To Develop Algorithms with the Objective to Provide Employers and Training Providers (Rubitek’s Customers) with Evidence of Learner Disengagement at a Much Earlier Stage Than a Human May Detect

Qualification: MPhil

Department: Mathematics

Application deadline: Open until filled

Start date: As soon as possible (aligned with University start dates)


This project is a fully-funded one-year industrial MPhil in which you will undertake applied research and development on behalf of a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) in Leicester and Leicestershire.


Professor Jeremy Levesley (Department of Mathematics)
Dr Ayo Akinduko (Leicester Innovation Hub)

Collaborative partner

Rubitek’s flagship software solution, Rubitek Core, is a system designed to reduce the administrative burden and cost of delivery for employers and education providers, whilst better engaging learners and bringing together the support and commitment from everyone involved in each learner's journey. The learner app, in particular, encourages improved learner engagement at every step of the journey.

Project description

The aim of this project is to develop a series of algorithms that will analyse input data from the apprentice/learner and their engagement with the software. These algorithms will be designed to detect changes in behaviour and/or attainment, and flag these as potential indicators of disengagement. This project will transform the learning journey, facilitating much earlier intervention and delivering improved retention and completion outcomes which in time will help to inform national policy around best practice intervention methods.

During the project, you will work closely with the sponsoring Leicestershire-based SME and the University of Leicester.



  • The University of Leicester pays a monthly stipend of £1,166.67 in arrears to the student, totalling £14,000. The funding will be strictly limited to twelve months.
  • The SME pays the University’s one-year full-time MPhil fees upfront before the project starts.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


  • You should have a Bachelor's degree with at least a UK 2:1 in Mathematics, Computer Science, or a related discipline.
  • You should have experience in algorithm development and software programming.
  • University English language requirements apply.

Required skills

  • Data analysis skills and statistical skills are essential for this project.
  • Software testing.
  • Research and network development.
  • Skills in programming languages (Java, Python, c++)
  • Ability to build strong working relationships with core stakeholders (academics, sponsoring SME).
  • Business engagement/development skills and aptitude.
  • Effective spoken English and written skills, in order to communicate effectively.
  • A self-starter who is able to work as part of a team.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Professor Jeremy Levesley

Leicester Innovation Hub enquiries

Jenny Hollis

How to apply

How to apply

To apply please use the Apply button at the bottom of the page.

  • In the funding section of the application, please select 'Studentship' and in the dropdown menu, select 'ERDF MPhil project'.
  • In the 'Personal Statement' section, please indicate clearly why you are interested in undertaking this research project and why you are the best candidate to help deliver the project objectives.
  • In the 'Research Proposal Section' please state: 'Applying for MPhil Project Ref: LIH221 no proposal required'.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview with the academics and the sponsoring SME. Interviews are expected to be held within 14 days of the application deadline.



To qualify for fully-funded support from the SME, you and the University of Leicester academics must fulfil all ERDF and University MPhil degree eligibility criteria.

You must:

  • Be a UK or EU (European Union) national.
  • Have graduated within the last 3 years in a related discipline.
  • Adhere to project confidentiality.
  • Assign any arising IP from the project at the outset.
  • Base your MPhil degree thesis on the research outcomes of the project.
  • Work closely with the SME company to undertake the research project.
  • Deliver monthly progress reports and a comprehensive project report to the University and sponsoring SME in addition to the MPhil thesis.

Each SME project will be delivered by one full-time MPhil student over one year; the MPhil project will have a research focus and will be supervised by two University of Leicester academics (one day a week each; academics are required to complete timesheets).