Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)



Sharif S Mohammad

Country: Saudi Arabia

Name: Said Munir

Company: Hajj Research Institute, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah

Position: Assistant Professor in Air Pollution Modelling

ITS Course: PhD Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Traffic-Related Ground Level Ozone, 2013

I am currently working on air quality related issues in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. I am mainly using statistical and dispersion modelling techniques to analyse air pollutants, traffic and meteorological data. The main aim is to identify the main sources of air pollutants, quantify their contribution (particularly the contribution of road traffic), and prepare an effective air quality management plan.  Here in this Arid Region, little work is done regarding the role and contribution of road traffic to the observed air pollutants concentration, therefore it is interesting for me to use my skills obtained during my PhD studies at ITS and characterise air quality and its association with road traffic.

I originally attended an international conference on air pollution in Malta and participants had come from all over the world. After my presentation, I had the opportunity to mingle with others and talk about our research interests, and of course to share some general personal and social interests. I met the Dean of the Institute I am working for who introduced himself and said that he was looking for someone with experience in air quality modelling. He asked me whether I would be interested in working in Makkah. I told him that I would love to but the problem was my PhD was not complete yet. He said that finalising the job description, getting the visa and re-location etc. would give me enough time to submit my thesis. He was right, it took almost a year before I got my visa and travel documents.

The courses offered by ITS are targeted at the most important current issues, e.g., rapid urbanisation, transport related issues, environmental sciences, sustainable development, etc. Because of the growing demands for these courses students are attracted from all over the world and I was one of them who had the opportunity to study at ITS, which helped me develop my career and to secure a good job without waiting for long. The skills obtained at ITS not only helped me secure my current job but is helping me in my day to day duties and developing my career further.    

After the completion of my MSc Degree, I was looking for a University that offered a PhD in Air Quality related issues. ITS, University of Leeds was one of my choices as they offered what I was looking for, however I found ITS a step ahead of other universities in terms of their communication with me and directing me to the right course and the right supervisor. Choosing the right course and the right university could be a challenging step without proper guidance. However, once I applied to ITS they helped me through the application process, securing funding for my PhD and relocating to Leeds. I have to say that in addition to offering the course of my choice, ITS helped me in making my decision easier for me, a decision I never regretted.

The demand for the courses such as transport modelling, planning, economics, geography, management, environment and sustainability, which are offered by ITS are growing with a growing population and growing urbanisation. Furthermore, ITS has the experienced staff and facilities to train you in these fields and prepare you for the real world challenges. I chose ITS and I am very happy with my decision and based on my experience I am sure you will not be disappointed if you also decided to study at ITS. Good luck!