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SCDTP Studentship - Environmental, political, and socioeconomic determinants of deforestation using Machine Learning and Big Data

Southampton Business School

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £15,009
(19/20 UKRI rate)
Closing Date:  Thursday 23 January 2020
Reference:  1203919TR

Environmental, political, and socioeconomic determinants of deforestation using Machine Learning and Big Data

A fully funded studentship awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) commencing in 2020/21 Academic Year.

Supervisory Team:

Dr. Mario P. Brito (, expert in risk analysis and risk management), Dr. Renatas Kizys (UoS, expert in Energy and Environmental Economics and Finance) and Dr. Sercan Ozcan (UoP expert in text intelligence and machine learning) will form the supervisory team.

Deforestation has irreversible devastating consequences to society. It is imperative to explain the drivers of deforestation and their impact. This project will develop advanced predictive models based on sentiment analysis to establish what social elements play a role in deforestation. Machine learning techniques for sentiment analysis will be developed to extend existing spatial lag models that are based on only econometric data.

Skills Required

The candidate will have a first degree in a computing or mathematics related discipline (e.g., statistics, engineering, etc.), and a good Master’s degree in a business, economics, computer science or statistics related discipline. Knowledge of a mathematical simulation package, relevant computer programming language (e.g., Python, R or other), and of sentiment analysis knowledge is highly desirable. Potential candidates might also start as MSc students under the integrated MSc+ PhD Programme (1+3).


South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £15009 (2019/20 UKRI rate), plus payment of all programme fees.  Other funding available for SCDTP funded students can be found on the SCDTP website (

Funding is provided for 3 years full-time PhD study (pro-rata for part-time students).  Applications for 1+3 funding for students completing a Master's year prior to the commencement of PhD study are also welcome (details available at

Application Procedure

The closing date and time for applications is 4.00pm on 23rd January 2020.  The full application procedure, the funding application form, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at:

For further information about this project, please contact the lead supervisor detailed above.  For questions relating to the application procedure, or for more information about the SCDTP, please visit the SCDTP website or contact us at

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

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