PhD studentship in Machine Learning

Newcastle University - School of Computing

Start date and duration: January 2018 for 3 years.


The focus of this studentship is machine learning, and specifically in developing innovative strategies for extracting human-understandable and valuable explanations from machine learning models.

In recent years we have seen an explosion in popularity of machine learning (ML), both in developing new methods as well as their successful application to a very broad range of domains covering essentially all aspects of science, industry and society. The majority of efforts in the ML research community focus on improving the predictive capacity of these methods, and an often-overlooked aspect of research is how to extract human-understandable explanations for such predictions, as highlighted by the recent report on ML by the Royal Society. This is especially true for arguably the fastest growing paradigm within ML, deep learning.

In this project you will focus on designing innovative and general-purpose strategies for extracting human-understandable knowledge from machine learning models, particularly focusing on deep learning.  You will have access to a broad range of our own real-world datasets from a variety of fields (biomedicine, computer security, synthetic biology) to evaluate your methods in direct contact with the data generators, as well as ample computational resources (High-Performance Computing clusters, high-end GPUs) available at Newcastle University.

If you have your own idea for a PhD project within the general areas of machine learning or big data we will be happy to consider it too.  A list of the publications of our lab, to get an idea of our lines of research, is available at


School of Computing, Newcastle University.

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Jaume Bacardit, Reader in Machine Learning, School of Computing, Newcastle University.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should have at least an upper second-class honours degree (ideally a first class degree), or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level.  Ideally, students should have a BSc or MSc degree in computer science. Applicants should be strong programmers, and experience in machine learning/data mining/big data/information visualisation will be greatly valued.

This award is available to UK/EU and international candidates (but international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees). If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills).

How to apply

You must apply through the University's Application Portal. Only mandatory fields need to be completed. You will need to include the following information:

  • select 8050F as programme code
  • select 2017/2018 as Academic Year
  • select ‘PhD in Computer Science (FT) - Computer Science’ as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code COMP002 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code COMP002 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.  Please also send the covering letter and CV to
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For informal enquiries, please email

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