Applications still welcome for October 2023

Please note the Leeds application system is currently down and so we have extended some of our deadlines. The application form should be available again on the 19th June.

We still have plenty of projects left to apply to if you’d like to join our September! This will be the final intake to our CDT so last chance to complete this exciting programme! Links below to the projects available, please check the project page for individual deadlines (click on the title to visit project page):

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

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

Understanding the Digital Lives of Young People with Nominet

Pet Ownership and Health with Pets at Home

Understanding social and spatial inequalities in common mental health disorders with Merseycare

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

Identifying causal links between net zero policy and behaviour 

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

The Social Care Workforce in Wales with Social Care Wales

The Role of R&D and Innovation in Promoting Growth across Sectors, Firms and Regions with the Department for Business and Trade

The Geography of Charitable giving and Volunteering Consumption with Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity

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

Student led projects – please contact a supervisor before applying

Please note, we are particularly looking for applicants who are home rated students* as we have very few international spaces remaining to offer.

*home rated means you are a UK citizen or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.  Please get in touch if you are unsure.

University of Sheffield projects 2022

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

SH61 Patterns of Engagement: Commonalities and Distinctions Within Arts Attendance Online and In-Person with The Audience Agency

SH62 Geographies of Engagement: Spatial Understanding of Arts Attendance with The Audience Agency

SH63 Exploring the impact of digital technologies on health and wellbeing outcomes with Hampshire County Council

SH64 Young Carers: Care experiences, service use and outcomes with Sheffield Young Carers

SH65 Child protection and criminalisation: A data analytics approach with Thames Valley Together / Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit


University of Manchester projects 2022

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

MN61 Adaptive AI Decision Agents for Holistic Supply Chain Optimisation: Merging Societal and Business Objectives with Peak AI

MN62 Using social network analysis to understand offending and victimisation with the Metropolitan Police

MN63 Development of bilateral negotiation protocols and testing them in a geodesign context with Geodesignhub

MN64 Details to follow

University of Liverpool projects 2022

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

LV61 Understanding Population Dynamics for Health and Safety Risk Assessment with the Health and Safety Executive

LV62 Detecting Population and Built Environment Change from Space and their Impacts on Buried Utility Assets with MGISS

LV63 A Digital Twin of Resilient Future Retail Centres for Post Pandemic Social and Economic Recovery with Liverpool City region combined authority

LV64 A Digital Twin of Future Inclusive and Decarbonised Public Transportation Services with Liverpool City region combined authority

Please see for details of eligibility and how to apply

Deadline 1st April 2022

Project available with Global Law firm Taylor Wessing

We have a project available at the University of Liverpool working with a global law firm looking at using data science in the area of legal decision making.

The deadline for applications is the 21st August and full details can be found here –

Please note that this opportunity is only available to UK and EU applicants.

For details on how to apply please see here –

If you have already submitted an application to the Centre, please email to express interest in this project, please do not submit a new application.

New project advertised at Leeds with Procter & Gamble – deadline 21st August

P&G Logo

A further PhD opportunity has been made available at Leeds working with one of the largest consumer goods companies worldwide, Procter & Gamble. The deadline for applications is the 21st August and full details can be found here –

Please note that this opportunity is only available to UK and EU applicants.

For details on how to apply please see here –

If you have already submitted an application to the Centre, please email to express interest in this project, please do not submit a new application.

Contribution to the UK2070 final report documenting the extent of spatial inequalities & proposing actionable strategies

On the 27th February the UK2070 Commission launched the final report documenting the extent of spatial inequalities & proposing actionable strategies. One of our Liverpool students, Nikos Patias contributed to this report along with his supervisors, Franciso Rowe and Dani Arribas-Bel.  The policy brief can be found here –



Turing data study group – April 2018

5 months into our PhD, we (Keiran and Noelyn) applied and got accepted to attend the April Data Study group at the Alan Turing Institute in London. Data Study groups are intensive five-day collaborative hackathons, where data scientists of all levels are brought together to solve interesting real-world data problems submitted by Challenge Owners. Challenge Owners typically come from diverse backgrounds, e.g. industry, government, academia and the third sector, providing participants with the opportunity to work on a wide range of problems that they wouldn’t encounter in their day-to-day work. It takes place at the Alan Turing Building in London, located at the iconic British Library.


