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EPSRC/SLB Systems INDUSTRIAL CASE PhD Studentship - Co-op-Solve-M: A Co-operative Algorithm Framework for Solving Large-Scale Heterogeneous Problems with Multiple Objectives

   Faculty of Humanities Doctoral Academy, Alliance Manchester Business School

   Monday, April 10, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Theme of the PhD project:

Rapid developments needed in new energy technologies (e.g. for scalable generation plants that can provide a continuous supply) will depend upon solving linked and large-scale global optimization problems. Whereas algorithms for academic benchmark problems are well-studied, progress in more realistic optimization settings is being stifled by a lack of deep understanding. Most real problems are multi-objective and are composites of several problem types, and what’s needed is a deep dive into how to efficiently solve such problems cooperatively. There are a number of distinct but related research threads that can be brought together to tackle this challenge and make progress. These include: using teams of single-objective solvers to cooperatively tackle multiobjective problems; automatic algorithm configuration and selection methods that can combine and tune algorithmic components; and so-called 'interwoven’ problems. Our aim will be to discover common principles among these ideas, and bring them together into a new paradigm.

For more details about this project, please see the webpage: lopez-ibanez.eu/icase-phd-2023


The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr. Manuel López-Ibáñez (University of Manchester). Prof Joshua Knowles (SLB) will act as external supervisor and lead the industrial input into this research.

Nature of the studentship:

The studentship will commence in September 2023 and will be available for four years, with a stipend equivalent to UKRI rates (the rate was £17,668 tax free for 2022/23; this is subject to change for future years), plus a top-up stipend from SLB, resulting in an annual stipend of at least £20,500 tax free. In addition to this stipend, the scholarship covers full university tuition fees, and travel support for fieldwork, conferences and annual visits to SLB.

Entry Requirements:

Applications are sought from talented and motivated UK (Home) candidates with an academic background in at least one of these fields: Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Operations Research, Data Science, Machine Learning, Industrial/Business Engineering or Business Analytics.

Applicants must have a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) and hold or expect to obtain a Masters level qualification with Distinction. English Language requirements (where required) are IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 623 (100 ibt), PTE 76.

Application: Candidates should submit a PhD application for the PhD Business & Management, and indicate that they wish to be considered for the EPSRC/SLB INDUSTRIAL CASE PhD Studentship for “Co-op-Solve-M: A Co-operative Algorithm Framework for Solving Large-Scale Heterogeneous Problems with Multiple Objectives.

The application must contain the following:

  • A research proposal (500-1000 words) related to the topic, and
  • A written statement clearly indicating how your research competencies and interests to date are aligned with the specific nature of the PhD project.

You are strongly advised to submit your application as early as possible. If you do not submit the required supporting documents outlined above by the deadline, your application will not be considered.


If you are interested in this project, please contact Dr. Manuel López-Ibáñez () with an up-to-date CV including any publication profile.

Making your application: 

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester and is at the heart of all of our activities. As an equal opportunities institution, we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

Funding Notes

Under this research studentship, the successful candidate will conduct research as part of the EPSRC Industrial CASE Awards. This project is available ONLY for UK (Home) students.

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