Aya's PhD is funded by the (Faculty for the Future) scholarship. It is a scholarship awarded by the Schlumberger Foundation to outstanding women from developing economies to pursue their PhD in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in a world leading university. Although Aya's main education is in urban planning and design which is usually categorized as social science rather than a STEM field, she has been awarded the scholarship for her interest in using Technology to address urban planning issues in a novel way.
Her PhD research poses the question: how can technology be used to develop a Support System (NSS) for urban planning? To answer this question, Aya is designing a computer model (software) to simulate negotiations between urban stakeholders such that it can be used for conducting experiments to train and prepare before actual negotiations. She is focusing on negotiations of developer contributions, specifically Section 106 negotiations on affordable housing in England.
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).