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PhD Studentship (ESRC South Coast DTP) - Estimating populations without a national census: A spatial simulation approach to develop and validate new methodologies

Geography & Environment

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £14553
Annual stipend of £14553 (2017/18 RCUK rate) plus payment of programme fees
Closing Date:   Wednesday 31 January 2018
Reference:  SCDTP946417WR

Estimating populations without a national census: A spatial simulation approach to develop and validate new methodologies

A fully funded studentship awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) commencing in 2018/19 Academic Year.

Supervisory Team:

Professor Andrew Tatem (Geography & Environment) (, Doctor Warren Jochem (Geography & Environment)

Census data are fundamental for planning and evaluating development strategies, but in many less-development countries, these data are outdated and inaccurate. To provide spatially-accurate and up-to-date population estimates, this project will advance geostatistical modelling methods that combine satellite imagery and GPS-located household surveys. Specifically, the project will 1) develop realistic simulated populations under scenarios including urbanisation and growth/migration, and 2) use these datasets to develop and validate methods to design representative samples of population density. Outcomes of this project will contribute to ongoing work with UNFPA, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DFID and national statistics offices in several countries.

Skills Required

The potential student must have experience in using geographic information systems (GIS) and/or remote sensing, and a knowledge of statistics and one or more programming languages (especially Python or R, but could include C/C++ or Java). Experience in creating computer simulations or agent-based models is desirable.


South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £14553 (2017/18 RCUK 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 11.59pm 31st January 2018.  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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