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Fully funded UK/EU PhD Scholarship in Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics for the Media Industry

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, September 13, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A unique opportunity of an industrial-collaboration fully funded UK/EU PhD scholarship at the prestigious Durham University (world-wide top 79th by QS World University rankings and 5th in the UK by the Guardian) is offered by the ‘Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme’ (IIIP) and Distinctive Publishing Ltd, Newcastle. The successful PhD student will spend up to 50% of her/his time at the business, with the rest at the Department of Computer Science, supervised by Professor Alexandra I. Cristea, a world leader in artificial intelligence for the web and web science.

The dynamic and complex nature of a publishing environment, and its associated reader transactions, causes a continuous change of a problem formulation, e.g., new types of constraints or changes in the problem environment. This creates a complex and ever-changing problematic area for publishing organisations looking to enhance readership engagement with the use of technology; particularly if readership actions are event driven from external factors.

The aim is provision of a Predictive and Prescriptive analytics engine that would enable publishing enterprises to gain a competitive advantage via prescriptive approaches in real time. New approaches and algorithms are crucial in a real-time or streaming computational environment.

Currently, applications using feedback mechanisms for tracking the suggested recommendations and for continuously improving the prescriptive models are limited, while other relevant research works deal mainly with conceptual frameworks. Existing products focus mainly on feedback mechanisms for tracking the suggested recommendations and for continuously improving the prescriptive models, meaning limited use and applicability, limited to ‘decision support’ usage that would provide a recommendation for the user (publisher) to implement. Prescriptive analytics is an emerging and promising field of data analytics that aims to prescribe decisions based on predictive analytics outcomes.

Distinctive Publishing is looking to introduce an additional product/service to its current platform but introducing two distinct areas to enhance its existing capability of descriptive analytics:

1. Predictive Analytics Engine – modelling past data to predict future actions, behaviours, or outcomes of readers/users within the existing platform.

2. Prescriptive Analytics Engine - providing direct insight into the consequences of different actions by uncovering the key cause-and-effect relationships that impact the outcomes the publisher focuses on, and will be used for understanding what causes what, and why within the readership of content/publications

While a predictive analysis would aim to predict the value of an outcome of interest, a prescriptive analysis would aim to understand the factors that determine that outcome, so that it can influence the organisation’s favour.

Entry Requirements:
Minimally a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Computer Science or a related discipline, from a recognised university. EU students require a minimum overall IELTS 6.5 score, with no element under 6.0 (or equivalent).
Excellent programming skills and interest in ML, AI are essential. Experience in ML, data mining is advantageous.

Apply at:

Documentation should include:
• Cover letter
• An initial project proposal (minimally containing this project’s application area, motivation, research questions, related research, data sources, research plan for three years)
• CV
• Final academic transcripts and certificates
• IELTS certificate
• Two references
• Academic contact is Professor Alexandra I. Cristea
• For the scholarship, put: Fully funded UK/EU PhD Scholarship in Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics for the Media Industry.

Informal enquiries:
Professor Alexandra I. Cristea (Computer Science):

Short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or VoIP) between 1-15 September 2019.
Closing date for applications: 31st of August 2019

UK/EU PhD Scholarship is to start 1st of October 2019
Funding period: 1/10/19 – 30/09/22

Funding Notes

IIIP (View Website) is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Distinctive Publishing (View Website) is a full service publishing, creative, advertising agency in the heart of Newcastle.

The Computer Science Department (View Website) has 85% world-leading research (REF2014).
Studentship includes:
• A stipend (~£15,009/year)
• Full fees covered for three years for Home/EU and a laptop (up to £2000) provided by Distinctive Publishing
• Research costs (£2000 per year)
• Own desk space
• A new desktop computer (GPU processor is available)
• See full description: View Website

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