Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Determining the dynamics of risk in motorway traffic scenarios

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project in ‘Determining the dynamics of risk in motorway traffic scenarios’ between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (UK).

Deakin Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision

Dr Huw Davies (Coventry) and Dr Christophe Bastien (Coventry)

Deakin School or Institute


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus (Australia) and Coventry University (UK)

Research topic

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project between Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia). This project and scholarship are offered as part of a collaborative doctoral cotutelle program with the Institute for Future Transport and Cities, Coventry University, UK. The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by a team of leading researchers from Deakin University and Coventry University and will graduate with a jointly supervised doctoral degree from each institution. The program is for a duration of 3.5 years. It is anticipated that the PhD candidate will spend at least 1 year during the program at Deakin University, with the remainder of the program based at Coventry University.

The PhD scholar will have access to the world class research facilities of both universities and work under joint supervision of an expert supervisory team (A/Prof Ashim Debnath from Deakin; A/Prof Christophe Bastien and Dr Huw Davies from Coventry). This collaborative arrangement offers a unique research strength that data and resources from two different jurisdictions could be accessed for comparative analysis in this PhD research project.

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.

Project aim

This PhD project 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).

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Thursday 31 March 2022


This scholarship is supported by Coventry University and is available over 3 years and includes:

  • Stipend of £15,000 per annum
  • Tuition Fee Waiver
  • One return economy airfare to Deakin University to support residency period in Australia
  • Student visa and health insurance costs for period of residency at Deakin University in Australia

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate currently residing in the UK.
  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry University, including English language proficiency requirements
  • enrolling full-time
  • be able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia)
  • 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).

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page and Coventry’s research entry criteria page for further information.

How to apply

Applicants should firstly contact Dr Ashim Debnath to discuss the project. After discussing your application with the Deakin Supervisor, you will be required to submit an Expression of interest directly with the relevant Faculty.


If successful, you will be invited by Deakin University to lodge a formal HDR application.
The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the 'Making an Application' page.  Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof Ashim Debnath (Deakin) or Dr Huw Davies (Coventry)

A/Prof Ashim Debnath (Deakin)
Email A/Prof Ashim Debnath (Deakin)
+61 3 522 73528

Dr Huw Davies (Coventry)
Email Dr Huw Davies (Coventry)