Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Supervision and Training

Our research students are supervised by staff who are not only at the forefront of academic research, but also have widespread practical experience in consultancy and as advisers to prominent national and international organisations. Our students benefit directly from this applied expertise and receive research training of the highest standard.

All students are allocated a supervision team to provide academic support and to guide them towards the completion of their research thesis. This is normally one lead supervisor plus a second supervisor (where appropriate, the second supervisor may come from another academic department or from outside the University of Leeds), both of whom will have specialist subject knowledge.

Supervision meetings are scheduled at regular intervals and this is supported by meetings with the Postgraduate Research Tutor and/or the Director of ITS to review progress. Students also benefit from working alongside fellow researchers within a vibrant research environment. A typical timeline for completion is provided on the PhD structure page.

As postgraduate research study can commence at any time of year, we place particular emphasis on providing a structured induction process - to provide students with an understanding of the academic and social environment in which they will be working. Following on from the pre-arrival support, an individual induction plan is devised for each new student, which includes:

  • Meeting with the Postgraduate Research Administrator
  • Meeting with the Postgraduate Research Tutor
  • Health and Safety Induction
  • Opportunity to meet with Postgraduate Research Student Representatives
  • Introduction to available facilities
  • Provision of ITS Postgraduate Research Handbook
  • Membership of relevant research group
  • Those who begin their studies in September/October will be invited to attend a programme of induction events to cover all of these elements 

Our approach to skills training recognises the diverse backgrounds and experience of our research students, as well as on practical considerations such as the flexible start date. So, rather than a single programme of courses compulsory for all, our model is of a bespoke plan tailored to the individual needs. Each student is asked to produce and submit a personal training plan within their first two weeks, based on consultations with their supervisors. Students and supervisors are expected to regularly review this plan (including a formal review at upgrade), in order to identify any new needs and appropriate methods for meeting these needs. 

There are a wide range of training opportunities offered by the University, which the student and supervisors can consider when devising the personal training plan. The university runs courses and workshops designed to help all PGRs by providing guidance and training based on your needs. The programme is continually updated on the SDDU web page. The Faculty of Environment also offers courses and the ITS research students’ web-page has advice on training, as well as hyperlinks to many sites where more details of courses may be found. 

There is the opportunity to attend Masters modules where relevant, and ITS also runs a series of internal and external seminars which research students are welcome to attend. 

ITS is part of the White Rose Social Science Doctoral Training Centre (WR DTC), of which the University of Leeds is a member together with the universities of Sheffield and York. The DTC offers a comprehensive collaborative training programme which can be accessed by all social science PhD researchers at the three universities. Besides training, the WR DTC aims to facilitate networking and collaboration across the social sciences and across the three institutions.

All PhD students in ITS receive some funding to enable them to attend external courses and conferences. Students are particularly encouraged to attend and present a paper at the national academic conference organised by the Universities' Transport Study Group (UTSG), which takes place each January and requires abstracts to be submitted around six months in advance.

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