UK: PhD Position – 40 fully funded scholarships

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The University of Plymouth ( ) is currently advertising an additional 40 fully funded PhD scholarships due to our success in the RAE2008 ( We, in Computer Science/Computing, were leaders in research for the University’s RAE 2008 submission, which has put Plymouth among the top 15 UK universities for computer science and informatics research. Therefore, we are well placed to secure studentships provided we can get high quality students to apply before the deadline which is 26th May 2009. Thus, time is of the essence.

Applicant profile
Note that the emphasis on this call will be on the quality of the applicant. So we are looking for high quality PhD applicants.
.         The Studentships will be full-time for three years and includes a stipend of £13,290 and tuition fees of £3,400 paid for Home/EU students. Applications from non EU nationals will be considered for part fees only support not stipends. International students will be expected to secure funds to meet the difference between Home/EU and overseas tuition fees (£10,000 in 2009/10) for the duration of the programme.
.         A student who has studies at MSc is preferable, but we are still very interested in high quality graduates for these positions.
.         The emphasis on the academic background is based on computing/computer science/programming.

PhD subject areas
There are two PhD projects on offer in conjunction with the Visualization Lab. These are

. PhD in Information Visualization and Visual Analysis of large data sets
. The main aim of this research is to develop a new approach to the analysis of experimental data in neurophysiology based on the use of modern computer science techniques such as graphical engineering, visualization and virtual reality.
. This new approach will provide neuroscientists with an interactive environment within which to explore their data sets. The primary focus of this research is on the analysis of multi-dimensional data sets. By navigating through these large data sets, researchers will be able to focus on particular features of the data as well as identifying overall characteristics. This will support the integration of the experimental and theoretical approaches to the analysis of neurophysiological evidence.
. Our research applies the techniques and principles of Information Visualization to support the analysis of vast datasets.  Our major application area is Neurophysiology and we specialize in the visual analysis of large multi-dimensional spike train datasets. This is called the VISA project (

. 2.   PhD in Usability and User-Centred Systems Design.
. In this project the user experience will be related to the CARMEN project as a case study. This PhD will be largely focused on the practice of usability and how software developers can improve both new and ongoing projects to ensure user acceptance and satisfaction. The work will include a study of the latest and most effective methodologies for developing truly usable and user-centred software solutions.
. CARMEN is an e-Science Pilot Project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK). It will deliver a virtual laboratory for neurophysiology, enabling sharing and collaborative exploitation of data, analysis code and expertise. Neural activity recordings (signals and image series) are the primary data types. £5M are committed to 20 scientific investigators at 11 UK universities. The project brings together neurophysiologists, neuroinformaticists and computer scientists, to address the complete lifecycle of neurophysiology data.

Overall, there will be flexibility with the content of the PhD programme and so the project will be subsequently refined. This really is a great opportunity. Could I please ask you to make this information known to any appropriate students and to forward it to any other appropriate staff in your area.

I (Liz Stuart) will be acting as Director of Studies (first supervisor) for the projects specified below and successful candidate(s) will be working alongside other staff in the Visualization Lab here in Plymouth The main focus of this Visualization Lab is the relatively new, rapidly increasing field of Information Visualization (IV and Visual Analysis (VA)). In practice this involves the selection, transformation and representation of data in a various forms that support data mining and novel representation techniques. In the past the Visualization lab have worked on the development of IV techniques for the analysis of neurophysiological data in the form of multi-dimensional spike train recordings. Investigation of this data is directed towards the synchronization of spikes between spike trains, to derive the coupling of the underlying neurons. Additionally, we are involved in projects applying IV techniques in Civil Engineering and Artificial Life.

If you are interested, please do email me for more information .


Further information – For further information on research studentship opportunities, and postgraduate study at the university of Plymouth, please see the Graduate School webpages

Dr. Liz Stuart
The Visualization Lab
t: 01752 232665

Office on campus:
Room B310, Portland Square

Full postal address:
School of Computing, Comms. & Elecs.
Faculty of Technology, University of Plymouth
Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom

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