PhD Project opportunities

Welcome to our "project matching" service for the current Industrial Doctorates call for funding. The following list shows a range of potential PhD / EngD projects suggested by academics from Scottish universities.


The following project opportunities are open for Scottish businesses or public sector organisations interested in collaborating with Scottish Universities and benefit from an applied research project with a doctoral student. Funding is available through our current call for funding. If any of the following projects are of interest to you or your organisation, please get in touch.

If you are a prospective doctoral (PhD / EngD) student interested in applying for one of our current vacancies, please visit our industrial doctorates page.



Smart algorithms to solve large-scale optimisation problems

Optimisation problems can be found everywhere. Examples include: finding good parameters for a model or process, scheduling and logistics, resource allocation, or finding the shortest paths for a vehicle. Sometimes there is more than one goal (such as improving both monetary cost and efficiency), and here the optimisation problem is about finding the trade-off between these goals so an informed choice of solution can be made. These problems are usually also rooted in an underlying data set, capturing the specifics of the application (e.g. databases of orders that need satisfied, resource demand over time, or regional-scale maps of locations).

The core research themes of this project would be to:
(1) devise methods to intelligently search through possible answers to an optimisation problem; exploiting what human experts already know about the problem; and specifically for large-scale problems how to break the space of possibilities down to make it easier to solve
(2) develop approaches for communicating the answers to large-scale problems in an intuitive way
(3) research ways of explaining why particular solutions were chosen.

Contact the project supervisor Sandy Brownlee alexander.brownlee@stir.ac.uk for more information.

A Framework for Generating Explanations of Large-Volumes of Data to assist Decision Making

Decision making based on large volumes of heterogeneous data, such as financial data, customer reviews in textual format, images, graphs, etc., is essential for businesses and the public sector. This data is normally presented through graphical representations and rely on analysts’ attention to spot irregularities such as anomalies in data or patterns. When handling large volumes of data, spotting irregularities is hard to the naked eye. This proposed project aims to develop a framework which automatically identifies interesting patterns or anomalies in the data and then produces descriptions of the data in natural language. Our previous research has shown that people make better decisions when they view descriptions of data together with their graphical representations (Gkatzia et al., 2017), compared to when they are shown just graphs of data.

Contact the academic supervisor Dr Dimitra Gkatzia - D.Gkatzia@napier.ac.uk for further information.

Machine Learning For Security of Underwater Wireless Sensor Networks

My research core theme is based on Machine Learning for security of Underwater Wireless Sensor Networks for Intrusion Detection. The applied business domain is for underwater surveillance and monitoring products. The innovation in the project is derived from using the machine learning framework with multi-objective optimization. The intrusion detection application is based on data analysis of underwater noise database. The technical outcome of the project is a sonar based real time surveillance system. This project can be useful for surveillance and monitoring of Scotland’s tidal energy farm and Microsoft data center underwater.

Contact the Academic Supervisor, Dr Mohammad Hamdan, M.Hamdan@hw.ac.uk, for further information

Realising a Flexible Quality Framework for Managing Data Assets

This project will explore the following questions:

- How can data veracity measures (metrics) be encoded and enacted within a data ecosystem?

- How can data provenance be used to support new forms of veracity checking and anomaly detection?

- How can data policies be framed to reason about data veracity, and recommend appropriate decision-making actions?

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Transparent & Accountable Data Management for the Internet of Things

Building on an existing portfolio of research into data transparency and provenance, the proposed project will examine the following questions: What characteristics of IoT devices and their behaviours are necessary to formulate a model of transparency? How do we represent norms against which devices (and the ecosystems of which they are a part) can be held to account?

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Big-data and AI-based personalised flood preparation and evacuation system

This project is targeted to couple a coastal flood model and a transportation network with the big-data flood monitoring platform that we developed in Wang et al. (2018). The coupling will allow us to use the flood model to predict the flood development and the transportation model to optimise the flood evacuation routes.

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Using data science to understand the food system

In this project I would propose to look at available data on some aspect of the food system and see if we can use that to inform modelling and make predictions about how to improve or optimise the system. The area could be at the food production end of industry or the retail end. It depends on who has got data that they think they could make more of, in terms of using it to make forecasts about yield, or sales, for example.

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