University of Exeter funding: PhD in Infectious Diseases and Comp

PhD in Infectious Diseases and Complex Systems- COM – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3799

About the award


Lead Supervisor:

Dr Leon Danon, Department of Computer Science, University of Exeter

About the Award

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Maths and Physical Sciences, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students, the studentship will cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,009 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Location: Department of Computer Science, Streatham Campus, Exeter

Project Description:

This is an exciting opportunity for a fully-funded PhD position in data science, collective behaviour and infectious disease epidemiology, not tied to any specific project. This PhD will use ideas from data science, statistics, complexity and network theory to develop new methods that address real-world problems. 

An example project: 

The network of interactions between co-circulating infections:

Bacteria and viruses often interact with each other in the host competing for resources and space, and have been shown to modify the ability of the other to transmit. Nevertheless, most studies consider considering pathogen species in isolation. Some disease-causing respiratory tract infections are poly-microbial, resulting from synergistic and antagonistic interactions between pathogens. Few of these interactions are well understood, due to the complexity of the system. Moving beyond this requires taking a dynamic, complex systems approach, inspired by analysis of available data. This project aims to develop a data-driven theoretical framework for understanding the ecology of co-circulating infections in human populations. This is a fundamentally inter-disciplinary project that would suit an ambitious student with interests in epidemiology and disease ecology.

The PhD studentship will be awarded to the best candidate and would suit a highly-motivated student with a background in a quantitative subject (e.g. statistics, physics and mathematics) and an interest in public health, or a student with a background in public health or medicine with an interest in quantitative approaches. The ideal candidate will be one who could take the opportunity to shape the topic and direction of the work.


This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU/International tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For eligible students the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £15,009 per year tax-free stipend.  

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a relevant discipline (e.g. physics, mathematics, statistics, biology). Candidates should demonstrate a keen interest in interdisciplinary science and an interest in infectious diseases.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”. 

  • CV
  • Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • 2 references from referees familiar with your academic work (if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to If we don't receive your references, we will not request them unless you have been shortlisted)
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English
  • The closing date for applications is midnight on 9 December 2019.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus (dates to be confirmed).

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730 or +44 (0)1392 725150.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor.


Application deadline:9th December 2019
Duration of award:per year
Contact: STEMM PGR Admissions