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Discovery of Stress Scenarios in Food and Infrastructure Systems – A Hybrid Computational Methods Approach

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 03, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This doctoral studentship is in the field of complex infrastructure systems, i.e. inter-connected, co-evolving energy, transport, water, waste and telecoms systems, and how they interact with food system vulnerabilities. The particular research problem is that we do not know which complex infrastructures have major impacts on food systems (and vice versa). We want to discover systemic stress scenarios, i.e. quantified possible futures of food and infrastructure systems which have the potential for major impact on society, the economy and the environment.

By working as part of a multi-university project team, this doctoral study will contribute to developing computational methods based on hybridizing Bayesian Networks, Agent Based Models and Control Theory which will discover these scenarios and evaluate potential impact before it happens. This will advance complex systems modelling and new ways to manage systemic risk and uncertainty between food and infrastructure systems. Research outputs have the potential to inform government policy which would reduce the potential for impact.

Through your research, you will develop skills in model design, algorithm design, software development, data analysis and effective communication. You will also participate in UCL’s flexible and extensive Doctoral Skills Development Programme and meet regularly with an interdisciplinary project team and stakeholders to integrate your research with their activities.

Funding Notes

The 3.5 year studentship covers UCL Home/EU fees and a stipend paid quarterly over the academic year. The stipend amount for September 2018 - September 2019 would be £16,777 per annum tax free paid pro rata (this amount may increase according to UCL’s guidelines).


Applicants must hold a 1st class or upper 2nd class bachelors or masters degree in engineering, physics, maths or computer science.

You are eligible if you are a UK citizen or a citizen of an EU country (residing in the UK).

Applicants should send a covering letter and CV to Professor Liz Varga ([email protected]). The successful applicant will then have to apply online to UCL by submitting the PhD application form via Please name Prof Liz Varga as the proposed supervisor.

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