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Intelligent Systems Doctoral Programme

Application Process
Possible Projects
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Programme Overview

The programme will provide an opportunity for students to actively learn and engage as a researcher in this field which contributes to the future development of Intelligent Systems. There will be various research groups from across the faculty and university who will be active researcher for the doctoral programme.  

  • Centre for Computational Intelligence (CCI) 
  • De Montfort University’s Interdisciplinary Group in Intelligent Transport Systems (DIGITS),
  • Virtual reality and assisted Living interest group (VirAL)

There will be two major research themes carried out in the DTP:
1) studying Computational Intelligence (CI) methods (theoretical research);
2) applying CI methods and/or developing IS to solve real-world problems (application research).

The standard offer of a PhD place at De Montfort University is on to a four year doctoral programme. All students on the Doctoral Programme are research students of De Montfort University and are subject to the University's Code of Practice. You should always consult this when you submit any paperwork, such as your registration, transfer, extension requests etc. to ensure you are filling in the correct form.

Application Process

Applicants should complete the Application Form and submit it to De Montfort University. Reference forms should be passed to the two referees for completion.

The admission points onto the Doctoral Programme are 1 October, 1 January and 1 April.

Applications are accepted for full time (typically 36-48 months) and part-time (typically 56-66 months) modes.

It is possible for students based overseas to study on the 'International Programme' where the students spends almost all their time in their home country. However, the admission requirements for such students are higher than they are for students who study in Leicester, an experienced local supervisor to the student is also required.


Supervision in the doctoral programme is carried out in teams consisting of at least a first and second supervisor. In many cases we will have an additional second supervisor and external advisors. This is due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research, which often requires different areas of expertise.

In Year 1, semester 1 - students will study the IMAT5120 Research Methods module currently offered to MSc students in the Faculty of Technology. In Year 2, they will study on the proposed Quantitative Methods workshop, which will be delivered over 4 half day periods, the PhD course Typesetting Document with LaTeX , and/or the Non-parametric Statistics Inference for Computational Intelligence course.
Also in Year 1, In collaboration with supervisors, students will be advised to study one additional module per semester from MSc programmes. Potential modules from MSc in Intelligent Systems and MSc in Intelligent Systems with Robotics:

  • AI Programming  (Programming in logic)
  • Fuzzy Logic
  • Evolutionary Computing
  • Neural Networks
  • Data Mining (for SAS training needs)
  • Proposed new module in Applications of CI to Transport Systems.
  • Proposed new module on advanced quantitative methods for research in CI

Or modules from the following MScs:

  • MSc in Business Intelligence & Data Mining
  • MScs offered by the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)
  • MSc in Forensic Computing
  • MSc in Security
  • Potentially some modules from MScs offered by the Leicester De Montfort Law school.

In Year 2 , Students will focus on the seminar presentations of results. These will take place monthly and will be organised by the student group. Students can still attend further MSc modules if there are more that are appropriate for their area of study.

Possible Projects

The Faculty of Technology and DMU have gained competitive funding for a number of research and application projects relevant to intelligent systems. Some current projects are listed below:

2/2013–2/2017: “Evolutionary Computation for Dynamic Optimisation in Network Environments”

12/2008–open ended: “VenueSim ̶̶  Modelling Customer Behaviour in Large Venues”

9/2011-8/2014: “Smart Maintenance & Analysis of Transport Infrastructure (SMARTRAIL)”.

12/2011–11/2014: “Intelligent Solutions Sustaining Urban Economies (THE ISSUE)”.

On-going: “Integrated Traffic Management and Air Quality Control Using Space Services (iTRAQ)”.

Ongoing: “Surgeon Training: integration of haptic devices with game technologies”.

04/2011-3/2014: “Expert System Development for the Detection of Melanoma (Skin Cancer)”.

Newly funded: “Computational Identification of Skin Types”.

