School of Computing

Funded PhD Project in Machine Learning and Health Research

The School of Computing is currently inviting applications for a three-year PhD scholarship in machine learning applied to medical data, in partnership with the Centre for Health Services Studies.

We invite applications for three year, funded PhD degrees.

The PhD Project

The successful candidate will do research on machine learning methods and their application to medical data. The target data, managed by the Centre for Health Service Studies, includes details of diagnosis and treatments for a large number of patients. Machine learning has the potential to discover new predictive relationships in such data, which could ultimately support medical researchers and clinicians to design or implement better diagnosis and treatments for some patients. This project offers an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to become an expert in machine learning, whilst at the same time acquiring research experience in medical applications of machine learning and potentially contributing to the discovery of new patterns in real-world medical data.

The successful candidate will benefit from an interdisciplinary supervision team: the principal supervisor will be Prof. Alex Freitas, Professor of Computational Intelligence at the School of Computing; and the co-supervisor will be Prof. Chris Farmer, Clinical Professor at the Centre for Health Service Studies.

Note that, since this project will lead to a PhD degree in Computer Science, the successful candidate will have to design, implement (in program code) and evaluate some new type of machine learning method, rather than just using existing machine learning methods. The evaluation of the new machine learning method will be performed from two complementary perspectives. First, using standard evaluation criteria in machine learning – such as predictive accuracy measures, statistical analysis, and comparison with state-of-the-art existing methods. Second, interpreting the machine learning results in collaboration with the co-supervisor, in the context of the relevant medical literature.

The School of Computing, University of Kent

The School of Computing has a reputation for high-quality research, with over 40 current PhD students. Our research activity is wide ranging and takes place within focused Research Groups which provide a vibrant research community for all members, staff or student.

The School of Computing was ranked highly in the recent government run Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. Our research intensity was ranked 12th out of 89, with superb impact – 100% of our research impact ranked world leading or internationally excellent.

The University of Kent is a leading university with a commitment to excellence in teaching and research. As the UK's European university, it is committed to creating a global student and staff community that advances knowledge and stimulates intellectual creativity, and performs at the highest levels.

Kent is ranked 21st in the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Table of Tables’ 2017 and it has twice been awarded the highly prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
The School is committed to the Athena Swan Scheme. This is a national scheme whereby universities commit to advancing and promoting the careers of female scientists.

Start Date and Funding

The expected start date is 1 October 2018.

The scholarship award will cover a maintenance grant plus tuition fees at the home/EU rate. The scholarship award is available to UK, EU and overseas students. However, note that the type of tuition fees covered by the scholarship is only the fees at the home/EU rate, so overseas students would need to have another source of funding to cover the difference between the fees at the home/EU and the overseas rate.

In the 2017-18 academic year, the maintenance grant was £14,553 and fees at the home/EU rate were £4,179 making a total of £18,732. The maintenance grant and fees are reviewed annually.

Scholarships are normally awarded annually for three years (36 months) for a full-time PhD student, subject to satisfactory progression through each year of study. They are awarded on a competitive basis and interview performance will be taken into account.

Support for research students includes:

  • regular supervision meetings
  • a research training programme
  • computer equipment
  • a desk in an office
  • funds for conference travel

How to Apply

Deadline: Friday 15 June 2018

Applications should be made through the: University of Kent online admissions form with the PhD Project text, given above, pasted into the "Reasons for study" section.

We will need to receive from you:

  • Certificates and transcripts (with course marks/grades) of all university degree studies,
  • Research proposal on a selected topic including a mini literature review, a proposed methodology, a work plan and a bibliography,
  • Properly formatted CV, including your full list of publications (if any) and
  • The names and email addresses of two academic referees


For technical queries about the project, email Professor Alex Freitas ( and/or Professor Chris Farmer (
For queries regarding the application procedure, email the PG-Research admissions officer: Laura Bocchi

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824180 or contact us.

Last Updated: 22/05/2018