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Research Fellow in AI for Maritime Futures

Agents, Interactions & Complexity

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £30,942 to £38,017
Full Time Fixed Term (12 Months)
Closing Date:  Friday 24 July 2020
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1272420FP

Reducing carbon emissions and moving towards clean growth are key goals for the future of the maritime sector. Indeed, in their Maritime 2050 report, the UK’s Department for Transport has set the ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships by at least 50% by 2050. Digitisation and smart ports will be crucial technologies driving this reduction by enabling a data driven and more efficient use of resources. Another major change will be the introduction of a carbon tax which will incentivise the reduction of emissions and can also affect trades for various routes. A number of scenarios are envisioned for the carbon tax.

Against this background, this project aims to use artificial intelligence to model and optimise the shipping routes based on various carbon tax incentives and other carbon-reducing objectives. The exact nature of the future carbon tax and other incentives is unclear, and the aim is to investigate multiple scenarios based on current reports to determine the most likely scenario. The scenarios should be based on existing datasets and modelled using techniques such as agent-based modelling and machine learning. The project will start by modelling a single route, and then move onto multiple routes and interactions between them. Finally, there will be opportunities to include other stakeholders, such as competition and trading, thereby considering game theoretical aspects.

The project is a collaboration between Shell Maritime and the newly formed Centre for Maritime Futures (CMF) at the University of Southampton. The CMF is an interdisciplinary centre and part of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. The successful applicant will be based in the Agents, Interaction and Complexity (AIC) Research Group in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).

In addition to research, an important part of the role is to interact with Shell Maritime and Shipping, and to become familiar with the maritime domain.

To be successful you will have a PhD* or equivalent professional qualification and experience in one of the following:- artificial intelligence, computer science, engineering, operations research and have an excellent publication record and relevant experience in optimisation, artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems and/or game theory. A desirable but not essential criteria is knowledge of the maritime/shipping domain. You will work with Shell as well as academics in the CMF, and must be able to convey complex technical research results and ideas to non-experts. For any questions regarding this position please contact Dr Enrico Gerding at

* Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD.Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Multi-Agent Systems, Game Theory, Agent-Based Modelling, Machine Learning, Optimisation, Maritime, Shipping, CO2 emissions, Environment

Equality, diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in the School of Electronics and Computer Science. We particularly encourage women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), LGBT and disabled applicants to apply for this position. We are committed to improving equality for women in science and have been successful in achieving an  Athena SWAN bronze award in April 2020.   We give full consideration to applicants that wish to work flexibly including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy*, onsite childcare facilities

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  Our vision is to embed the principles of sustainability into all aspects of our individual and collective work, integrating sustainable development into our business planning, policy-making, and professional activities.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

*subject to qualifying criteria

Application procedure:

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Charlene Tyson (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 6803. Please quote reference 1272420FP on all correspondence.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder: Electronics and Computer Science

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Further details:

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.

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