Public engagement and research impact:

    • The eye-gaze interaction research has been featured on the BBC in Feb 2012 (‘Eye-controlled computer games for disabled children', and the Central China Television (, 22 March 2012.
    • The project 'Low Cost Eye Tracking for Commercial Gaming' at the CCI was a nominated finalist in the Consumer Category at The Engineer Science and Technology Innovation awards in 2011.
    • The VenueSim project at the CCI has been nominated alongside Northrop Grumman for a prestigious award at the ATC Global conference, as an ATC Global Excellence Awards 2013 Finalist for the category Industry Partnership of the Year.
    • Researchers of the CCI have won the best paper award in the leading journal in fuzzy logic (IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems) and twice the British Computer Society Machine Intelligence awards
    • A robot built by a team consisting of Dr Ben Passow, Dr Simon Coupland and PhD student David Croft from the CCI has taken victory at the 2013 Robot Challenge in Vienna.
    • DIGITS organises a number of transport related events. Below is two recent events:
    • Getting About in Leicester: This seminar, which was lead by Dr Eric Goodyer from DMU's DIGITS research group, brought people together to discuss key challenges facing our towns and cities.
    • The Issue: The workshop brought together representatives from some of the region's most innovative technology-based companies with local and regional authority policy makers and key researchers from regional universities. The workshop explored how, through more cross sector collaborative working, new technology could be used to ease urban traffic congestion, help reduce carbon emissions, and improve the impact of transport on the local economy, air quality and public health.
    • During the past two years developing the iTRAQ concept, working on THE-ISSUE, and other high-level projects, we have worked very closely with a number of local authorities towards making a positive change in their traffic management and air quality control, as well as improving health.
    • The work conducted by Dr Sarah Greenfield under the supervision of Prof. Francisco Chiclana received two awards: Finalist in the Anita Borg Scholarships 2010, and Third prize (£2000) in DMU's Creative Thinking Awards 2010, for the Greenfield-Chiclana Collapsing Defuzzifier.
    • Prof. Francisco Chiclana is classed as one of the Most Cited Scientists in Engineering, with a total of six (6) papers currently classed as highly cited (ISI WoK - Essential Science Indicators - Updated 01-03-2013). Additionally, four (4) more of his papers were classed as highly cited paper in the closed period 1998-2008, and 2001-2011, respectively.
    • Prof. Francisco Chiclana was finalist in the first DMU OSCAR Awards in the Research Excellence category hold in 2012.
    • VirAL organises an international workshop on assisted living technologies (ALT) with the first one being held in DMU in Nov. 2012. The workshop has brought together not only the expertise from all the faculties within DMU but also from Universities in UK, Europe and charities in UK.
    • Dr Huseyin Seker has been invited to be the Special Session Chair for IEEE BIBE 2013, one of the most prestigious and well established conferences in its field, is chairing the International Conference on Applied Informatics for Health and Life Sciences, 9-11 September 2013, Istanbul, Turkey, and has been invited to give several keynote speeches at conferences recently.
    • Prof. Shengxiang Yang is the co-founder of the IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Dynamic and Uncertain Environments, the Founding Chair of the IEEE CIS Task Force on Intelligent Network Systems (TF-INS), and the Chair of the IEEE CIS Task Force on CI in Dynamic and Uncertain Environments (TF-ECiDUE). He is Member of the Editorial Board of the MIT journal Evolutionary Computation and three other international journals. He has given invited keynote speeches in several international conferences.
    • Dr Samad Ahmadi is the founder of IEEE Games Innovation Conference and has initiated several IEEE activities in the area of CI for games including being a member of the IEEE Steering Committee for the journal of IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI for Games and also a member of the steering committee for the IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development. He is also an associate editor of IEEE Transaction on Computational Intelligence and AI for Games and several other journals and has been instrumental in IEEE public visibility initiative where computer games were chosen as one of the six priority areas of IEEE in terms of public engagement and visibility.
    • Prof. Chiclana is Associate Editor of the Journal of Intelligent and Fuzzy Systems; Journal of Multiple-Valued Logic and Soft Computing; and Journal of Applied Mathematics. He is also Editorial Board Member of Soft Computing (all 4 international journals indexed in the ISI). He has been guest editor of special issues in the International Journal of Uncertainty, Fuzziness and Knowledge-Based Systems (IJUFKS), and the International Journal of Fuzzy Optimization and Decision Making. He is also Co-chair of International Conference of Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Systems. Prof. Chiclana gave a plenary talk at the 2009 EUROFUSE Workshop on Preference Modelling and Decision Analysis.

