Applications Closed

All of the deadlines for 2023/24 applications have now passed.

No further projects will be advertised for the 2023/24 academic year. 

Thank you to everyone who showed interest and to everyone who applied. 

If you would like more updates on all Data CDT news and events, you can email to join the mailing list, or follow our Twitter page: @DataCDT


Deadline Extension for Several Projects

The Leeds application system has been down for maintenance, so we have extended some of our deadlines. The application form should be available again from the 19th June.

The application deadline for the following projects has been extended until 21st June 2023:


MN71: Sustainable Maritime Transportation Network considering Sulphur Fuel Regulation – Application of Advanced Machine Learning and Optimization

MN73: Reducing Environmental Risks in Mining Using Machine Learning and Data Fusion to Improve Tailings Analysis

MN74: Primary Care Patient Scheduling under Uncertainty


SH73: The Role of R&D and Innovation in Promoting Growth across Sectors, Firms and Regions

SH74: The Social Care Workforce in Wales


LE71: What can AI Language Models tell us about how textual information influences understanding of environmental issues?

LE72: Identifying causal links between net zero policy and behaviour

DataCDT Training Workshop Boosts Presenting Confidence

Written by Eleanor Bale

On Thursday 27th April DataCDT held a Presentation Training Workshop – taught by Westbourne Consulting – for all of its current PhD students. Doctoral researcher Eleanor Bale attended, her thoughts on the training workshop are below. If you would also like to receive regular, practical, high-quality training during your PhD, you can apply for a position with DataCDT via:



I’ve always found presenting to be quite a stressful experience, the pressure of ensuring that I am able to present my ideas cohesively and coherently whilst appearing confident, has felt quite overwhelming. However, I am aware of the importance of being able to discuss and explain my ideas to a broad audience, and so, I approached the DataCDT presentation training workshop with slight apprehension!

Despite my initial hesitation, the presentation workshop was relaxed; presenting was far easier and smoother than I had anticipated. The conversational and constructive discussion which followed included great advice from Simon, the workshop leader, who was able to provide precise and informative feedback which was tailored specifically to each presentation.

As well as delivering a presentation, we were tasked with expressing our own thoughts on both our own presentation and others’, encouraging us to self-reflect and consider the crucial elements of a presentation.

By giving my own presentation I learnt the value of using images and graphics, as this increases the quality of presentation slides – and it also removes the option of reading straight from slides for a whole presentation, which can cause audiences to disengage from a speaker.

Additionally, we discussed the topic of presentation notes. Simon suggested using one single page with a small rectangular box for each slide with a sketch of the slide and the keywords related to that slide, allowing for a quick reminder when glancing at the notes. This prevents the urge in a presentation to avoid eye contact with the audience by just reading notes. This is the piece of advice that I found the most useful from the session, but additional advice included:

  • Include the slide number in these notes so that you can easily return to slides during Q&A.
  • Use the presenter view when presenting so that you are always aware of what slide is next.
  • Slides should always be symmetrical with as little text as possible – the more text, the more difficult for the listener to follow, as they have multiple things to focus on.

I took away a large amount of advice and information from the day – especially with having more confidence in my public speaking abilities, and knowledge of how to simplify my slides, but also to never be afraid of taking notes, or looking at them during the presentation. I’m looking to present some of my ideas following the writing up of my first paper, and I will be using these techniques in the run up as practice – all of this will hopefully improve my confidence in presenting my ideas. I found the training an incredibly useful experience and I’ll be trying to implement all the advice given in the near future.

Alan Turing CDT Conference Success

Written by Abdur-Rahman Ridwan

Attending the Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) conference organised by the Alan Turing Institute
in November 2022 was one of the spectacularly unwinding highlights of my second year (studying
a PhD with DataCDT). About a month before, I had reached the pinnacle of mental exhaustion after
being immersed in completing my annual review write up while suffering from a ligament injury. I
needed a good break, and the decision to attend the conference after initial hesitation proved
worthy. The two-day conference comprised a perfect blend of academic and non-academic activities.
In other words, I was not bored with a replicate of the academic work I had just completed.
Instead, the sessions on both days were scheduled excellently; the event smoothly transitioned
between career and industry panels, skill sessions, discussions, presentations, and fantastic
breaks between them.

