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Early Stage Researcher (ESR) PhD position in Computational Automated Vehicle/Pedestrian Interaction Models, as part of a new Marie Sklodowska Curie Project at the Institute for Transport Studies

Are you interested in making mathematical models of human interaction with automated vehicles? Do you want to further your career and attain a PhD in one of the UK’s leading research intensive Universities?

The successful applicant for this Early-stage researcher (ESR) post will be employed for a period of 36 months at the Institute for Transport Studies, Faculty of Environment, University of Leeds, United Kingdom. The position will be funded by SHAPE-IT, a European Commission Horizon 2020 program for Research and Innovation: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN). The main objective of SHAPE-IT is to facilitate the safe, acceptable and, ideally, desirable integration of user-centred and transparent automated vehicles (AVs) into tomorrow’s mixed urban traffic environments, using both existing and new research methods, designing advanced interfaces and control strategies.

We are looking for a candidate who is interested in studying Computational Automated Vehicle/Pedestrian Interaction Models. Building on existing experimental methods e.g. virtual reality experiments, as well as models developed in the research group, you will investigate and model interactions between cars/AVs and pedestrians in selected situations. You will also apply these models in computer simulations to study how AVs should behave, taking pedestrian intentions and expectations into account. A specific research question of interest is how AVs can achieve efficient progress toward own goals, while at the same time not transgressing human comfort boundaries.

You should have an MSc degree or equivalent in an engineering discipline or in the psychological/cognitive/behavioural sciences, with knowledge in one or more of the following fields: human factors, ergonomics, cognitive science, neuroscience, human machine interfaces, cognitive modelling, artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, automotive technology, driver assistance systems, software engineering, computer science, control theory, transport modelling, and safety analysis.

Employment is expected to start between October 2019 and March 2020. The ESRs will be hired for three years. All ESRs will work towards the PhD degree at their host institution, which will be assessed following successful publication of their research in international journals, relevant to their field.

Important eligibility rules for this position 

There are no restrictions on the nationality, but:

  • Applicants must, at the time of recruitment, not already hold a doctorate degree and must be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers (measured from the date of obtaining the degree which would entitle you to embark on a PhD);

  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to their recruitment to the SHAPE-IT project. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. 


The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher salary is €54,858 per annum plus allowances in accordance with Marie Curie European regulations. The salary figure is before employer’s and employee’s deductions for national insurance and taxes, and will be paid in Sterling on a monthly basis using an appropriate conversion rate.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Dr Gustav Markkula, email: 

Location:  Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Environment
School/Institute:  Institute for Transport Studies
Category:  Research
Grade:  Off grading structure
In line with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN requirements
Working Time:  100%
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (3 years due to external funding)
Release Date:  Monday 15 July 2019
Closing Date:  Thursday 22 August 2019
Interview Date:  Monday 02 September 2019
Reference:  ENVTR1101
Downloads:  Candidate Brief  

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

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