About the Project
This is an exciting PhD opportunity to work on a highly innovative project for trajectory optimisation of drone operations to minimise noise impact on exposed communities, at the Acoustics Research Centre (University of Salford).
As member of a large consortium, including world-leading academic and industry partners, your PhD research will contribute directly to the Reducing Environmental Footprint Through Transformative Multi-Scale Aviation Planning (REFMAP) project. Funded by Horizon Europe, REFMAP will quantify the environmental footprints of drones at a “multi-scale” level where single-trajectories (micro) and the flow traffic of multiple vehicles (macro) are optimised to minimise the environmental impact.
The specific focus of this PhD will be the development of psychoacoustic models to improve the assessment and perceptual modelling of drone noise. This will include comprehensive psychoacoustic testing for an in-depth understanding of drone noise perception (i.e., noticeability and annoyance) under different acoustic and non-acoustic context. Moreover, building upon capabilities developed at the Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre, Virtual Reality and spatial audio techniques will be implemented to simulate highly immersive scenarios of drone operations in urban environments. This will be used to unravel the complex audio-visual interactions in drone noise perception. The focus will be to define targets for public acceptance of drone noise.
Applicants must have a degree (2:1 minimum) and/or master’s qualification in acoustics, engineering, or physics (or related discipline). To carry out the proposed research and deliver the expected research outcomes, the candidate will need to demonstrate or develop knowledge and understanding of: Acoustics, Psychoacoustics, Human Response to Noise, Digital Signal Processing, and Design of Experiments. Previous experience on statistics, programming, and audio engineering would be desirable, although non-essential. In any case, the candidate will have to be keen to learn new methods or techniques. The candidate will be expected to disseminate their research both to their academic peers and the general public.
The Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre is one of the largest acoustics groups in Europe. The Acoustics Research Centre has state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to conduct psychoacoustics research. This includes a series of listening rooms designed for specialised critical listening, with acoustic treatment to ensure compliance with ITU standards. These listening rooms are optimised for listening tests on loudspeakers to BS 6840-13 / IEC 268-13, and is equipped with state-of-the-art multi-channel spatial audio systems such as ITU standard layouts and Ambisonic reproduction setups, and augmented and virtual reality systems.
The lead academic supervisor Dr Antonio Torija Martinez is a leading expert in psychoacoustic methods for novel aerial vehicles. He is also a member of the NASA Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Noise Working Group, and an expert contributor to the NASA white paper on UAM noise.
This PhD studentship is fully-funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee [grant number 10061935] and includes:
- An international fee waiver
- Bench fees and access to all equipment and facilities of Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre.
- UKRI stipend (although this could be negotiated depending on experience)
- Travel and subsistence: Project meetings, national/international conferences, field work.
Final date for applications: 31st January 2023
Interviews will be held during February 2023 TBC
The candidate must be in a position to register by May 2023