PhD position on nighttime driving (ESR 11)

3-year full-time PhD position at University of Sheffield, UK

Nighttime driving. We will investigate how lighting conditions affect drivers ability to detect and identify hazards, such as pedestrians, through the influence of light level and light spectrum on the visibility, conspicuity and alertness. This is likely to involve laboratory experiments, field study, and analyses of RTC data. The research will be conducted under the supervision of Professor Steve Fotios within the Lighting Research Group at Sheffield University. We have planned secondments with Manchester University and Signify.

It is expected that the postholder, who will register as a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield, will complete their PhD studies alongside their research work within three years.

The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield

The Faculty of Social Sciences is a large diverse grouping of thirteen departments that offer professional education alongside more traditional social science disciplines. This rich disciplinary mix encompasses both world leading academic research and research-led education. It is uniquely positioned amongst Sheffield’s peer institutions.

Applications are invited for two three-year Early Stage Researcher pre-doctoral positions as part of the European Training Network under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions framework, See this page for the other LIGHTCAP vacancy at the University of Sheffield.

The successful individuals will be employed as salaried researchers at the University of Sheffield, while studying towards his/her PhD. There are strict eligibility requirements for these posts, which are described below.

The research programme

LightCAP: LIGHT, Cognition, Attention, Perception

The LightCAP project is a European Training Network under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions framework. LIGHTCAP aims to provide a strong, innovative and necessary impulse to our insights in the intricate and complex relationships between light, perception, attention and cognition.

In LightCAP, 15 early stage researchers will be trained in a joint programme between 7 academic European partners:

  • The Human-Technology Interaction group and the Building Lighting group at Eindhoven University of Technology;
  • the Centre for Biological Timing at the University of Manchester;
  • the Lighting Research Group of the University of Sheffield;
  • the GIGA-Cyclontron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging of the University of Liège;
  • the Centre for Chronobiology of the University of Basel;
  • the Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); and
  • the Lighting Technology group of the Technical University of Berlin.

These groups will be working together intensively with each other and with the solid consortium of industrial and medical partners through secondments (research visits), consortium meetings and a joint training programme.

All early-stage researchers in the MSCA-ITN programme must meet the following eligibility and mobility requirements:


ITN offers funding for early-stage researchers only. To be eligible for recruitment within an ITN project, you therefore must – at the date of recruitment – be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree.


The MSCA are a researcher mobility programme. You are therefore required to undertake transnational mobility in order to be eligible for recruitment in an ITN project. As such, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the country where you have been recruited (in this case, the United Kingdom) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before your start date.

Person Specification

You should provide evidence in your application that you meet the following criteria. We will use a range of selection methods to measure your abilities in these areas including reviewing your online application, seeking references, inviting shortlisted candidates to interview and other forms of assessment action relevant to the post.

About the Team

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirmed the School’s position as a world- class centre for architectural research. In a joint submission with our colleagues in the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Department of Town and Regional Planning, we are proud to have achieved 4th place overall by subject within a very close score with the first 3, in the subject area of Architecture, Built environment and Planning. 48% of our research was assessed as 4*, representing world-leading quality and outstanding impact, and 37% was rated 3* (Internationally excellent). As a School we have consistently been rated in the last two decades in the top 5 for research in the UK.

Research is currently carried out in three research groups: Space, Cultures and Politics; Design, Engagement and Practice; People, Environments and Performance. Each group brings together academic staff, researchers and postgraduate research students within common areas of interest. In addition, the School develops world class practice-based research within the work of staff and students through collaborative leadership and collegiate support. We have the first academic ‘Urban Room’ in the UK, via our LiveWorks, project which encourages engaged research in the community.

The Sheffield School of Architecture is a large, lively and diverse School with a strong social and ethical tradition, as befits a School within a Faculty of Social Sciences. The School has a strong reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching (joint first in the UK National Student Survey 2016). The Architect’s Journal Top 100 Survey rates us as one of the best UK Schools outside London, and we are the only School consistently within the top five as ranked across all the main UK league tables.

The postholders will join a team of 4 existing researchers, including academic staff, in the Lighting Research Group in the School of Architecture, under the guidance of the Group’s Director, Professor Steve Fotios.

