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PhD Project: AI for improving Information Workflows. (PhD Computer Science)

Project Description

Summary of Cluster

Plastic has changed the way we live, but the time has come to address the way in which it is used and disposed of. We urgently need new ways of thinking about the problems of plastic use.

The so-called “Circular Economy” represents an alternative, more sustainable model to the traditional linear economy. A linear model follows the path of make, use and dispose. In a circular economy however, we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their service life.

The University of Hull (UoH) has been awarded an £1.1M institutional award from the UKRI for a Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminating Plastics Waste project entitled ‘Evolving a Circular Plastics Economy’. This project will enable us to drive forward exiting innovative cross-disciplinary research and is intended to very rapidly catalyse new ideas across the research landscape.

As part of this project, UoH is also funding a Circular Economy PhD cluster, where the successful students will become part of one of the largest interdisciplinary groups holistically researching reducing plastics waste in the UK, with over 24 academics working together in our Plastics Collaboratory.

The Project

This project will have an impact on three of the “Evolving a Circular Plastics Economy”, project namely:
1. To understand current uses of plastic within society and the wider economy and the policy constraints and drivers presently around reuse and recycling
2. To address the twin logistical issues for supply chains raised by incorporating renewable plastics and recovery of renewable and petrochemical plastic via pyrolysis.
3. To closely monitor the potential life cycle impacts (social, economic and environmental) of the technological innovations and emerging routes to their implementation within a CE

The project aims at develop a deeper understanding of the key issues in the circular plastic economy, by working closely with the stakeholders and end-users, a systematic systemic process can be implemented to collect data for policy innovations. AI and data mining approaches will be used for the development of efficient information workflows in order to better understand the customers and their behaviour as this holds the key to the success in the modification of the patterns in the use of plastics.. Once these behaviour analyses have been obtained, various modifications of the behaviours can be tested on the AI model. These findings will then be discussed with the focus groups such that the detailed processes can be elucidated
Given the nature of the larger project, and its objectives this PhD project will feed into the evaluation of current and future supply chains which be carried out concurrently or sequentially in order to develop a participatory approach to understanding and optimising plastics in closed loop sustainable supply chains. It is expected that this project will contribute to the identification of the workflows and pathways for implementation of new practices.


This project will require a 1st class Undergraduate Degree in Computer Science (or related Degrees). A Masters level qualification in the Data Science would be beneficial. A 2:1 at an undergraduate level may be considered, if combined with relevant Masters Level Qualification.

Funding Notes

Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 15th May 2019 at the latest.

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