Fully Funded PhD Position available in Choice Modelling

University of Leeds

Topic: Advances in modelling human decision making: behavioural realism and mathematical flexibility
Supervisors: Professor Stephane Hess & Dr Charisma Choudhury
Host school: Institute for Transport Studies (www.its.leeds.ac.uk), Choice Modelling Centre (www.cmc.leeds.ac.uk)
Start date: as soon as possible
Funding and duration: enhanced stipend (£18,417 for 2016/2017) for a duration of up to 3.5 years


We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to join a major cross-disciplinary research programme at the heart of the Choice Modelling Centre (CMC) at the University of Leeds.

Choice modelling is a key analytical tool used to understand consumer decisions across a range of topic areas, including transport, environmental and health economics, and regional science. Their outputs form a key component in guidance underpinning government and industry decisions on policy changes, infrastructure developments or the introduction of new services or products.

The five-year “Choices and consumption” project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) seeks to make a step change in the modelling of many decisions people make every day, with a key focus on travel and energy choices. The research in this project will lead to a deeper understanding of the links between short and long-term life-course decisions and will study the patterns of interaction among people. This will be achieved through methodological innovations in choice modelling as well as innovative applications.

The role:

This fully-funded PhD position provides an exciting opportunity to work in a stimulating international research environment, guided by leading experts in the field and with many opportunities to collaborate with academics from all over the world. Choice modelling is a rapidly growing discipline, with numerous career opportunities in academia and beyond. The nature of the project implies a cross-disciplinary approach, where traditional choice models are enriched with elements of other disciplines. The PhD candidate will be encouraged to find creative ways of reconciling choice models with real world behaviour, and develop approaches that help solve real world problems. 

There is flexibility in defining the PhD topic within the broad theme of Advanced Choice Modelling. The members of the Choice Modelling Centre will help the candidate to define a topic which matches their research interest and makes a long-lasting contribution to the literature.

Recent examples of PhD research topics in the Choice Modelling Centre include: the stability of travel behaviour over time; the use of GPS and smartphone data in choice modelling; and the study of the role of social networks in decision making.

Entry requirements: 

A first class (or equivalent) undergraduate degree related to mathematics or statistics from a reputed university is desirable. Candidates with a background in behavioural economics or mathematical psychology are also encouraged to apply and candidates with an upper second class (or equivalent) degree from an excellent university will also be considered, especially if the candidate has a Masters degree and/or practical experience in a highly relevant area. Experience of mathematical modelling and/or computer programming skills is also desirable but not mandatory.

For any further information, to discuss your proposal and to apply, please contact Professor Stephane Hess (s.hess@its.leeds.ac.uk) or Dr Charisma Choudhury (C.F.Choudhury@leeds.ac.uk)

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Northern England