CSE Project: High-level search methodologies for problem solving in industrial applications

Qualification: PhD

Department: School of Informatics

Application deadline: 20th October 2021

Start date: September 2022



Dr John Drake and Professor Edmund Burke

Project description:

Optimisation problems often explore a search space which is too large to enumerate and exhaustively search for an optimal solution. Various heuristics and metaheuristics have been applied successfully to problems of this nature. One drawback of such approaches is the necessity to manually adapt the method used to solve different problem domains or classes of problem. Hyper-heuristics are a class of high-level search techniques which aim to raise the level of generality at which search methods operate. The last decade or so has seen sustained research effort devoted to developing hyper-heuristic methods, much of which is a result of pioneering work done by researchers at Leicester. This project will apply hyper-heuristic methods to real-world combinatorial optimisation problems in collaboration with industrial partners at BT (British Telecom), reducing the time required to develop such methods and the burden on the human involved in the development cycle.



College of Science and Engineering Studentship.

The studentship will offer 3.5 years funding providing

  • Stipend at UKRI rates (for 2021 this is currently £15,609)
  • Tuition fees at UK rates* (for 2021 this is currently £4,500)
  • RTSG

*Applicants not eligible for UK fee rates can apply but will need to pay the difference between UK and Overseas fee rates. 

As a guide the difference in UK and Overseas fees for 2021 is £16,325 but will be slightly higher for 2022/3 entry.


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject.  

The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.


Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Project / Funding Enquiries: CSEPGR@leicester.ac.uk 

Application and Fee enquiries to pgradmissions@le.ac.uk 


How to apply

How to apply

To apply please use the Apply button at the bottom of the page and select September 2022

With your application, please include:

  • CV
  • Personal statement explaining your interest in the project, your experience and why we should consider you
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable
  • In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available.

In the funding section, please specify  CSE-Drake in the space provided

In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisors and project title (you do not need a research proposal)




Open to UK and non UK applicants.

Applicants not eligible for UK Fees will need to pay the difference between UK and Overseas fees themselves. Please refer to the funding section for details.