Unlike more traditional application processes that focus on CVs and cover letters, the application process for the Data Study group focuses more on participants showing off their technical skills (as well as their ability to collaborate and communicate) by sharing a portfolio of work that illustrates their strengths. Dr Kirstie Whitaker, a Turing Research Fellow, shared her thoughts ( on what she looks out for when assessing an application. Noelyn shared a google drive link which contained her MSc footballer’s value prediction script and report, and a script for a time series prediction model, both written in Python. without prior work experience as a data scientist, her application highlighted recently gained coding skills and zeal to apply them, ability to be a team player, and desire to learn during the process. Keiran, on the other hand, sought to demonstrate his coding and teamwork skills by drawing on the experience of working in industry as part of a development team.


Once accepted, Noelyn’s greatest hindrance to attending was childcare provisions; however, the organisers were very accommodating suggesting she brought her kids along and offering to provide accommodation that would fit. Although she ultimately made other arrangements, this alone cemented her desire to be there and highlighted their agenda of inclusivity.


The five days

Keiran was fortunate enough to be provided with accommodation  in university halls just 5 minutes walk from the Turing Institute, making for an easy commute to the venue. This was particularly valuable given that the programme really is what it says on the tin (‘intensive five-day collaborative hackathon’), starting at 9am on the Monday (most participants arrived on the Sunday) and finishing at 4pm Friday. In-between, participants work up until 9pm, sometimes 10pm. This is made much more tolerable by the breakfasts, lunches and dinners provided, as well as  an array of snacks, iPad powered coffee and fridge full of fizzy drinks.


The first day included registration, a briefing from the organisers and introduction of the challenges by the owners, an icebreaker, group assignment and after lunch group work begins. Starting group work on the first day, gives participants an opportunity to meet other group members and scope working solutions. This is also an important opportunity to rethink group membership (your suitability), which is what Noelyn  had done and by the next day, joined another group after speaking with organisers.


The 2nd, 3rd and 4th day were really straight into the deep end. The end result is not meant to be a fully functioning solution, instead it would be a collation of several ways to tackle the problem which the company can take forward and improve on. This meant that we, the participants, were not restricted and thus given the opportunity to use our expertise while working with team members to ensure that typical data exploration and pre-processing steps were undertaken. To ensure cohesive working and non-duplication of work, each team had a facilitator who worked as the ‘project manager’. Here (,  Chanuki Seresinhe, a visiting researcher talks about her role as a facilitator.


We ended up in the same group, working on a large dataset of training and user records provided by eGym (a company that develops and manufactures advanced products for the fitness market) along with other researchers from a range of backgrounds as well as the project owner. Given the nature of the Data Study Group, we were allowed free rein over the direction in which we took our investigation. This culminated in members of the team splitting off into smaller groups to work on subproblems. The two of us ended up working together, focusing on clustering and segmenting gym users based on their characteristics. This work could then be used to specialise later modelling processes which aimed to estimate the performance gym-goers based on their information and previous performances. Working collaboratively on this project was made possible through the Turing Institute’s cloud virtual machine system, using slack for communicating within and across teams, the use of overleaf for report writing and using Git for code repository.


Although the days may have been long, time was made for socialising in the evening, with a trip to the Namco Funscape arcade allowing the groups to bond as teams.


Whilst each of us became progressively more fixated on our respective corners of the group project, regular catch-up sessions were organised throughout each of the days by our facilitator ensuring that we were all aware of each other’s work and how it might relate to our own, and keeping spirits up when things got tough. Beyond this, he ensured that we each documented our contributions such that by the end of Thursday, we had a cohesive report and presentation which we proudly presented to the other participants, challenge owners and academics on Friday morning.


Final presentations were followed by lunch and a well-earned trip to the pub where we were free to let our hair down and pat ourselves on the backs for a frantic (but fun) week of work.

Kia Ora from New Zealand: CDAS students present their work at the International Medical Geography Symposium, Queenstown

LIDA and GeoHealth Lab researchers at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch


This summer, CDAS students Francesca Pontin and Vicki Jenneson from the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) took their research to the other side of the world at the International Medical Geography Symposium (IMGS) in Queenstown New Zealand (1 – 4 July).  Here they summarise their experiences.

