|Location:||Loughborough University, Loughborough|
|Funding for:||UK Students|
|Funding amount:||Funded by Network Rail and Loughborough University, the studentship is for 3 years, covers UK tuition fees and provides a tax-free stipend of £17,668 per annum. Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is only open to UK applicants.|
|Placed On:||1st February 2023|
|Closes:||16th February 2023|
The railway industry prides itself on its history and has a huge regard for its safety record. Its culture (if it can be said to have a homogeneous culture) is risk averse, experience driven and operationally focused. It delights in and rewards itself for detecting and correcting, for restoration and repair. Anticipation and prevention are not recognised as being valuable in the same way, it does not reward people for the bad things that do not happen. It will be all very well to develop means of making reliable decisions using incomplete data, to be able to learn and adapt in real time but only if a culture, system, process can be generated in which the value of prevention is recognised – at individual, team, business unit, regional and whole railway levels. It will be critical to the delivery of the Seasonally Agnostic Railway that the recommendations, ideas and proposals that emerge from the application of the models are responded to positively.
This research inquiry will need to consider the ways and means by which that can be achieved in an organisation which is highly distributed, where regions have significant local autonomy and where positional power and functional expertise are the dominant forces in decision making. The industry displays high aversion to change based on understanding of risk, a challenge will be to explore and resolve some of that.
A particular feature of the transition that will be required will be for the people who give life to the railway to develop trust and faith in the digital decision support systems which will enable both near real-time operational management systems and predictive, preventative systems.
Scope of this research
The focus of this studentship will be to explore the current culture of ‘the railway’ in regard to decision making and risk assessment in relation to weather events and consider what steps need to be taken to enable the transition outlined. It is anticipated that the scope will cover (not exhaustively), the limits to trust in digital decision support tools, the barriers to capture and utilization of knowledge that is currently tacit, the public role of the railway (and in particular the cost and value of data in relation to railway performance), the use of language (in particular the use of emotional language in reporting and decision making), timeliness in data provision for decision, how the railway learns from its experience through reflective practice including awareness of bias. It is expected that a novel process for developing critical weather event related decisions will be required and may emerge from the research.
Primary supervisor/CDT lead: Prof Tom Jackson
Secondary supervisors: Prof Peter Kawalek, Prof John Beckford
UK applicants only.
Candidates need to show in their application an ability equivalent to a 1st or 2:1 honours degree, or a postgraduate master’s with distinction in computer science, information management, engineering, social sciences, or a related discipline.
Applications are welcomed from candidates who have taken a non-traditional route, for example those who may have spent time in industry and are looking to return to education.
How to apply
All applications should be made online.
Please see our website for details on how to apply, including minimum supporting documents.
Application deadline: 16 February 2023
Start date: April 2023
Call: +44 (0)1509 635666
Type / Role: