Creating new customer segments using machine learning skills that the space centre currently lacks with the objective to gain new insights into audiences from different backgrounds.

Qualification: PhD

Department: School of Mathematics and Actuarial Science

Application deadline: Open until filled

Start date: As soon as possible


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.


Prof Jeremy Levesley  (Mathematics) 

Dr Will Darler (School of Business)

This proposed industrial MPhil will complete a wider project under development at the National Space Centre (funded by the Wellcome Trust) with the objective to make significant organisational change on the Centre, the focus of which being community engagement with five areas of the city that currently do not engage with the Centre due to scales of multiple deprivation.

  • The challenge. The Centre’s marketing team understands the current visitor thanks to Acorn/Mosaic/Cameo profiling and budgets are spent targeting those who are receptive to the messaging, however, the financial and knowledge constraints don’t allow the team to understand these new communities and the other larger non-visiting segments.  
  • The proposed solution. The 12 month industrial MPhil will allow the marketing team at the National Space Centre to utilise new data analysis techniques in order to organize data from different sources mine for new insights into audiences from different backgrounds  (social inclusion, future strategic planning). 
  • The planned outcome.  The industrial Mphil will assist the National Space Centre to make positive organisational change, support communities within the city and beyond, as well as create a legacy infrastructure for the marketing team to use going forward.

Collaborative Partner:

This Industrial MPhil is funded by the Leicester Innovation Hub (through European Development Fund monies) and the sponsoring organisation, NSSC Operations Ltd  (National  Space Centre). 



The studentship provides:

Stipend of £1,166.67 per month for 12 months (total Stipend £14,000) 

Tuition Fees at UK/EU rates for 12 months.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


  • Bachelor Degree with at least a UK 2.1 with a significant statistics and coding component

  • Experience in working in a business environment is an advantage.

  • The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

Required Skills

  • Experience in application of statistical methods to real world problems
  • Experience with R, Python, SQL desirable but not essential
  • Experience in market segmentation is a plus
  • Ability to build strong working relationships with core stakeholders (academics, sponsoring SME, and third sector organisations).
  • Business engagement/development skills and aptitude. 
  • Effective English oral 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

Informal Enquiries

Prof Jeremy Levesley or 

Dr Will Darler

Application enquiries

PGR Admissions

Leicester Innovation Hub enquiries

Jenny Hollis

How to apply

How to apply

You should submit your application using the link 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: LIH280 Supervisor Prof Levelsey.  

  • You do not need to include a research proposal.



The Leicester Innovation Hub is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).    

The MPhil student must:

  • be a UK or EU (European Union) national
  • have graduated within the last 3 years in a related discipline

  • adhere to project confidentiality

  • at the start of the project assign any arising IP from the project

  • base their 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.