“We feel so privileged to have been given the opportunity to present our work as part of a diverse conference programme, which brought together geography, epidemiology and policy. It was an added bonus to have the opportunity to explore New Zealand’s natural beauty, before, during and after the conference.”

Vicki’s journey started in Auckland with a trip to the University of Auckland to meet Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, a key figure in healthy retail interventions. This new connection could lead to exciting future collaboration prospects and add value to the existing relationship with Vicki’s UK retail data partner.

Fran and Vicki then met for two days of workshops at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. They were joined by fellow Leeds students Charlotte Sturley and Rachel Oldroyd as well as supervisor Michelle Morris and LIDA and CDAS director, Mark Birkin.

“It was a pleasure to meet contacts from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and the Canterbury Geohealth Lab and to learn about their unique collaborative model. Along with Rachel and Charlotte, we’ll continue to work closely with the New Zealand team to write an upcoming commentary paper about the health research-policy landscape in New Zealand. We hope that this relationship will continue to grow in the future and look towards the potential for overseas exchanges between LIDA and the Geohealth Lab students and staff.”

After the workshop in Christchurch, it was on to Queenstown for the IMGS conference, but not before an impressive pre-flight Parkrun effort by the team.

Charlotte, Michelle, Rachel and Fran endured -5 degrees at the Hagley Park Parkrun in Christchurch

The Queenstown conference took place in a spectacular setting framed by mountains and Lake Wakatipu. Although a daunting prospect for some of the students it was their first international conference, they were soon encouraged by its friendly and supportive atmosphere. The students embraced the unique opportunity to engage with a diverse global community of multi-disciplinary researchers across health, geography, policy and more. The conference provided a great platform for them to develop their networking skills, and along with their supervisors, Fran and Vicki fostered new and cemented existing connections with researchers both in the UK and worldwide.

The IMGS celebrated cultural diversity, with traditional Māori singing and dancing, while speakers addressed the serious issues of health inequalities affecting indigenous Māori and Pacific populations in New Zealand, providing great context to local problems.

View of Queenstown from the conference venue at dusk

Fran enjoyed presenting her work on the use of smartphone data for monitoring physical activity, and said “It was great to be able to present my research to such a specialist and knowledgeable audience. The ensuing conversation around using commercial smartphone data to monitor activity highlighted the potential such data provides in extending the current sphere of knowledge. IMGS has allowed me to make great connections in the UK and further abroad, with potential collaborations on the horizon.”

Fran Pontin presenting at the IMGS, Queenstown


Of her talk about spatial and demographic patterns in fruit and vegetable purchasing in Leeds, Vicki said: It was a really encouraging experience to see the level of discussion and interest that my talk generated. It motivates me to know that I’m doing something truly new and valuable to the wider research community. The dataset that I’m working with is novel and there was lots of excitement about it; I feel that presenting at IMGS helped to put myself and LIDA on the international scene for healthy food retail and big data research.”

Vicki Jenneson presenting at the IMGS, Queenstown

The students also found time for plenty of downtime to explore the breath-taking surroundings. Day trips were invaluable team-building opportunities which strengthened relationships between students and their supervisors within informal settings including; boat cruises, a very muddy bike ride, a winery tour, climbing mountains, skiing and the conference dinner!

Mark Birkin, Fran Pontin, Michelle Morris and Charlotte Sturley pre-muddy cycle ride

Fran Pontin and Michelle Morris on the summit of Ben Lomond

Students Charlotte Sturley, Rachel Oldroyd, Vicki Jenneson & Fran Pontin with supervisor Michelle Morris

Scenic walk around Lake Wakatipu for LIDA students and staff

The students would like to thank the Leeds for Life Conference Award scheme, the Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy at the School of Geography and their supervisors for their funding and support which enabled them to embark on this exciting experience.

The next IMGS meeting will take place in Edinburgh in 2021. Both Fran and Vicki hope to return to this meeting to present further findings as they approach the end of their PhD research project. The IMGS conference is highly recommended to PhD students with a focus on epidemiology and spatial applications to health research.