PhD Studentship: Optimal Collective Foraging By Bee Colonies

University of Leeds


Contact Dr Richard Mann or Dr Elizabeth Duncan to discuss this project further informally.  

Project description

This is a scholarship funded by the Leeds-York NERC DTP.

This project will investigate the use of information in bee colonies from both a mathematical and a biological perspective. Starting from results from machine-learning research regarding decentralised optimisation algorithms the student will work towards a mathematical theory of optimal foraging by a decentralised colony of agents representing a colony of bees. This theory will extend upon previous theoretical work in mathematics by imposing realistic biological constraints upon agents such as limited motility and communication abilities. It will extend on biological theory by rigorously treating the acquisition and exploitation of information from first principles of information theory.

The ultimate goal of the project will be to make biological predictions about the behaviour of real bees that can be experimentally tested in the laboratory and/or field studies.

Applicants will be considered for a NERC DTP studentship in an open competition across all subjects. The strongest applicants will be called for interview, which will take place during the week of 19th February 2018. Candidates are encouraged to contact the lead supervisor of the project in order to ensure that he/she will be able to effectively support the application. 

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree in Mathematics or a related discipline, or equivalent.

How to apply

To apply, visit the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership website. 

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office

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