PhD Studentship: Big Data Machine Learning for Human Behaviour Modelling

University of Sussex - Department of Mathematics

A fully-funded 3.5-year PhD position is available in the Department of Mathematics in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex. It is the result of a partnership between, an on-line only Company part of the Aviva group, and the University of Sussex. The anticipated start date is 1st of October 2018. Supervision of the research involves a team led by Prof Istvan Kiss and Dr Luc Berthouze as well as data analysts from

The insurance industry operates in a big data environment that presents various challenges to state of the art machine learning and human behaviour modelling. The aim of this research is to leverage the opportunity offered by working with a leading insurance provider to probe and extend existing techniques. Three broad avenues of exploration include: (a) augmenting existing classification and regression algorithms with domain-specific features based on either data provided by the industrial partner or publicly available data, (b) capturing heterogeneity in people’s behaviour to inform more efficient marketing campaigns with `smarter’ targeting of customers, and (c) using the developed methods to test the cost-effectiveness of existing marketing campaigns and inform the design of new ones.

Within the terms of this studentship, the student will be expected to spend some time on company premises (central London) and act as a bridge between the academic and industry partners.

Type of award

Postgraduate Research


£14,777 (2018-2019) per year tax-free bursary plus the waiver of UK/EU fees each year for 3 years. Full-time study.


Applicants should hold, or expect to hold, a UK undergraduate or masters degree, or equivalent, in mathematics or a related subject. We particularly encourage applications from candidates with a Data Science or Machine Learning specialism. Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is open to UK and EU resident students only.


31st of May 2018 23:59 (GMT)

How to apply

Online applications at:

State in the Funding section of the application form that you are applying for the "Big Data Machine Learning for Human Behaviour Modelling (2018)”

The award includes appropriate funds for computing, books, open access publishing, travel to/from the industrial partner and attendance to conferences and workshops.

For informal enquiries, please contact Prof Istvan Kiss ( and Dr Luc Berthouze ( by email.

For practical questions about the application process and/or eligibility for funding, please contact:

Application deadline: 31st of May 2018 23:59 (GMT)

Start date: 1st of October 2018

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