“Attending the CDT conference organised by the Alan Turing Institute was one of the
spectacularly unwinding highlights of my second year.”

The first day started with a moderated discussion by CDT directors about the landscape of the CDTs in
the UK. I was surprised to learn that various CDTs across the country specialise in different disciplines
– from medicine to physics to environment to mathematics. The people at my table were a mix of
postgraduate researchers involved in pure AI and non-AI research. Everyone had travelled to Manchester
from different parts of the UK, beaming with smiles to be in a new environment, away from their cities
and research decks like me. It felt like a CDT Olympics event, but without the competition element!

The following session was the networking and poster presentation by CDT students. I walked by poster
presentations listening to animated explanations by researchers in their cubicles to colleagues, amidst
the happy chitchats of others, networking in the background. It was interesting to observe the use of
familiar methods across different fields. I came across the presentation of a third-year researcher from
the University of Leeds who used a method I had also used for a project as part of an assessment. We
chatted about her work and the possibility of a research collaboration. I joined the chattering students,
and we introduced ourselves and our projects and shared constructive perspectives about research
issues. These fresh insights helped me to exit the thinking boxes we sometimes square ourselves in.

A mouth-watering lunch cut in a perfect transition of the day and satisfactorily left stomachs pleased.
We had a practical group session afterward that enabled us to locate our research within a larger domain
and identify research needs that the CDT could address in the future. The final session was the careers
insights panel discussion involving CDT graduates in different career roles. It is natural to be inquisitive
about the future; the panel of graduates clarified curious questions, including how they advertised their
interdisciplinary skills, secured their current roles, and how their skills are being maximised.

“the panel of graduates clarified curious questions, including how they advertised their
interdisciplinary skills, secured their current roles, and how their skills are being maximised”

The day ended with an evening reception full of drinks and light snacks, which got people chattering again.
The highlights of the second day were a skills session on responsible research and innovation, an
industry panel with students, and a powerful keynote by Sue Daley.

The skills session involved a brief lecture about a comprehensive framework for exploring the ethical
significance of technology projects. It was enthralling to learn about each project’s lifecycle model stage:
we reflected on them in an engaging group activity – from project formulation, to model updating and
provisioning. Through discussions, I made the crucial and important realisation that I can, and should,
make in-depth considerations towards the ethical implications of my research.

In another exciting group activity after a break, we evaluated stakeholder salience through a case study
that enabled us to understand how the different characteristics of stakeholders may inform various
vulnerabilities to artificial intelligence research projects. Through the activity, we learned how to use a
process-based approach to designing engagement with different stakeholders that our PhD research involves.

To cap the event, Sue Daley from Tech UK delivered a powerful speech that emphasised the
urgent need and numerous opportunities for Data Analytics professionals in the UK, and urged attendees
to progress in our research and answer the call of the world waiting for our expertise.

I walked away from the event with my head held high, and with renewed motivation and drive. If you want
to network with colleagues within, and beyond, your research field, expose yourself to relevant research
and career stakeholders, develop relevant insights about career options, and interact with potential
future employers in a relaxed atmosphere with fabulous food and drinks, then I would encourage you to
attend the next Alan Turing CDT conference. As my first-ever CDT conference experience was practically perfect,
and the conference itself well organised, I can’t wait to see what the next conference will look like!

“I can’t wait to see what the next conference will look like!”

You can keep up to date with Alan Turing events – including future CDT events – via this link.







Image: Alan Turing slate statue in Wales

Overseas institutional visit to the University of Queensland, Australia

Written by James Murphy

In October 2022 I had the opportunity to conduct an overseas institutional visit (OIV) at the University of Queensland, based in Brisbane, Australia. My placement lasted for 3 months and was based at the remote sensing research institute in the School of Environmental and Earth Sciences. I was able to use this placement as an opportunity to meet researchers working in my field, whilst conducting research relating to my thesis in an entirely new environment.

