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  Urban transportation challenges in Middle East: Impact on economic growth, and sustainability (Heriot Watt DUBAI campus)

   School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

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  Dr N Habib  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The successful candidate is expected to be based at Heriot Watt Dubai campus.

This research proposal is aligned with environmental sustainability. The research will look at the transportation challenges in the Middle East region comprising both developed and emerging economies. It will identify and provide the solution to the existing challenges in the above stated region. The project has its own uniqueness as the on-ground realties for each country is governed by the socio-economic stability, built up transportation infrastructure, public awareness, and environment challenges. One thing which is common amongst all government organizations and the policies, are progressing toward decarbonization in every sector. This research will explore the challenges in transport infrastructure (design & traffic volume) and its contribution to carbon footprint generation, challenges in adapting the decarbonization technologies, socio-economic behavior of public towards public ridership and impact of industrialization, urbanization, and population growth to sustainable environmental policies. Thus, the outreaching goal of this research will be “to explore sustainable polices considering the current transportation practices of specific regions of the middle east in relation to environmental quality and to identify the key factors which impact the ridership behavior”.

It is well known that transport sector is the major contributor to CO2 emission. Approximately one-fifth of global warming is caused by fossil fuel, consumed by transport sector. Despite improvement in traffic corridors, addition of improved modal transportation means, use of ITS to reduce traffic congestion, delays and fatal accidents, there are still blind corners in this sector like improper design, limited right of way etc., creates a huge impact on the country’s economy and to the environment. Thus, there is a need of comprehensive research to explore the relationship considering government policies between energy consumption by the transport sector to environmental degradation and commuting challenges.


This project is open to all students, whether home, EU or overseas.

The successful candidate will have at least an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate honours degree in the relevant subject area and ideally a Masters Degree. We may also consider candidates who can demonstrate appropriate alternative learning such as experience gained in the workplace or professional qualifications.

We recognise that not every talented researcher will have had the same opportunities to advance their careers. We therefore will account for any particular circumstances that applicants disclose (e.g. parental leave, caring duties, part-time jobs to support studies, disabilities etc.) to ensure an inclusive and fair recruitment process.  

How to Apply

To apply you must complete our online application form.

Please select PhD Construction as the programme and include the full project title, reference number and supervisor name on your application form. Ensure that all fields marked as ‘required’ are complete.

Once have entered your personal details, click submit. You will be asked to upload your supporting documents. You must complete the section marked project proposal; provide a supporting statement (1-2 A4 pages) documenting your reasons for applying to this particular project, outlining your suitability and how you would approach the project. You must also upload your CV, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and an academic reference in the relevant section of the application form.

You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0, or a TOEFL certificate with an overall score of at least 85, including reading 20, listening 19, speaking 20 and writing 21. Alternatively, if you have received an English-taught Bachelors or Masters degree from one of the countries listed on the UK Government Guidance under ‘Who does not need to prove their knowledge of English’, and it was obtained less than two years from your intended start date, you should provide evidence of your award that clearly states it was delivered and assessed in English language.

The primary supervisor for this project is Noor Habib. Please contact [Email Address Removed] for further information or an informal discussion.

Please contact [Email Address Removed] for technical support with your application.


The closing date for applications is 22 March 2024 and applicants must be available to start in September 2024.

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13) Geography (17)

Funding Notes

This is a fee waiver scholarship which will cover tuition fees (Home and Overseas) only for the initial 42 months of the project.
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