Deadline: 2016-01-25
Value of Scholarship: Loughborough
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD Studentship – Modelling the Dynamic Earth as a System of Systems through Big Data Visual Analytics

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership to start in October 2016. The project will be based in the Advanced VR Research Centre in the Wolfson School of Engineering at Loughborough University and will involve collaboration with the British Geological Survey.

This exciting research project aims to create interactive whole Earth simulations at different levels of abstraction and scale by exploiting recent innovations in modelling systems of systems architectures. 

The research will focus on developing novel big data analytics techniques to allow inter-disciplinary models to be spatially and temporally synchronised in order that they can be interactively visualized. A desired outcome is the development of next generation visual analytics algorithms to address current earth scientists’ limitations of approximating or sub-optimising through dividing analytical tasks into smaller units, accepting sub-optimal solutions or introducing simplifying approximations. An important element of the research will be the investigation of new forms of system design/ visualization where storage and various types of computation are co-located and systems are programmed and operated to allow users to interactively invoke different forms of analysis in –situ over integrated large scale data collections. Also, this research will explore and develop novel techniques to access data in real-time using other people’s systems/equipment through web-based platform (eg ipad used in-field), 

It will be essential for this modelling work to be grounded in current environmental science. The research student will be required to develop system architecture modelling skills to a level where validated models can be incorporated into an executable simulation. Also, skills in developing new big data analytic techniques/algorithms will be developed throughout the research programme. Specialists at the British Geological Survey will help in the validation of the models against real-data. 

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The studentship is for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2016. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,057 per annum (current rate) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of £8,000.  Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder only students with a UK/EU fee status will be considered for this position.

Students will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in one or more of the following: Systems modelling, Computational science, Systems engineering,  Geography, Earth Science, Ecology  or Environmental Science.  A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

General information about the Advanced VR Research Centre can be found here  and more information about the project and CENTA can be found here. For informal enquiries about the project, please contact Professor Roy Kalawsky (

To apply:

  1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format, and then
  2. Complete the online application using the following link: During the online application process, upload the CENTA application form as a supporting document. Under programme name, please select ‘Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering’

The closing date for applications is 25 January 2016
Interviews will take place in the week commencing 15 February 2016

Please quote CENTA-RK when completing your online application

Apply Now

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