During the 3-month visit, I was able to conduct a good deal of analysis, utilising new data and learning new skills along the way. These skills included working with optical satellite data and understanding the benefits and limitations of this data; obtaining a good deal of knowledge about the geophysical makeup of coastal regions surrounding Brisbane; manipulating and harmonising spatial data of different types. Further benefits of the OIV included the opportunity to engage in lab meetings and other events hosted and promoted by the Remote Sensing Research Institute at the University of Queensland. This allowed me to get to know and network with various members of the lab and understand and even assist in their work. I personally found much of the work interesting and inspiring. It is hoped that I may collaborate, or at least meet up at conferences, with members of the institute in future. In addition to networking with members of the institute, I attended seminars and workshops run by the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES), where I was able to meet peers researching a variety of different topics.

The OIV enabled me to conduct research on a project that I would otherwise not have the capacity to complete. Working with my host supervisor and other members of the institute was incredibly beneficial to my PhD, but also in understanding prospects for a future career. Being exposed to a variety of remote sensing methods and projects was inspiring. There are many aspects of remote sensing that lead to incredibly useful and exciting research, whilst also being a highly sought-after employable skill. Aside from the direct benefits of the visit, moving to Australia also developed my confidence and my independence, which will only be beneficial in any capacity going forward.
I would recommend the OIV scheme to anyone. At first, the idea of moving overseas into an institute where you don’t know anyone can be very daunting. However, I believe that the experience encourages you to put yourself out there and engage in opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t. This will not only develop your network of collaborators and improve any skills you wish to learn, but you will meet people both in and outside the work environment that you may remain in contact with for a long time. I would especially recommend this experience for anyone who struggles to leave their comfort zone, or just wants a new perspective on their area of research. A new environment can be a breath of fresh air and provide a good deal of motivation towards researching for a PhD.


Italy Winter School: Smart Specialisation for competitiveness, sustainability and resilient local development

Written by Shivani Sickotra

OECD Trento Centre, Italy: This first-edition winter school was organised by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) and Trentino Sviluppo. It was held at the OECD Trento Centre in Trento, Northern Italy.

It was a 3-day comprehensive residential winter school involving presentations, field visits and activities focusing on local economic development in Europe and the Smart Specialisation Strategy, also known as the S3 (this strategy can be seen as the European equivalent of the UK Levelling Up agenda).

What notably sets the S3 apart is that it was formulated from an entirely place-based and bottom-up perspective. I had not heard of this strategy before I attended this winter school, therefore listening to presentations from experts and discussions with peers broadened my international knowledge. This was extremely refreshing since my PhD research is UK-focused.

I was one of 24 participants selected to attend and the only member from the UK. My peers were from 11 different countries across Europe, including: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic and Germany. Most participants were heads of their respective regional development agencies, senior managers, directors and CEOs. As a PhD candidate interested in local economic development, this was an exceptional opportunity for knowledge gathering and networking with established professionals. I enjoyed meeting these amazing individuals from all walks of life, but with the common interest of place-sensitive development. The fully packed days, including lunches and evening dinners, led us to rapidly forming good working relationships.

The 3 days were organised around key themes. Day 1 focussed on the Innovation ecosystem in the Trentino area by delving into entrepreneurship, start-up and Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) scale-ups. This was a new topic to me since I do not come from an economics background. We visited the CLab at the University of Trento, were introduced to Hub Innovazione Trentino (HIT) and visited the Bruno Kessler Research Foundation. These visits showed us first-hand how Trentino attracts start-ups, fosters the transition from research into entrepreneurship and supports these companies. I learnt how this can lead to local economic growth in the Autonomous Province of Trento and how this is a place-based initiative for the region.

