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New Computational Statistics and Data Science PhD open for applications

4 February 2019

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded the School of Mathematics over £6 million to launch a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT). University and industry contributions take total funding for the centre to over £10.5 million.

The CDT, known as COMPASS, is a four-year funded PhD programme with the first cohort of students due to start in late September 2019. The demand for places is expected to be very high, and interested applicants should start the online application as soon as possible.

Students can also attend a special Bristol CDT Open Day on Wednesday 20 February to find out more and talk to our academics.

The funding is part of a record boost of over £50 million to train the next generation of highly-skilled researchers across the University of Bristol. EPSRC has awarded Bristol funding for nine CDTs – the highest number awarded to any university in the country.

The centres will train and equip talented engineering and science students with the skills needed to tackle global challenges such as sustainable energy and cyber security. 43 per cent of EPSRC invested students go on to be employed in business or public services, with 36 per cent going on to work in academia. 

Professor Guy Nason, COMPASS Director, said: “The Institute for Statistical Science is very pleased to have won this major award in the face of immense competition nationally. We are looking forward to welcoming students and providing them with an innovative four-year advanced education programme in computational statistics and data science in our newly refurbished state-of-the-art Fry building.

“COMPASS students will have the opportunity to engage with our internal university partners in medical statistics, social statistics and engineering, and a growing list of prestigious external partners including Adarga, the Atomic Weapons Establishment, CheckRisk, EDF, GCHQ, GSK, the Office for National Statistics, Sciex, Shell, Trainline and the UK Space Agency.”

Professor Jonathan Robbins, Head of the School of Mathematics, said: "The School is enormously proud to announce this investment in the next generation of computational statisticians and data scientists. Our COMPASS students will have the opportunity to pursue a cross-disciplinary PhD programme under the supervision of internationally leading researchers in a sector with a recognised skills gap.

"Following a bespoke training course, students will develop the knowledge and skills to tackle scientific challenges of great relevance to today's and tomorrow's society, from smart meters and the Internet of Things to quantifying uncertainty and predicting the state of the economy."

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, said: “This is an enormous achievement for the University and we are delighted to be increasing our opportunities for postgraduates, to deliver ground-breaking research in STEM disciplines here in Bristol. 

“This outstanding result is a testament to the excellent academic teams, the multi-disciplinary research environment, the development and support framework for our students, and the strong industrial partnerships we have developed over the recent years.”

The UKRI’s Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “Highly talented people are required to tackle key global challenges such as sustainable energy and cyber security and provide leadership across industries and our public services.

“Centres for Doctoral Training provide them with the support, tools and training they need to succeed, and the involvement of 1,400 project partners underlines how much industry and the charity sector value this approach.”

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