PhD Studentship available: Engineering Systems Requirements for Locally Sustainable Communities

PhD studentship available for September/October 2012 or January 2013 start

  • Location: Department of Computer Science, University of Leicester 
  • Supervisors: Dr Ruzanna Chitchyan (Computer Science), Dr Martin Phillips (Geography)
  • Stipend:   £13,590 pa
  • Closing Date:  Open until filled 
  • Interview Date: First week of each month, starting from May 2012, until the position is filled. 

The PhD studentship, jointly funded by EPSRC and the College of Science and Engineering of the University of Leicester, UK, is available at the Department of Computer Science for September/October 2012 start. The funding covers fees and stipend for three years. The amount of the stipend is currently £13,590 per annum. The studentship is intended for a student with home/EU fee status (see the EPSRC rules for student eligibility).

The Department of Computer Science offers a highly collegiate and stimulating environment for research career development. The prospective student will work within an ambitious research team that is internationally recognised and will be expected to contribute to the strong profile of the department through participation in the development and publication of international-quality research results.  

The studentship relates to the university-wide theme of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and provides an opportunity for close interdisciplinary and inter-departmental research. While with the Software-Intensive Systems team at the Department of Computer Science, the prospective student will collaborate with staff in the Nature, Environment, and Society research theme at the Department of Geography, and members of the Department of Media and Communication. The student will also have an opportunity to participate in research activities and collaborate with other related research projects currently run at the department. 

Required and desired qualifications

Applicants should hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent in computer science (or a closely related discipline)and have experience in programming and a good command of English. Experience in requirements elicitation or end-user/community observation and analysis would be an advantage. Applicants are not required to have completed an MSc degree, though holding such a degree (or being in the process of obtaining one) would also be an advantage.

The research project to be conducted is outlined below. 

Research Project Description

Title: Engineering Systems Requirements for Locally Sustainable Communities (using the case study of Local Food Communities) 

While it is quickly becoming evident that the present energy, food, and water production and consumption practices cannot be continued for much longer due to the resource scarcity and harmful by-products of modern practices, we are still not clear how and what should replace these practices. The present research will contribute towards improved understanding of how to tackle such issues of global importance as reduction of waste and transition towards more sustainable living in modern society with support of software-intensive systems.

The aim of this project is to understand the requirements and devise a system development methodology for supporting communities based on locally sustainable practices. As a case study for such system development we will use local food production and consumption practices. 

The project will involve:

  • a study of food production, distribution, and consumption practice patterns in a sample of local communities;
  • eliciting requirements for a software system that will support and promote sustainable local food communities;
  • development of a methodology for delivery of software systems that support local communities in move to self-sustainable practices;
  • development of an example system (for food-related practices) based on this methodology.

Application process:

To apply, please send a CV and a cover letter (explaining why the research topic is of interest to you, how it draws upon your previous experience, and how you would approach the problems to be tackled in the research) by e-mail to Dr. Ruzanna Chitchyan (please replace _at_ and _dot_ appropriately: rc256_at_leicester_dot_ac_dot_uk).


Questions about this research project can be directed to Dr. Ruzanna Chitchyan (please replace _at_ and _dot_ appropriately: rc256_at_leicester_dot_ac_dot_uk).


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