Deakin University (Australia). Find out more about our global Cotutelle opportunities.

Find out more


This fully-funded PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

The successful applicant will spend the first year at Coventry University, the following year at Deakin University, and the final 1.5 years at Coventry University. The supervision team will be drawn from the two Universities.

Project details

Adoption of autonomous vehicle technology promises to deliver a wide range of social, economic, and environmental benefits. The precise magnitude of these benefits is difficult to predict at this stage, but existing research suggests that the net impact of autonomous vehicles will be significant.

A barrier to the wider adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) is ensuring that they can operate safely as part of the existing mobility system. Present approaches to the deployment of CAV, and for the purposes of evidence collection, are based on a safety case where risks are identified and either controlled or removed. Where risks cannot be controlled or removed an adversarial formulation (complete risk aversion) of the problem is formulated - the price paid is lots of false positives and a negative impact on the performance of the system (in exchange for “absolute” safety).

This is the motivation for the research, to determine future performance metrics based on measuring the dynamics of risk in traffic scenarios. Assessing risk and making risk-aware decisions is widely considered a key step toward ensuring efficient and safe deployment of CAV going forwards. This research will look to establish a direct measure of dynamic of risk in traffic scenarios associated with limited access roads (those with access ramps and central divide between two carriageways).


This is a fully-funded studentship, including:

  • Full tuition fees (for up to 4 years)
  • A stipend for up to 3.5 years subject to satisfactory progress
  • A one-time economy return airfare to host institution
  • Conference 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.

Entry requirements

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

This includes:

  • 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 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 to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.

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

Please note that it is essential to be able to physically locate to both Coventry University (England) and Deakin University (Australia).


A demonstrable interest and experience of innovative approaches to measure the performance of mobility systems, specifically the problems around understanding of the complex interface between the technical and social spaces (i.e. how users may perceive risk and this links to technology development pathways) would be looked upon as beneficial for this project.

How to apply

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Huw Davies.

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

Please note that applications must be made to both universities.

What is the application process?

Applications are submitted to both institutions. Applicants must ensure they meet eligibility requirements. Selection involves academic staff from both institutions. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by a panel including academic staff from each institution. Applicants will need to submit copies of certificates to both institutions in line with their respective requirements.

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