EPSRC CASE PhD Scholarship- The Interaction Between Driving Safety and Pleasure

The University of Leeds invites applications from eligible UK/EU candidates for an enhanced-stipend, EPSRC CASE PhD scholarship in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) on the topic: “Industry guidelines for driver distraction – the interaction between safety and driving pleasure”.

The successful applicant will work within the Safety and Technology research group at the university’s Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), a research active, multi-disciplinary group which attracts funding from research councils, the EU and industry. The group hosts a world-class facility, the University of Leeds Driving Simulator (http://www.uolds.leeds.ac.uk/), which supports the research of staff and students. As part of the PhD the student will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the industrial perspective by visiting and working alongside colleagues at JLR.

National and international guidelines have been developed with reference to the types of visual and manual tasks that may be undertaken while driving. One intention of these is to reduce driver distraction by limiting the amount and type of interaction with in-vehicle technologies. Safe driving can be evaluated via objective measures of driver performance, but these metrics typically ignore subjective measures such as pleasure, frustration and comfort. Emotions such as these can influence behaviour, and may affect whether driver behaviour aligns with the industry guidelines.

Through collaboration with JLR the PhD student will gain practical skills in the field of in-vehicle technology and industrial partnering. A range of studies are envisaged to model the interaction of drivers with visual in-vehicle displays from both an objective (distraction) and subjective (pleasure) perspective. These ‘soft’ factors, such as driving pleasure, are little understood yet may provide insights into driver motivation and safety behaviours. The student will address the question, “Do visual interfaces designed according to industry guidelines encourage or limit driver distraction and pleasure?”

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We are keen to hear from candidates with a background in Psychology, Engineering or Human Factors and an interest in behavioural studies. Experience with statistical analysis and a willingness to become proficient in software such as Matlab, is desirable.

Support follows standard EPSRC rules, though with enhanced living expenses provided by the co-sponsor, JLR. For a UK student the scholarship will pay, for up to 3.5 years, all tuition fees, a tax-free enhanced maintenance award of £16,726 per year, and a training account to support conference attendance. For other EU applicants the tuition fees will be paid, but no living expenses will be available unless the student has resided continuously in the UK for three years before starting the PhD. See: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/Pages/eligibility.aspx

While there is some flexibility in start-date, the successful applicant must be registered as a full-time University of Leeds student by 1st April 2014.

To apply visit the Institute for Transport Studies website www.its.leeds.ac.uk/courses/phd/funding/ and follow the instructions there. Enquiries regarding the application process can be emailed to phd@its.leeds.ac.uk

Please direct academic enquiries regarding the project to Dr Samantha Jamson at S.L.Jamson@its.leeds.ac.uk

Closing date: Monday 3rd February 2014 

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