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Stochastic Decision Models that account for Motivation and Risk attitude, with Application to Maritime Shipping (“MOORING”)

Decision Analytics & Risk

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Saturday 27 July 2019
Reference:  1155119TR

Project Title: Stochastic Decision Models that account for Motivation and Risk attitude, with Application to Maritime Shipping (“MOORING”).

Research group: Centre for Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems (CORMSIS) and Decision Analytics and Risk (DAR), Southampton Business School

Project type: Standard full-time PhD project lasting 3 years (and to be completed within 4 years maximum).

Supervisory team: Dr Patrick Beullens, Prof Huifu Xu, Prof Dominic Hudson.

Start date: October 1st, 2019. Full-time 3 years PhD study (to be completed within 4 years maximum). 

Closing date: 27 July 2019

Project description

The methodology in this PhD is optimisation modelling and sits on the boundary between Data Analytics on the one hand, and Operational Research/ Management Science on the other hand. The area of application is International Maritime Shipping with a view to support decision making about ship selection and performance optimisation in a context of increased environmental performance awareness.

Stochastic optimisation models are developed with a view to better understand how to elicit and then integrate into the models the motivation of the decision maker or other relevant players, in particular with respect to (1) risk attitude and (2) willingness to pay for a product or service. The main aim is to develop prescriptive optimisation methods that can better support the decision maker’s goals. A secondary aim is to test descriptive models to better understand why actual decision making processes may lead to suboptimal performance. 

The developed methods will find application in a range of settings. For this project, the development is made in conjunction with its application to ship selection and performance optimisation in international (bulk cargo and tanker) shipping. Shipping operators usually do not own the ship and have to make choices with respect to ship selection, contract specification, and operational decisions under great uncertainty about the evolution of key data. In addition, these decisions may be affected by a range of potential disruptive changes within the next twenty years from legislative bodies and shipping organisations in a bid to tackle environmental challenges. 

This research will benefit from already ongoing research in this area of ship operations optimisation between the supervisors. Dr Beullens is in both Mathematical Sciences (OR) and Southampton Business School (DAR), Prof Xu is in Mathematical Sciences (OR), and Prof Hudson is Shell Professor of Ship Safety and Efficiency at the University of Southampton.

The project will require an aptitude for mathematical modelling and experimentation on computer as well as a desire to integrate this with elements of decision theory (e.g. game theory). The interested candidate would have multiple options for model development and can proceed with those approaches that fit him/her best.

A background in Operational Research, Management Science, Statistics, Finance, Computer Science, Physics, or an Engineering discipline may help. 

Funding Notes

This project is supported by a PhD studentship of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) and the Southampton Business School. 

The successful candidate will be funded at the level of a UK/EU full-time PhD scholarship for the duration of 3 years. The PhD is expected to be completed within 4 years maximum.

References

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the disciplines of Decision Analytics and Risk (Southampton Business School), Operational Research (Mathematical Sciences), and Ship Science (Engineering and Physical Sciences) at the University of Southampton.

The methodological approaches in this PhD research are situated within the interdisciplinary research umbrella of the Centre for Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems (CORMSIS), https://www.southampton.ac.uk/cormsis/ 

The area of application of this PhD research fits within the aims of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), https://www.southampton.ac.uk/smmi/ 

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr Patrick Beullens (P.Beullens@soton.ac.uk) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and a cover letter. 

How to Apply

Formal applications can be completed online here: 

https://studentrecords.soton.ac.uk/BNNRPROD/bzsksrch.P_Search

You must apply for the 'PhD Business Studies & Management' programme (Full-time) and clearly state the project title on your application form.

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