Data mining for mixed methods energy data sets - d...

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Data mining for mixed methods energy data sets - dealing with uncertainty and calibrating the “human sensor”

Eligibility: UK/EU/International students with the required entry requirements

Award Details: £15000 bursary plus tuition fees

Duration: Full Time - between 3 years and 3 years 6 months fixed term

Application deadline: 30th June

Interview dates: TBC

Start date: September 2018

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Professor Elena Gaura to discuss this opportunity.


Coventry University has been voted ‘Modern University of the Year’ three times running by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide. Ranked in the UK’s top 15 (Guardian University Guide), we have a global reputation for high quality teaching and research with impact. Almost two-thirds (61%) of our research was judged ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. By joining the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing (EEC), you will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and partnerships with relevant industry and other third parties.

The Project

The project will look at the challenges and opportunities of inferring knowledge from and/or making decisions based on diverse datasets such as those obtained from energy systems and questionnaires.

There is a wide availability of low-cost wireless networkable sensors that can gather data about environments, human behaviours and interactions between people and common life objects. Dedicated networks can be built to collect detailed data over long periods of time. However, much of our understanding about human behaviour has come from surveys, interviews, focus groups and ethnographic studies. New methodologies that correctly analyse diverse, mixed datasets (sensor based and survey based) are critical to enhance our understanding of human behaviour, needs and aspirations, and drive decisions in response to a number of development challenges.

You will focus on Energy – one of the 17 Global Goals for sustainable Development – and will work within the EPSRC HELP-Refugee project, researching into understanding energy needs and providing new technical solutions for displaced populations in Rwanda and Nepal.

You will have access to energy survey data collected by the project team as well as data streamed from hundreds of wireless sensors embedded in deployed energy interventions (such as mobile lanterns, cookstoves, street lights and microgrids).

Working with an interdisciplinary team of scientists, your work will be supported by a number of project collaborators (Practical Action, NGO and Scene - a social IT enterprise pioneering solutions in the energy sector).

During the project, you will undertake field work, as well as taking up challenges that naturally come with interdisciplinarity. You will develop as a researcher, scientists and individual, through a structured learning programme that encourages you to use your strengths while gaining new skills. During your PhD, you are expected to make both theoretical contributions to the field as well as perform real-life evaluation of the innovations in scenarios offered by the HELP project.


  • £15000 bursary plus tuition fees  - UK/EU/International
  • For the academic year 2018/19, any English student who is not part of a research council can borrow up to £25,000 to help cover the cost of their PhD tuition fees. Further details can be found here.


  • Our research strategy is underpinned by a £250m investment in research and facilities
  • Dedicated Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability Development delivers high quality professional support for researchers, from PhD to Professor
  • Free training: research career planning, managing your doctorate, research communication skills, research ethics, research impact, research integrity, research methods and research supervision
  • Coventry is a member of the Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA), the largest multi-partner and only nationwide doctoral training initiative of its kind.

Entry Requirements

Successful applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with  a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • In the event of a first degree classification of less than 2:1, a Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at minimum merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at minimum merit level (60%), plus
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year period of study
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


  • Relevant degree in Mathematics, Computer Science disciplines or Social sciences
  • A desire and ability to work across disciplines and in an interdisciplinary subject area focusing on data and mixed research methodologies - essential
  • Programming skills in a language/tool of choice---essential
  • Strong Mathematics or Statistics background---essential
  • Demonstrable experience with data analysis and data processing principles and tools---essential
  • The desire to participate in field work---essential
  • Working knowledge of machine learning tools and techniques ---desirable.

Eligibility & Application Procedure


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.