Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research

Staff Profile

Dr Tom Zunder

Principal Research Associate


I am a knowledgeable academic and a skilled commercial manager, who for 15 years managed purchasing, production control, distribution and overall supply chain, in manufacturing industry. For the last 18 years I have pursued an academic career and am currently a Principal Research Associate, managing the Freight and Logistics research group, deliverables and dissemination in EU research projects, and pursuing academic and applied research, at Newcastle University. The proposals developed, co-ordinated, written, proposed, negotiated and implemented total around £4.9million to Newcastle University and 15 times that amount to all project partners.

My wide international network of contacts in academia, business, and government - including the European Commission - assists me in identifying funding sources; I build and organise consortia, and prepare and submit proposals, for research in all relevant funding calls. I present my research work and outcomes at international scientific, policy, and business conferences and workshops. I have a strong portfolio of publications: procedia, trade press, book chapters and journal articles. I teach freight & logistics on MSc courses at Newcastle University, as well as having researched and delivered international curriculum development for rail operations and logistics. My colleague and I developed a fuel management module, for deployment in higher education, as part of the UK Freight Best Practice programme. I am a project evaluator and reviewer for the European Commission in the field of the public procurement of innovation [PPI]. I am a member of the Connecting Places Catapult Business Fellows Network, co-funded by the Catapult and the University.

I am a qualified Member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
Associate Editor: IET Intelligent Transport Systemjournal

My 3 decades of experience in purchasing and supply chain management have involved the analysing and implementing of innovative solutions in road, rail and sea freight. Having worked in the steel, automotive, transport and machine tools industries I have, since 2002, been able to take my hands-on experience into academic research within the field of freight and logistics, combining practical experience with field research into the relationships between all actors in the freight and logistics arena. I tend to hold a pragmatist position on research philosophy; approaches I have deployed and which I (currently) find most interesting include: Delphi surveys; CBA; Gap analyses; Environmental impact assessment; market research; mixed methods research; action research; and systems thinking. The areas of knowledge and practical expertise upon which I currently focus, often in conjunction and holistically, are: rail freight; city logistics; ICT and transport logistics; and sustainable procurement.

My full CV:


Future Mobility website:


My Google Scholar: 


Research Interests

I tend to hold a pragmatist position on research philosophy. The research approaches I have deployed and which I (currently) find most interesting include: Delphi surveys, CBA, Gap analyses, Environmental impact assessment, market research, mixed methods research, action research, systems thinking approaches and action research. The areas of knowledge and practical expertise that I focus on, often in conjunction and holistically, are rail freight, city logistics, ICT and transport logistics, and sustainable procurement.

Current Work

  • Logistics benchmarking and standards
  • research into satellite navigation and vehicle way finding
  • ongoing research into urban freight and city logistics
  • research into the optimisation of intermodal freight using optimised systems
  • development of a market based approach to urban freight access
  • systems architectures and intermodal freight
  • eLogistics field research and gap analysis
  • rail freight logistics and operations on a continental cross border scale
  • sustainable procurement policy and practice


I have developed, bid for and won over €5 million euros of EU research funding 2004-2019 for my team, co-ordinator and principal investigator.

  • FLEX-RAIL: Paradigm Shifts for Rail
  • TER4RAIL: Transversal Research for Rail
  • CAPITAL: Collaborative cApacity Programme on Intelligent Transport Systems Training educAtion and Liaison
  • NOVELOG: New cooperative business models and guidance for sustainable city logistics
  • Capacity4Rail - Increasing Capacity 4 Rail networks through enhanced infrastructure and optimised operations
  • SMARTSET: Sustainable MARketdriven Terminal Solutions for Efficient freight Transport
  • SmartFusion: Smart Urban Freight Solutions
  • BESTFACT: Best Practice Factory for Logistics
  • SPECTRUM: Solutions and Processes to Enhance the Competitiveness of Transport by Rail in Unexploited Markets
  • TUNRAIL: Research into the development of rail based curricula in higher education
  • e-Freight: European e-freight capabilities for co-modal transport
  • SuperGreen: Supporting EU’s Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan on Green Corridors Issues
  • BE LOGIC: Benchmarking Logistics Chains
  • KOMODA: Co-modality - towards optimised integrated chains in freight transport logistics
  • RETRACK: Reorganisation of transport networks by advanced rail freight concepts
  • FREIGHTWISE: management framework for intelligent intermodal transport
  • Bestufs II - Best Urban Freight Solutions Two


Postgraduate Teaching

MBA Logistics module, Newcastle University Business School, 2008-2012

Rail Freight and Logistics Logistics MSc leadership and delivery 2010-2016

ITS and Electromobility postgraduate modules (2) leadership and delivery 2018-2019

Curricula development

My colleagues and I have done funded research into and then development of curricula in the areas of rail operations and logistics as well as fuel management and international logistics policy and practice.