Biological Sciences: Fully Funded EPSRC and Swansea PhD Scholarship: Deciphering microbiome complexity using biological big data and artificial intelligence (RS454)
Closing date: 26 January 2024
Funding providers: EPSRC and Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering
Subject areas: Microbiology, computational biology, artificial intelligence
Project start date:
- 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)
- 1 January 2025 (Enrolment open from mid-December)
- Dr Eva Sonnenschein, Department of Biosciences (primary- firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Professor Xianghua Xie, Department of Computer Science (secondary)
Aligned programme of study: PhD in Biological Sciences
Mode of study: Full-time
Microorganisms are pivotal to most biological processes, including biogeochemical cycles, human health, food production and wastewater treatment, in so-called microbiomes. Due to the vast number of distinct microbial strains in each microbiome elucidating the role of microbial interactions in shaping microbiome function using traditional low-through put techniques is deemed an insurmountable task. The aim of this PhD project is to combine cutting-edge laboratory and computational technologies to address this challenge.
The PhD candidate will use 1) high throughput lab automation to isolate and co-cultivate microorganisms. Using 2) artificial intelligence-based image analysis, they will identify the individual modes of microbial interactions. This data will form the basis of a 3) machine learning model that considers microbial characteristics, interaction intricacies, and specific features. The goal is to predict and verify interactions of three or more microbes, enhancing model accuracy and iteratively reconstructing complex microbiomes.
The project will investigate the microalgal microbiome, an environmentally and industrially important ecological system for carbon cycling, waste bioremediation and production of high-value compounds.
Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level in Biosciences or a related subject, or a master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’ (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency.
English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 6.0) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. Full details of our English Language policy, including certificate time validity, can be found here.
This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.
EPSRC DTP studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students, once the limit has been reached, we are unable to make offers to international students. We are still accepting applications from international applicants. International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements.
Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website.
ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer.
If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email email@example.com with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in.
This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24).
Additional research expenses will also be available.
How to Apply
To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:
- Course choice – please select Biological Sciences / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / October
In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.
- Start year – please select 2024
- Funding (page 8) –
- ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
- ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS454 - Big Data & AI'
*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.
One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.
We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University:
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Monitoring Form (online form)
As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email):
- Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
- A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
- Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
- Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
- Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
- Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional)
Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Eva Sonnenschein (email@example.com).
*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.