Decarbonising and humanising transport through mobility data management

Data is the new currency of the 21st century and DfT has identified this as an area of research interest, particularly in the quest to decarbonise transport by 2030.  

Start date
1 July 2021
Standard project duration is 3 years.
Application deadline
Funding source
The University of Surrey, Project-led Studentship Award.
Funding information

UK/EU fees, an annual stipend of £15,285 and £1,000 for research related expenses   


Data is the new currency in the 21st century and transport is one of the sectors generating vast data volumes daily. Despite the increasing interest about Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, MaaS and machine learning, large amounts of data remain unexploited missing a key opportunity to meet climate objectives. The Department for Transport (DfT) has identified this as an area of research interest, particularly in the quest to decarbonise transport by 2030. Transport data feature as the most important priority to enable the future of mobility. The availability of data on journeys and the potential benefit of data sharing is increasingly important as a route to improve the user experience on both commuting and non-commuting journeys. 

Since Electric Vehicles (EV) feature as a primary option to decarbonise transport, this PhD research project aims at focusing on EV data and human factors surrounding EV use. Applicants are invited to suggest and evaluate innovative data collection methods linking EV use with human factors, drawing from relevant sociological theories. Findings will be used to identify business value formulating sustainable business models and to inform policy making about the future of mobility at local, national and international levels. 

Pursuing the aim of decarbonising and humanising transport to achieve national and international climate change targets, this PhD research project should address the following objectives among others: 

  • Classify EV use based on mode, user, service types and relevant sociological theories 

  • Evaluate survey methods used to elicit user preferences 

  • Identify data sets generating business value 

  • Provide policy recommendations to decarbonise transport by 2030 

The supervisory team has experience in mobility innovation from the UK and overseas, acquired through a range of UK and European projects. Access to experts and data will be offered by  DfT including an up to 6-months secondment opportunity to support this PhD research project where relevant.  

Related links
Centre for Sustainability and Wellbeing in the Visitor Economy Policy paper - The Grand Challenges

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to hold a Masters degree at a minimum of a distinction level in a relevant discipline from an approved university. If you do not hold such a degree, you may be admitted, providing you hold a first class (1st)  Bachelors degree from an approved university or a professional or other qualification deemed by the University to be appropriate. 

This studentship is available to UK and Eu students only. 

IELTS requirements:7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent). 

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Hospitality and Tourism Management PhD programme page.

Please include your CV, a 1,000 – 2,000 words Research Proposal, a 1-page (A4) covering letter summarising why you are a suitable candidate and the contact details of at least two referees, preferably including an academic one.

Interviews will be held in June 2021 either in-person or online depending on any applicable COVID-19 restrictions. 

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Nikolas Thomopoulos and Prof. Scott Cohen, with input by DfT experts or  other UK Government officials. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Application deadline

Contact details

Nikolas Thomopoulos
10 AP 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686311

Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.