Motability Foundation Grants PhD Scholarships for Accessible Transport Research

THE Motability Foundation is awarding PhD Scholarship grants to three doctoral candidates, with lived experience of disability, to undertake research into accessible transport. The studies will take place at UCL, Newcastle University and the University of Westminster.

Following a Pilot Scholarship Programme at Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre (NTDC), the Foundation is extending the programme to include more universities and to expand the scope of the programme. The research areas now include accessible transport policy and practice, alongside transport design.

The new doctoral studies will explore the use of augmented reality in mobile navigation for those with visual impairments, and develop design practice to create policy and guidance for accessible travel spaces.

With students across four universities, Motability Foundation will look to create a peer network to provide students with mutual support, as well as opportunities for knowledge exchange, mentoring and connections with industry stakeholders.

Rachael Badger, Director of Performance and Innovation at the Motability Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to be awarding grants through our PhD Scholarship Programme to support more disabled people to use their lived experience to undertake research into transport design, policy and practice.

“Research led by disabled people, with an understanding of the complex issues faced in travel, is key to finding accessible transport solutions.”

In 2021, the Motability Foundation began its Pilot Scholarship Programme to research accessible transport design at the NTDC, based at Coventry University. These scholarships offered doctoral candidates the opportunity to work on complex transport issues, directly relevant to their own experience.

Stephanie, a doctoral candidate at Coventry University, has shared her experience of taking part in the Pilot Scholarship Programme:

“Working on a research topic that is really close to my heart and having relevant lived experience means I have a natural interest and passion in the work I’m doing, and so it is easier for me to grow professionally as a researcher and advocate.”

The Pilot Scholarship Programme currently supports three PhD students at Coventry University, who are researching rail travel and aviation.

To keep up to date with the PhD Scholarship Programme and future funding opportunities, please visit: