Project code



School of Computing

Start dates

October, February and April

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Computing and will be supervised by Prof. Adrian Hopgood, Dr Jana Ries, and Dr Alan Tait.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Interdisciplinary research, involving AI and business
  • Diverse forms of AI in a multiagent model
  • Optimisation techniques

This project concerns the development of artificial intelligence (AI) for high-level strategic management. Typical AI projects to date have been narrowly constrained and highly operational, so the project will require a technological and intellectual step forward. 

As strategic management requires a broad range of perspectives, with balanced oversight, it is ideally suited to modelling with a multiagent approach using the blackboard framework. The different aspects of strategic management can be modelled by independent specialised software agents that inform the overall judgements. The established academic models typically include stages such as analysis, strategy formulation, goal setting, structure, and control/feedback. 

The use of the balanced scorecard is proposed as a complementary strategic planning and management decision-making tool. Individual optimisations may use genetic algorithms with a performance function derived from the balanced scorecard, while the multi-agent framework will draw together the multiple strategic perspectives.

Prof Hopgood has led the design and implementation of a software framework that would be suited to this challenge, subject to further development within the scope of the project. Known as DARBS (Distributed Algorithmic and Rule-based Blackboard System), it allows a variety of different software tools to work collaboratively as independent intelligent agents.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.  English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

  • Background in computer science, software engineering, information systems, or a related subject
  • A keen interest in business and management
  • Excellent interpersonal and organisational skills

How to apply

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Computing PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.