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A sustainability analysis of airports

Airport expansion is often cited as a key enabler for commercial activity and national or regional economic prosperity, whether in the developed or developing nations. Demand for passenger and freight is increasing globally, but this conflicts with reducing our energy use in the transition to a lower-carbon future. So how is it possible to tell if business or production (or operation) site is becoming more or less sustainable? This is done using a set of benchmarks (indicators) to compare changes in the values of variables (metrics).

Using the Process Analysis Method (PAM) this project will generate a set of indicators and metrics grouped as environmental, economic, and human / social in accordance with the Bruntland report. The PAM is a flexible, transparent, robust, and data-driven approach to designing and developing indicator sets. Previously, the PAM has been used to examine the sustainability of cars, water processing, chemical production, and a river systems. The aim is to create a generic set of indicators applicable to any airport to allow comparisons, though it will be necessary to use a single nation as a case study.

Applicants will have or be expected to receive a first or upper‐second class honours degree in an Engineering, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or a similar discipline. A Postgraduate Masters degree is not required but may be an advantage. Experience in sustainability, transport, environmental management or energy systems is not essential, however it may be an advantage. In addition, applicants should be highly motivated, able to work in a team and independently, collaborate with others and have good communication skills.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.