Developing novel soft computing methodologies to m...

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Developing novel soft computing methodologies to model and predict migration and refugee flows

Eligibility: UK/EU/International

Award Details: No award (self-funding)

Duration: Full Time - 3 years 6 months fixed term

Application deadline: This opportunity will only remain open until a suitable candidate is identified- early application is therefore advised. Standard University research application closing dates apply.

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Dr. Rahat Igbal to discuss this opportunity.

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree with Coventry’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

The Project

The main goal of this research is to develop novel soft computing methodologies based on Fuzzy logic and Fuzzy Cognitive Maps in order to construct systems which combine social, political, economic, geographic and cultural information to predict and model population displacements between countries.

Europe is currently experiencing a massive refugee and migration crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people are currently arriving in and moving through Europe in order to escape the misfortunes of war in the Middle East or the harsh economic reality of developing countries, in a chase of a better and safer life. Europe and especially the reception countries such as Turkey, Greece or Italy were utterly unprepared to deal with an influx of this magnitude. Inadequacy to predict the scale of this crisis and model the refugee flows through Europe is causing escalating problems in the economic and social structures of the entry countries and threatens refugees’ resettling and wellbeing.  Thus, there is a need for tools to aid in the prediction and modelling of refugee flows allowing for better preparation in future crises and in depth understanding of the factors causing and influencing similar phenomena. The existing computational models have not yet addressed successfully modelling of this phenomenon. Hence, this project aims at bridging this gap by developing and applying state of the art machine learning techniques based on Fuzzy Logic and Fuzzy Cognitive Maps in order to construct a novel system to predict and model migration flows.

The main objectives of the project will include the following:

  • Identify the relevant factors causing massive displacements of population and quantify the relationship between those factors and the creation and development of modern migration flows.
  • Develop novel computational methodologies which allow successful modelling of this kind of dynamically evolving phenomenon.
  • Implement a tool for predicting and modelling future population movements.

About The Centre/Department

The Research Institute for Future Transport and Cities has a thriving student community who are integral to the success of the Institute and contribute to our wide-ranging research portfolio.

We take a fresh approach to the challenges facing society by bringing together world-class experts from art and design, human factors, engineering, computer systems and business studies into one focussed Institute. Our work covers automotive, aerospace, maritime and rail transport modes and allows us to take the lead in cross cutting research developing new forms of transport, new forms of manufacturing and new forms of information provision and security. Our research focusses on six key themes:

  • Design
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials & Structures
  • Systems
  • Supply Chain
  • Business Environment

We have a unique position in UK universities – with over 140 research staff and 120 PhD research students in the Institute capitalising on our links with Coventry City and its status as a European Living Lab for transport and our close collaboration and joint initiatives with major stakeholders.

Successful Applicants

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, or
  • A Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with minimum overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a minimum  mark at merit level (60%).
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

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.