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Dr Katie Plant BSc, PhD


Dr Katie Plant

Dr Katie Plant is an Associated Professor within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I joined the University of Southampton in 2009 as a Research Assistant in the Human Factors Engineering team in the Transportation Research Group, part of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment. I have primarily worked on European Union funded aviation projects, including ALICIA (2009-2013) and i-VISION (2013-2016). These have involved the application of Human Factors methods to design and evaluate future flight deck technologies and aviation processes. Alongside my project work, I undertook a part-time PhD entitled ‘Investigations into Aeronautical Decision Making using the Perceptual Cycle Model’ (awarded 2015). This research explored pilot decision making processes, in both individuals and teams, during critical events. In 2014 this research was awarded The Honourable Company of Air Pilots Trust Award for aviation safety research. In 2015 I was appointed as a New Frontiers Fellow and a Lecturer in 2018, and continue to apply and develop Human Factors knowledge in safety-critical systems. I am particularly interested in understanding how the interaction of the environment we work in and the mental schema that we hold influence our actions and decision making processes. 

Research interests

Katie is interested in transport Human Factors, particularly in the aviation domain. Her current research involves:

  • Exploring helicopter pilot’s decision making processes when dealing with critical incidents
  • Applying Human Factors methods (including Cognitive Work Analysis, Hierarchal Task Analysis, Error analyses and Critical Path Analysis) to aviation procedures


Other research projects

i-Vision project -  Designing tools to support visualisation and analysis of pilot interactions with future cockpits

ALICIA - All Condition Operations and Innovative Cockpit Infrastructure



Research group

Transportation Group

Research project(s)

Applications of the Perceptual Cycle Model and Schema Theory to aeronautical decision making

Gaining a causal understanding of why operators make particular decisions is essential to advance our knowledge on aeronautical decision making and its potential impact on errors.

Open Flight Deck

Applying Human Factors principals and methodologies to design, model and evaluate new flight deck applications for integration into future commercial aircraft.

REASON: REsilient Autonomous SOcio-cyber-physical ageNts

This work is conducted as part of a large UKRI multi-disciplinary project into Trustworthy Autonomous Systems. Human Factors engineers in the Transportation Research Group focus on resilience within autonomous transport systems.

CRoss-modal Intervention To Improve Cyclist Awareness Levels (CRITICAL)

STARS: Sociotechnical Approach to Road Safety

Deputy Chair, Faculty Ethics Committee.

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Book Chapter



I am the module lead for FEEG3004: Human Factors in Engineering. This course provides an introduction to the elements of human factors and shows how the characteristics and capabilities of people can be taken into account to optimise the design of things used by people, the environments in which they live and work, and the organisation of systems.

The module helps students to develop an appreciation of Human Factors principles and how these have an impact in the design and evaluation process of simple and complex sociotechnical systems. The module combines theoretical analysis with practical applications to allow students to understand how Human Factors Engineering is used in the real world and takes advantage of the University’s substantial experience and expertise in Human Factors research. Specifically, I teach the introduction to the course, experimental design, Human Factors methods and Cognitive Human Factors (including decision making, error, communication, automation and situation awareness).

I also teach Human Factors related content the on the following modules:

CENV3065: Railway Engineering and Operations (Human Factors and Safety)
CENV6153: Transport Modelling (Human Factors Methods)

I supervise both undergraduate and postgraduate students on research projects relating to Human Factors, SocioTechnical Systems, and Accident Analysis.  Topics that I have supervised in the past include:


Systems Accident Analyses (in maritime and aviation domains)
Designing personalised augmented reality displays to aid handover in automated driving
Situation awareness compatibility in different users of the aviation system
Error analysis within the cargo aviation system


Systems Accident Analyses (in maritime and aviation domains)
Analysing informal rules of the road
Exploring why drivers choose to engage with technology when driving
Impact of belonging to a car club on out-of-work travel behavior
Eco-driving in China


Systems approach to driver distraction (sponsored by EPSRC/JaguarLandRover)
Safety Management in Air Traffic Control
Applying the Perceptual Cycle Model to design demographic-specific driving support
Training implications for drivers of automated vehicles (sponsored by IAM RoadSmart)

I will also consider supervising postgraduate research students on topics which relate to my main research interests.  Please contact me if you would like to discuss a potential project.



Dr Katie Plant
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number : 176/4059

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