UCL Energy Institute


Fully funded PhD studentship on behaviour and aviation policy outcomes

20 December 2022

Applications are now open for a proposed studentship 'The impact of fare and passenger heterogeneity on airline behaviour and aviation policy outcomes', as part of 60 studentships to be awarded by the UCL EPSRC DTP.


About the project

Project title: The impact of fare and passenger heterogeneity on airline behaviour and aviation policy outcomes
Project supervisors: Professor Andreas SchaferDr Khan DoymeDr Lynnette Dray
Project ID: 2228bd1097 (You will need this ID for your application)

Mitigating CO2 emissions from air transportation will lead to the largest transformation the aviation sector has experienced since the introduction of the jet engine 70 years ago. To absorb the costs of this transition, airfares will need to increase over current levels. 

Passengers in different ticket classes and with different trip purposes respond differently to such increase in fare. In addition, because upper class passengers subsidise those travelling in economy class, a sensible decline in upper class passengers would lead to an even more drastic increase in the economy class fare, which, in turn, would depress air transportation demand more strongly and thus reduce the required amount of low-carbon fuels. 

The UCL Air Transportation Systems Laboratory (ATSlab.org), a leading research unit in modelling the aviation ecosystem, has been developing a unique Airline Behaviour Model, that simulates how individual airlines maximize their profits within their network in a competitive environment. The objective of this PhD will be to develop models within the Airline Behaviour Model framework to distinguish between the behaviour of different types of passengers (business, leisure) and fare classes (economy and upper class), and to analyse how these distinctions affect aviation decarbonization policy outcomes.  

Applicants must have a master’s degree in mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, economics, or a similar discipline.  We are looking for a creative PhD student with strong quantitative skills, an interest in working on problems across disciplines, and proficiency in programming languages.  The successful candidate will be embedded within a team of leading researchers and academics at UCL, working closely with key stakeholders from academia, government, and industry.

About the Supervisory Team

Andreas W. Schafer, Professor of Energy and Transport, Director of Air Transportation Systems Laboratory (ATSLab.org). Previously with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Cambridge. Advisory roles include the UK Airports Commission, the Aerospace Technology Institute, the Industrial Strategy Challenge on Future Flight, World Economic Forum, among others. More than 100 invited presentations, worldwide. Schäfer holds a MSc in Aerospace Engineering and a PhD in Energy Systems Analysis / Energy Economics, both from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Dr Khan Doyme, Senior Research Fellow at UCL Energy Institute. Leading expert in aviation systems modelling, lead developer of the Airline Behaviour Model. Doyme holds a Master's in Mathematics from University of Cambridge and a PhD in Mathematics and Physics from Imperial College London. 

Dr Lynnette Dray, Principal Research Fellow at UCL Energy Institute. Previously with the University of Cambridge. Leading expert in aviation systems modelling, lead developer of the open-source Aviation Integrated Model. Dray holds a Master's in Natural Sciences and PhD in Astrophysics, both from the University of Cambridge.

Key information

Funder: UCL ESPRC DTP studentship
Value: Fees, Stipend (at least £20,668 per year), Research Training Support Grant
Duration: Up to 4 years (thesis to be submitted within funded period)
Eligible Fee Status: Home, International (EPSRC caps the total number of funded International fee status students across UCL for this award at 30%)
Study Mode: Full or Part time (at least 50% FTE) [Note: Part time is not available to International students]
Primary Selection Criteria: Academic merit
Project ID: 2228bd1097 (You will need this ID for your application)
Application Deadline: 12:00 on 26 January 2023

How to apply

This PhD Studentship topic is one of 19 proposed by The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources to a competition for approximately 60 studentships that will be awarded across UCL as part of the UCL EPSRC DTP. Prospective students are welcome to apply for up to 5 potential studentships - see the full list of projects from our department and the UCL project database for a comprehensive list across the university. The 60 successful proposals will be chosen following applicant interviews.

Before applying, all applicants must read the full eligibility criteria and application guidance on the UCL EPSRC DTP website. There is a 3-part application process, with a deadline of the 26 January 2023 to complete the third part of the application.