The National Transport Design Centre

“Hooked on a Feeling”: Realising the full potential of haptic human-machine interfaces.

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 Sept 21)

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

Application deadline: 27 May 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr James Blundell.


Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably qualified graduates for an exciting fully funded PhD studentship opportunity within our National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) in the fields of Human Factors, human-machine-interaction and cognitive psychology to examine how humans interpret multimodal haptics information. The NTDC was launched in 2017 where we employ state-of-the-art visualisation and simulation techniques, and design tools to address future mobility challenges from bicycles, through autonomous cars to eVTOL aircraft. We have a team of psychologists, human factors experts, designers alongside engineering experts. NTDC also works closely with industry, presenting excellent opportunities for collaboration and the development of impactful research. See our LinkedIn pages at

Project details

Haptic displays, which convey meaningful information to the user through the sensation of touch, have been used in a range of industrial and academic domains. Commonly, haptic displays present users with either force feedback (e.g., lane keeping guidance communicated via steering wheel forces in cars) or vibrational warning cues (e.g., stall stick shaker warning on aircraft). Basic research describing the optimal presentation of simultaneous force feedback and vibrational information is lacking. Challenges remain in terms of knowing how easily humans can detect and differentiate multiple haptics cues delivered across several body locations. Consequentially, the full potential of haptic displays across their wide range of application areas has yet to be unlocked.

The current PhD will investigate the detectability and comprehension of haptic information delivered via a combination of vibrotactile garments and force feedback control surfaces. The relevance of this work is expected to be far reaching. For example, the optimisation of information presentation for multimodal displays used in complex safety critical operational environments requiring interaction with remote and / or automated agents (aviation, automotive, teleoperations), as well as in non-safety critical education and entertainment XR applications.


Tuition fees and bursary.


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 (second class honours upper division) in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average, or
  • 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 70%.
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr James Blundell.

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

Apply to Coventry University
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020