Day 2 revolved around Smart Specialisation in practice with an emphasis on green transition, resilience and skills. We took a coach to Rovereto, the second largest city in Trentino. We spent the morning at Progetto Manifattura which is a green innovation factory. This used to be an old tobacco factory in the mid-19th century but was re-purposed into an innovation factory, plus spaces for businesses to rent. It was a phenomenal space, and I witnessed the level of investment into innovation in Trentino and truly S3 in practice. In the afternoon we visited Polo Meccatronica which houses the Trentino Sviluppo headquarters. Through presentations, I learnt about the development agency, their mission, mandate, practices and projects. I learnt more about the general structure of the S3 strategy and the European Commission views on Smart Specialisation. Following this, we had a peer-exchange session in breakout groups. I chose to participate in the Education and Skills group, alongside other participants interested in this area such as the Human Capital Development Expert at the European Training Foundation. This was really interesting, and I enjoyed learning how countries such as Malta develop their local skills strategy. This inspired me to learn more about the South Yorkshire MCA skills strategy currently being drafted in the UK. I would like to know the process behind how this document is created, how policies are proposed and how research such as my own can be tailored into providing a place-sensitive evidence base for this.

The final day was themed around instruments and policies to boost local competitiveness. We had roundtable discussions about teleworking, local labour markets and greening jobs in Trentino. There were also presentations about research papers and official reports to achieve local competitiveness. Hearing how research has been used to achieve this impact was very insightful, and I aspire to one day mirror this with my PhD research by delivering local and economic growth in South Yorkshire.

Overall, this was an incredibly enriching experience which strengthened my understanding of local and regional economic development from an international perspective. I am grateful I found this opportunity as it equally played an integral part in my personal development. I am thankful to the Economic and Social Research Council and the Data Analytics and Society CDT and my PhD supervisors for enabling the trip.

University of Leeds Projects 2023

The following projects are now available to apply to at the University of Leeds:

LE71 What can AI Language Models tell us about how textual information influences understanding of environmental issues?

LE72 Identifying causal links between net zero policy and behaviour

LE73 Making Community Punishments more Effective with Sentencing Academy

LE74 Probabilistic Agent-Based Modelling for Predicting School Attendance with Bradford Institute of Health Research

LE75 Sharing the Road: Exploring transitions away from private vehicle ownership through agent-based modelling with Ordnance Survey

LE76 Predicting Travel Patterns Under Disruption and Change with Transport for West Midlands

*Please note we are currently only able to accept applications from Home rated applicants (UK citizens or those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK)*

University of Manchester Projects 2023

The following projects are now available to apply to at the University of Manchester:

MN72 Assessment of the ability of cargo buses to improve the efficiency of small businesses’ logistics, reduce carbon emissions from transport, and improve the financial viability of rural bus services with Food & Drink North East, National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise, Northumberland County Council

MN73 Reducing Environmental Risks in Mining Using Machine Learning and Data Fusion to Improve Tailings Analysis with J&C Bachmann GmbH

MN74 Primary Care Patient Scheduling under Uncertainty with Midlands & Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit

MN75 Advanced Bayesian Optimization for Complex and Sustainable Biopharmaceutical Production Design with Biopharm Services

MN76 Machine learning and data analytics for nurturing talent and performance profiling in cricket with England and Wales Cricket Board

MN77 A multidomain system for accounting carbon credits for individuals with EarthChain and Modeshift

University of Sheffield Projects 2023

The following projects are now available to apply to at the University of Sheffield:

SH71 Drivers and Effects of Digital Poverty across Local Communities in the UK with David and Jane Richards Family Foundation, Digital Poverty Alliance, WANdisco

SH72 Productivity and Spatial Economic Disparities in the UK with UK Government Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

SH73 The Role of R&D and Innovation in Promoting Growth across Sectors, Firms and Regions with UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

SH74 The Social Care Workforce in Wales with Social Care Wales

SH75 Understanding Inequalities & Interconnections in Health and Social Care with The Health Foundation

SH76 Understanding the local and regional impacts of immigration on local educational and labour market trajectories with Managed Migration Research and UK Home Office