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School of Engineering and Materials Science Research Studentships

Adaptive multi-fidelity robust design optimisation driven by machine learning

Supervisors: Jens-Dominik MUELLER and Andrew BUCHAN

Application Deadline: 10-05-2021

About the Project

The following doctoral studentship is available in the School of Engineering & Materials Science to start in September 2021. For more information on how to apply for this or other funded opportunities available please visit our website:

Title: Adaptive multi-fidelity robust design optimisation driven by machine learning


High-fidelity numerical analysis is computationally expensive. The cost dramatically increases when using e.g. time-resolved unsteady simulations (LES) or including uncertainty quantification. When included in numerical optimisation loops the cost is generally prohibitive for industrial application. Heuristic methods have been developed to sequence different levels of model fidelity in the various design stages, but are difficult to extend to complex systems and novel technology.

The project will extend existing in the PI’s group with Multi-level methods for Uncertainty Quantification to a) include a much wider variety of levels of fidelity ranging from the most expensive unsteady resolution of turbulence to zero-order empirical models and b) include other disciplines such as structure, vibration and heat transfer.

The group has a long-standing experience in sensitivity methods and the particular novelty of the project is the pervasive use of cheap sensitivity information by using adjoint back-propagation through the physical models to obtain error estimates for UQ.

The project will be conducted in collaboration with industrial partner Rolls Royce who will provide guidance, references cases and industrial data.

Prospective Supervisors: Dr Jens-Dominik Mueller & Dr Andrew Buchan


Candidates should usually have an undergraduate degree of 2:1 or above in a relevant subject such as Engineering, Physics, or Computer Science, with at least at least three years relevant full-time employment (or equivalent) prior to applying to the programme. Through the application process, applicants should demonstrate relevant work-based competencies.  

We welcome applicants who have taken a career break.

Candidates without a relevant degree or qualifications below a 2:1 degree can be considered on a case-by-case basis should they have at least five years of relevant work experience post-degree, and through the application process can demonstrate work-based competencies. Depending on the academic study, we may look for at least 10 years of relevant work experience. 

Applicants must: 

  • have been awarded their most recent degree (if any) before September 2018 
  • have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK 
  • have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. For example: 
  • UK nationals
  • EU nationals seeking permanent settlement in the UK
  • nationals of any other country with unrestricted UK immigration status (e.g. indefinite leave to remain) and full-time residence in the UK at the time of application. 


If in doubt please contact us with full details of your degree award dates, nationality, immigration status, and residency since 2018.