Funded PhD studentship in Engineering/Computer Science: Gamification of Optimisation of Water Distribution Systems Ref: 2617

About the award

Location: Streatham Campus, University of Exeter & University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Dragan Savic

Secondary Supervisor: Prof. Ed Keedwell

Project Description:

Applications are invited for the above PhD studentship in Engineering/Computer Science in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. This interdisciplinary studentship is part of a larger project with the Centre for Water Systems ( to develop an interactive evolutionary algorithm system for the optimisation of water systems.  Working with the project team and several industrial partners, the studentship will involve the integration of water modelling and interactive evolution systems into a serious game application, allowing players to develop solutions to real-world water systems problems in an engaging, massively multiplayer environment. Through the development of the game we hope to harness the power of crowd-sourcing to solve difficult engineering problems, an approach that is well established in other areas such as bioinformatics (e.g. see ‘Foldit’ and ‘Phylo’). An additional research area will be to investigate the potential for Artificial Intelligence techniques known as evolutionary algorithms to work with human and crowd-sourced knowledge to deliver highly optimal solutions to difficult problems in the water industry.

Academic Entry Requirements:
This studentship is part of a larger project involving the investigators named below, a number of industrial organisations, and two postdoctoral researchers. Applicants should therefore be comfortable working as a member of a team and possess a strong background in Engineering or Computer Science. Applicants must have a first or upper second class undergraduate honours degree, MSc or equivalent, and will preferably have some expertise in water system hydraulic modelling, game development, mobile computing and AI methodologies (e.g. evolutionary computing).

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

Contact for informal enquiries:
Should you wish to discuss the above project informally, please contact Prof. Ed Keedwell ( or Prof. Dragan Savic (


Application deadline:4th June 2017
Number of awards:1
Value:3.5 year studentship including UK/EU/International tuition fees plus a stipend equivalent to the RCUK rate (£14,553 for 2017/18)
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Postgraduate Research

How to apply

To apply, complete the online form. You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter and details of two academic referees. Your covering letter should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project.

You may also be asked to upload verified transcripts of your most academic qualification.

Interviews will be held early June 2017.