Job Description

1.Contribute to the design and setting up of a scale model experiment to investigate how changes in lighting affect the ability to detect hazards. 2.Conduct experimental trials involving human test participants. 3.Accurately record and analyse data to produce useful findings for other academics, funders, policy makers and practitioners. 4.Conduct statistical analysis of the results. 5.Develop his/her scientific background, specialist knowledge and scientific contacts. 6.Participate in project meetings. 7.Write up the findings for conference presentations and journal articles. 8.Read academic papers, journals and textbooks and attend research seminars to keep abreast of developments in the field 9.Work as part of a team with other PhD students in lighting research. \\*10.\\*You will make a full and active contribution to the principles of the ‘Sheffield Academic’. These include the achievement of excellence in applied teaching and research, and scholarly pursuits to make a genuine difference in the subject area and to the University’s achievements as a whole. Further information on the underpinning values of the Sheffield Academic can be found at:\\[Sheffield Academic.]( 11.As a member of staff, you will be encouraged to make ethical decisions in your role, embedding the University sustainability strategy into your working activities wherever possible. 12.Any other duties, commensurate with the grade of the post.

Reward Package

Terms and conditions of employment:Will be those for Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers.

Salary for this grade:The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with

the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) regulations for early stage researchers.

Pre-determined Basic gross rates include a living allowance (€3270 per month, to which a 139.8%

correction factor for the UK will be applied), a mobility allowance (€600 per month) and a family

allowance (€500, if applicable). The exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment, and will

depend on exchange rate.

ESRs will also get access to funds covering Research, Networking and Training costs. ESRs will

also be enrolled for PhD studies at institutions which are part of the consortium. Funding will

cover the entire 36-month period.

In addition to individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education,

which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable

skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

These posts are fixed-term with a start date of 1stJune 2020 and an end date of 31stMay 2023.

This post is full-time:

This role has been identified as a full-time post, but we are committed to exploring flexible working opportunities with our staff which benefit both the individual and the University ( Therefore, we would consider flexible delivery of the role subject to meeting the business needs of the post. If you wish to explore flexible working opportunities in relation to this post, we encourage you to call or email the departmental contact listed below.

The Deal

If you join the University you will have access to a Total Reward Package that includes a competitive salary, a generous Pension Scheme and annual leave entitlement, as well as access to a range of learning and development courses to support your personal and professional development. You will have access to your own personalised portal where you can also access a comprehensive selection of benefits and offers to suit your changing lifestyle needs, for example financial wellbeing, travel options, shopping and cinema discounts.

To find out more

The University is committed to tackling the global climate emergency. Our sustainability strategy forms an integral part of all we do. We strive to embed this in all areas of university life, from our students’ education, the globally impacting international research we contribute, to campus life.

We aim to empower staff to work sustainably by giving them the knowledge to make ethical decisions at work and home. Staff have the opportunity to be involved in impactful sustainability projects through the nationally recognised Green Impact scheme.

Staff have access to excellent green benefits including the cycle to work scheme with discounts and free secure bike storage, as well as many greener choices across campus.

If you have an interest in this area, the university will strive to passionately support you in these commitments. Check more information.


We are committed to making the University a remarkable place to work and we support this through a number of sector leading services such as Juice.

Our innovative Health and Wellbeing service, Juice, encourages and supports staff to maintain their own positive health and wellbeing through a broad range of inclusive services and activities.

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Our leadership development has been designed to ensure that our leaders have the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed by the University.

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We are proud of our award-winning equality, diversity and inclusion action, and 90% of staff tell us they are treated with fairness and respect (staff survey 2018). Wecontinue working to create a fully inclusive environment where everyone can flourish.

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We are the only university to feature in the Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit organisations to work for 2018. In our staff survey (2018) 92% of staff said they were proud to work for the University and 83% of our staff would recommend the University as an excellent place to work. To find out more about what it’s like to work here

Selection – Next Steps

Applications must include the following:

Cover letter including a description of why you are qualified to work on the project, based on

past experience in studies and work, and how would you approach the project(s) (maximum 1


Full CV;

Copies of certificates;

Language qualifications (necessary if applying for projects at institutions which have formal

requirements for demonstrating language knowledge)

Closing date:For details of the closing date please view this post on our web pages

Following the closing date, we will contact you by email to let you know whether or not you have been shortlisted to participate in the next stage of the selection process. Please note that due to the large number of applications that we receive, it may take up to two working weeksfollowing the closing date before the recruiting department will be able to contact you.

It is anticipated that interviews and other selection action will be held in early April 2020. Full details will be provided to invited candidates.

For more information on our application and recruitment processes

Informal enquiries

For informal enquiries about this job and the recruiting department, contact: Professor Steve Fotios, Head of Lighting Research Group, on or on + 44 114 222 0371.

For administration queries and details on the application process, contact the lead recruiter: Leigh Brown on

For all online application system queries and support, visit:

Creating a remarkable place to work

We build teams of people from different heritages and lifestyles from across the world, whose talent and contributions complement each other to greatest effect. We believe diversity in all its forms delivers greater impact through research, teaching and student experience.

We are consistently ranked in the top 100 of the world’s universities, but there’s so much more to us than that. By joining the University, you will be joining award-winning teams and departments who are all working together to make the University of Sheffield a remarkable place to work.

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