Aya pursues her PhD under the (Faculty for the Future) scholarship. It is a scholarship awarded by the Schlumberger Foundation to women from developing economies to pursue their PhD in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in a world leading university.
Her PhD research integrates between urban planning and compuational technologies. She aims at developing a multi-agent model which simulates how city residents and decision-makers can negotiate different policies and resources while planning the city. The novelty of this model is that it will simulate argument-based negotiations by creating intelligent agents that can argue, reason and persuade others. Current models of urban negotiations have assumed that agents are fixed in their objectives and positions which is not usually case in real negotiations, especially in strategic planning.
Before coming to Manchester, Aya obtained a BSc in Architectural Engineering from Alexandria University, majoring in Urban Design. She graduated at the top of her class and was subsequently employed as a Teaching Assistant supporting classes in geographical information systems (GIS) and related areas of urban planning. In 2016 she gained an MSc in the same subject and was promoted to the position of Assistant Lecturer. Her MSc thesis focused on how urban policies have caused socio-economic division in areas of Cairo, the capital city of Egypt. She continued to research this topic after her studies and has concluded that technology and simulation tools could be integrated to improve urban planning and decision-making process in her country. This has inspired her to propose the topic that she is working on in her PhD. Besides her academic studies, Aya has worked on the design of a number of urban planning projects in Egypt. She has also participated in the national project (Egypt without Slums).