Funded PhD opportunities

An Investigation into the Sustainable Time Dependent Vehicle Routing Problem with Loading Constraints

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK/International)
  • Department: Mathematics
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Xiang Song, Dr Djamila Ouelhadj

Project code: MPHY4180218

Project description

The Sustainable Time-Dependent Routing and Loading Problem (STDRL) consists of routing a fleet of vehicles in order to serve a set of customers and determining the speeds and loads on each leg of the routes with a number of loading constraints considered. The cost function includes fuel, emission and driver costs, taking into account traffic congestion which, at peak periods, significantly restricts vehicle speeds and increases emissions.

Traffic congestion occurs when the capacity of a particular transportation link is insufficient to accommodate an incoming flow at a particular point in time. Congestion has a number of adverse consequences, including longer travel times and variations in trip duration which result in decreased transport reliability, increased fuel consumption and more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is known that CO2 emissions are proportional to fuel consumption and depend on vehicle speed and vehicle load. Heavy congestion results in low speeds with fluctuations, often accompanied by frequent acceleration and deceleration, and greatly contributes to CO2 emissions.

The PhD candidate is expected to implement a number of local search algorithms and Variable Neighbourhood search (VNS) algorithms combining with column generation technique to provide realistic solutions to a complicated case study from the company by taking uncertain factors (stochastic travelling time) into consideration. The PhD candidate can collect the data through visiting the company.  If the candidate has no prior knowledge about Operational Research and or C++ programming, it is recommended that the student take some relevant training prior to the start of the PhD study.

Supervisor profiles

Xiang Song

Djamila Ouelhadj

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.  


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Xiang Song at (02392 846427) or Djamila Ouelhadj at  (02392 846355).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students who are committed to develop outstanding research outcomes. You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

Applications should include:

- Full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application

- Contact details for two referees able to comment on your academic performance

- Research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

- Proof of English language proficiency (for EU/ International students)

When applying, please quote project code: MPHY4180218

Interview date: TBC

Start date: October 2018.

Funding notes

The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

The above applies for Home/EU students only.

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