These two MScs - fast pace partition driven, not theoretical – are supported by Cranfield University Urban Turbine and participating industry partners Salzburg, Manchester, Virgin Atlantic, AirPortr and Copenhagen Optimization.
This studentship will be covering £9,000 towards your tuition fee for one year. The candidate would be expected to cover for their own living costs (TBC).
The applicant will engage with airport processes extending off-airport and supervised by CATM and C4D
Focus of MSC student 1 will on skill set Algorithms, MSc 2 on visually communicating data and new airport processes revealed by the research, both working close together.
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Growing global population, increased requirement for mobility and limited spatial resources create challenges for airport operators and municipalities managing flows of people and goods. Fundamental structural changes are inevitable. Thoughtful consideration of resources and environmental impact demand a new paradigm of integrated strategic airport, infrastructure and urban planning, along with new, corresponding business strategies.

The Urban Turbine Research Project provides an unprecedented platform to address these challenges in a holistic way by engaging stakeholders from across the aviation industry and municipalities developing and testing ideas transforming infrastructure into a commercially orientated, environmentally friendly and socially sustainable operation.

The project is aiming to synchronising the seamless travel experience into day-to-day life, potentially identifying new infrastructure typologies and associated business models.

The Urban Turbine Research Project is scheduled for a period over 3 years. Research cycle#1 – duration of one year - is aiming to map and analyse current processes on airport land and identify opportunities along the journey of passengers and other airport users off-airport. Students are to measure the efficiency of processes and facilities with the aim to identify improvements. Those results are to be assessed and discussed with airport operators and urban municipalities and other potential stakeholders. As to engage those organisations the data gained from this research are to be processed and presented visually invitingly.

The MSc research student will focus of building algorithms and establish the research result.

A second MSc research student will focus on the visual communication of the data and communicate them for new business strategies from potential opportunities identified by the Urban Turbine Research Project research cycle#1, the Passenger Processing along the journey.

Cranfield University is creating leaders in technology and management, unlocking the potential of people and organisations by partnering with business and governments to deliver transformational research, postgraduate education and professional development and how these work together to benefit the world.

The Urban Turbine Research Project is investigating the possibilities of sharing facilities for the greatest mutual benefit of airports and cities, manage better demand and capacity and respond to new global travel, life and work requirements.

The pool funded industry consortium has been formed including academics, consultants and leading innovative industry partners to establish solutions for airports in general as well as for single airports within the Cranfield laboratories and partner studios.

The Urban Turbine Research Project has its home in the CityBoardingLab in the new DARTeC facility and is therefore part of a globally unique interdisciplinary collaboration between Air Transport Management , Aerospace Integration, Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems, Competitive Creative Design and Computational Engineering Sciences.

Students are to assess today’s movement of passengers and other airport users on airport and outside the airport boundary. Upon structural assessment of these processes at 4 specific airports (Salzburg, Manchester, Mumbai and Riga) students are to identify opportunities for an improved and more efficient airport operation infrastructure.

The MSc student is to develop models and algorithms following the assessment process and quantifying critical mass for new off-airport services including baggage, security and retail to be implemented into the urban and regional context. This includes geographic locations relevant for airport processes outside the airport, travel patterns of passengers and airport staff and organisations, potentially engaged in hybrid airport and every day activities.

A second MSc student is to turn the proposed new airport processes into digestible and visually appealing graphics and models for airport operators, municipalities and third party service providers to consider as potentially new services addressing the airport efficiency as well as quality of life and overarching aspects of sustainable travel and circular economy.

The Urban Turbine Research Project is a unique platform for students academics, airport operators, industry experts and to be actively involved in one of the most exciting and relevant contemporary research areas - transforming airports into better connected, more efficient and attractive destinations. Local residence at several of participating airports will not only allow students to directly interact with airport operators in the UK and overseas but also get valuable experience for the research and for life.

The research results will be published and students can establish themselves as research ambassadors, impacting the next generation of airport planning, design and management.

Students will gain valuable insights of forward looking airport experts from both academia and industry as well as IATA and ACI - leading industry trade organisations. Students will learn how to interact with different stakeholders in the research process and learn to communicate complex processes to various user groups. Airports, Airlines and third party service providers and consultants are eager to engage with this topic as recently confirmed at the Urban Turbine Research Project Funding workshop in Cranfield by Matt Mullen, Passenger Environment Manager at London Luton Airport:

"This week I visited Cranfield University to help kick-start one of the most comprehensive foundation research projects into the physical and digital airport infrastructure. Industry colleagues from all over the world attended, airports from Heathrow, Riga International Airport, Denver International Airport and Mumbai International Airport Limited (CSMIA) to Jacobs, WSP and Mott MacDonald, all brought together by Henrik Rothe and the team at Cranfield."

Artūrs Saveljevs, Member of the Board / Director of Commercial Department at Riga International Airport stated:

"Many thanks to Henrik Rothe and his team for inviting me to attend the UrbanTurbine research project kick-off meeting yesterday. I think that this project shows great potential of a successful collaboration between academic researchers of Cranfield University and the airport/airline industry professionals in solving a real-life questions such as improving the passenger and baggage processes. Really enjoyed the discussion on the futuristic vision of baggage free passenger terminals".

At a glance

  • Application deadline15 Jun 2020
  • Award type(s)MSc by Research
  • Start dateAs soon as possible
  • Duration of award1 year (2 years if preferred)
  • EligibilityUK, EU, Rest of World
  • Reference numberSATM157

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in Air Transport Management, Urban Planning or Logistics.


To be eligible for this funding, applicants must not be a UK national. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals). Due to funding restrictions all EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have “settled status” in the UK.

About the sponsor

Sponsored by Airports funding the Urban Turbine Research Project and the Centre for Design (C4D)

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For more information, please contact:

Centre for Air Transport Management

Name: Henrik Rothe
07930 328 990

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form