Developing an innovative digital solution enabling a deeper understanding of visitor behaviour.

About the Project:

The Research Aim is to develop a digital platform which will enable the use of sector-based algorithms to allow Cumbria Tourism to more accurately study, profile and predict customer behaviour with the intention of enhancing their offer to new and existing members.

Cumbria Tourism’s mission is to create a world class visitor experience through effective marketing, proactive sustainable tourism development and relevant industry services.

Applicants are invited from those who can work across business and social science academic disciplines within the context of the visitor economy.  Applicants will need to have worked with current SPSS packages and/or other statistical software, and be cognisant with the debates surrounding inclusivity, business continuity and sustainability. Ideally, applicants have appropriate knowledge of visitor attractions management and the challenges of managing a cultural and heritage tourism offer in a highly competitive tourism destination such as The Lake District.

This project will explore three main work-packages as set out below and will result in a report for Cumbria Tourism at the end of Year 1 on findings:

  • Identify how to replace broad person-based demographics (gender/age/generation x etc) by using the concept of personality trait/identity; to be applied within the service sector, initially within the Cumbria Tourism membership area.
  • Produce algorithms based upon motivations as personality traits
  • Identify how to build capacity in the areas of advanced data analysis using Structural Equation Modelling path analysis and confirmatory factor analysis.

Supervision Team:

  • Principal Lecturer Dr Angela Anthonisz, and Senior Lecturer Tim Heap, Institute of Industry, Business and Leadership, University of Cumbria.


  • Full-time PhD
  • Projected length three years
  • Annual stipend of £15,609 (tax-free)
  • Annual expenses allowance (subject to eligibility of costs)
  • Funded UK/EU tuition fees
  • The first year of research is funded through the European Regional Development Fund – Cumbria Innovations Platform II Further funding to support continuing study will potentially be available from the University subject to satisfactory completion of Year 1.
  • Join a cohort of student researchers working on industry-led innovation projects
  • Work alongside a leading industry partner (Cumbria Tourism)
  • This project is based at the University of Cumbria, Ambleside Campus, in the heart of the Lake District, where our Visitor Economy community of practice is centred. We are the only University campus in the UK located in both a designated National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas.


How to Apply:

Please email the below documents to:

  • Applications from UK/EU students only
  • Application Form
  • PhD Research Proposal
  • PDF scanned copies of certificates & transcripts (list of degree module grades achieved) for all completed undergraduate & postgraduate degrees


Application deadline: Sunday 10th October 2021 at 23:59

Interview date: Thursday 14th October 2021

Start date:  1st November 2021


Please download the Application Form and guidance for writing a Research Proposal here:

Application Form PhD MPhil 2021-22

Preparing your Research Proposal


To find out more about undertaking a Research PhD at the University of Cumbria, please go to:

PhD Structure:

Within the Institute, the studentship addresses the objectives to encourage dialogue and creating a safe space for addressing contested issues through critical and artistic research. Through critical action-based research, the project will increase understanding of ecological, social and economic processes and change within a protected landscape. Specifically, it will shape new methodologies for encouraging knowledge-sharing between different communities within a shared landscape.

Encouraging dialogue within and between communities, considering both physical and ideological dynamics in a way that offers safety to discuss sensitive or contested issues. The transdisciplinary approach to environmental change and emphasis on multi-species experience of changing landscapes is well aligned to the research strategy of the university's Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas.

Through participatory research and a programme of engagement, this PhD will work in partnership with communities, supporting change benefitting people and place.


Postgraduate Study at the University of Cumbria:

The successful applicant will be based at the university’s Ambleside campus in the Lake District. A blended learning approach with research undertaken on campus and off will be possible. The applicant will have access to designated postgraduate study spaces and library resources at Ambleside and the other University of Cumbria campuses in Lancaster and Carlisle.

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