Collaborators in the UK and abroad:
Currently, we have many collaborators in the UK and/or abroad in the field of IS. These are mainly through grant proposals, research cooperation and co-authorship, research visits, exchanges of PhD and post-doctoral researchers. Examples of these are given as follows:

    • UK: The Centre for Intelligent Data Analysis (CIDA), Brunel University; The Automated Scheduling, Optimisation and Planning (ASAP) and the Intelligent Modelling & Analysis Research Group (IMA) research groups, University of Nottingham; The Centre of Excellence for Research in Computational Intelligence and Applications (CERCIA), University of Birmingham; Northamptonshire County Council; Leicestershire County Council; Leicester City Council; University of Leicester; Astrium, Transport Research Laboratory; Rail Safety and Standards Board; Network Rail; BT; Royal National Institute for Blind (RNIB); VISTA;
    • Austria: Austrian Institute of Technology;
    • Belgium: Forum of European Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL);
    • China: The State Key Laboratory of Synthetical Automation for Process Industries, Northeastern University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University;
    • Croatia: Institut IGH DD, HZ Infrastruktura D.O.O.;
    • Czech Republic: Centrum Dopravniho Vyzkumu;
    • France: Centre D’etudes Techniques de L'equipement du Sud Ouest (CETE), Aerospace Valley;
    • Germany: EURNEX e.V, Technische Universitaet Muenchen;
    • Greece: National Technical University of Athens, Hellenic Institute for Transport;
    • Ireland: University College Dublin, Roughan O'Donovan Limited, Iarnrod Eireann;
    • Italy: Genzia Regionale per lo Sviluppo del Molise, Universita Degli Studi del Molise, E-Geos Spa, University of Rome;
    • Latvia: Riga Technical University;
    • Netherlands: University of Twente;
    • Poland: Adaptronica ZOO SP, Instytut Kolejnictwa, Urzad Marszalkowski Wojewodztwa Mazowieckiego, Instytut Geoddezji I Kartografii (IgiK), Intergraph Polska Sp ZOO;
    • Slovenia: Slovenske Zeleznice DOO, Zavod Za Gradbenistvo Slovenije;
    • Sweden: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute;
    • Spain: University of Granada, University of Cadiz;
    • Switzerland – Ecole Polytechnique F_d_rale de Lausanne;
    • Russia – Moscow State University of Railway Engineering;
    • United States (and world-wide): IEEE

In general, this DTP will enhance DMU's position in the field of IS, strengthen our leading position in CI, and enforce our international collaborations in the relevant fields. At the same time, it provides us an opportunity to train young researchers in this field which contributes to the future development of IS.


All DMU students have at least two supervisors, sometimes three. The first supervisor should be your first port of call for any queries. We typically meet with all supervisors about once a month for full time students.
It is important to realise that ownership of the research project lies with the research student. Your supervisors do not tell you what to do or how to do it. They provide guidance and give input to shape your thinking. Responsibility for accepting or rejecting this guidance lies with the student.

Your first supervisor is also your personal tutor: the member of staff in the University who you should go first to if you have personal, emotional, family, health, money or other welfare issues. Do not worry about going to the same person who comments on your academic work: indeed if they know the personal issues going on, they might be more sympathetic about you not having done as much work as they were hoping.