Mathematics: UKRI CDT PhD Scholarship at Swansea: social calls in pipistrelle bats

  • Phd
  • Full cost of tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 12 February 2021
Visit Scholarship Website
Mathematics: UKRI CDT PhD Scholarship in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Advanced Computing: ML-aided identification of social calls in pipistrelle bats at wind farms

This scholarship is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Start date: October 2021

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Advanced Computing (AIMLAC) aims at forming the next generation of AI innovators across a broad range of STEMM disciplines. The CDT provides advanced multi-disciplinary training in an inclusive, caring and open environment that nurture each individual student to achieve their full potential. Applications are encouraged from candidates from a diverse background that can positively contribute to the future of our society.

Our doctoral training programme is constructed around three research themes:
  • T1: data from large science facilities (particle physics, astronomy, cosmology)
  • T2: biological, health and clinical sciences (medical imaging, electronic health records, bioinformatics)
  • T3: novel mathematical, physical, and computer science approaches (data, hardware, software, algorithms)

  • First supervisor:¬†Dr Noemi Picco (Mathematics, Swansea University)
  • Second supervisor:¬†Dr Farzad¬†Fathi¬†Zadeh (Computer Science, Swansea University)
  • Potential supervisor/Collaborators:¬†Dr Thomas Woolley (Cardiff University) and Professor¬†Fiona Mathews

Department/Institution: Mathematics / Swansea University 

Research theme: T3: novel mathematical, physical and computer science approaches 

Project description:
Wind turbines are an important threat to bats. We currently do not understand why bats collide with turbine blades, and the rates of collisions seem high relative to the amount of observed activity. Recent studies found that bat activity appears to be higher at turbines than at control sites, and there is limited evidence from the USA using thermal imaging that appears to show repeated approaches of bats to the blades. These pieces of evidence suggest that there may be some attraction to the structures. Earlier this year, a paper was published describing a specific type of social call, produced by common pipistrelle bats, that is associated with chasing behaviour (Götze, Denzinger et al. 2020). We will test the hypothesis that these social calls are more common at wind turbines than at control sites, suggesting that bats may either be chasing other individuals, or indeed the turbine blades.

The student will work on a large dataset of sound files available from >50 wind farms across Britain. Matched control sites are available for a subset (c. 20) of these. Initially, sound analysis can be carried out using methods specifically developed for nonlinear and non-stationary data (Huang et al. 1998). The project would involve adoption of machine learning approaches to data analysis, developing automated pattern recognition workflows to identify bats species and patterns relative to the nature of the call.
Swansea University
This is a scholarship by

Swansea University

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales.

All Scholarships from Swansea University


The typical academic requirement is a minimum of a 2:1 undergraduate degree in biological and health sciences; mathematics and computer science; physics and astronomy or a relevant discipline.

Candidates should be interested in AI and big data challenges, and in (at least) one of the three research themes. You should have an aptitude and ability in computational thinking and methods (as evidenced by a degree in physics and astronomy, medical science, computer science, or mathematics, for instance) including the ability to write software (or willingness to learn it).

This scholarship is open to UK and international candidates (including EU and EEA).


Do you wish to become an international student next year?
Demonstrate your English skills with IELTS.


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual UKRI standard stipend (currently £15,285 for 2020/21).

Additional funding is available for training, research and conference expenses.


Please visit our website for more information.
Apply Now

Sign Up for Scholarship Updates

Get an email every week that 10.000's of students use to get the latest scholarships.