Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Virtual Reality in Cycling Safety: Examining cyclists’ safety perception in Australia and the UK

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project in ‘Virtual Reality (VR) in Cycling Safety: Examining cyclists’ safety perception in Australia and the UK’ between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (UK).

Deakin Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision

Deakin School or Institute


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

Research topic

This project and scholarship are offered as part of a collaborative doctoral cotutelle program between Deakin University (Australia) and 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 Coventry University, with the remainder of the program based at Deakin 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 and Prof Ben Horan from Deakin University; Dr William Payre and Prof Stewart Birrell from Coventry University). This collaborative arrangement offers a unique research strength that data and resources from two different institutes and study contexts could be accessed for comparative analysis in this PhD research project.

Innovations in cycling infrastructure design and planning are being made across the world, including adoption of the innovative designs for encouraging greater cycling participation and improving the safety of cyclists. Previous research indicated that cyclists’ perception of safety at different types of infrastructure and their innovative designs influence cycling behaviour and how these infrastructures are utilised. With the recent changes in cycling behaviour and influx of various new cycling infrastructure in Australia and the UK, inspired by the changes in travel needs in the COVID environment, it is of vital importance that cyclists’ safety perception at these new infrastructure types are well understood. Such an understanding will provide the valuable information for improving the utilisation rates of these infrastructures as well as to better inform the planning of such infrastructure in the future, with the integration of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) and micro-mobility users to existing motorised traffic scenarios.

Different traffic scenarios will be simulated using the state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) facilities of Deakin University and Coventry University. Using data and case studies from the UK and Australia, a range of experimental studies will be developed in this research to derive understanding on cyclists’ safety perception. The experimental data will be analysed using advanced statistical and econometric methods. This project will provide the PhD scholar to develop expert skills in several areas, including VR, experimental design, advanced data analytics, and design and planning of cycling infrastructures.

Project aim

This project aims to examine cyclists’ safety perception of various infrastructure types in interactions with motorised traffic, including connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), using Virtual Reality (VR) experimental studies and advanced data analytics.  Findings obtained from this project will provide useful insights in proactive design and planning of cycling infrastructure.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Wednesday 31 August 2022.


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

  • Stipend of $28,900 per annum tax exempt (2022 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.
  • Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years.
  • Funding to support travel of PhD Student between Deakin University and Coventry University.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry university, including English language proficiency requirements
  • be able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia)

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 A/Prof 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 University) or  Dr William Payre (Coventry University)

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

Dr William Payre (Coventry University)
Email Dr William Payre