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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Statistics PhD scholarship available

We are currently seeking expressions of interest for a fully-funded 3-year PhD scholarship, available as part of a prestigious Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund Research Grant. The student will be supervised by Principal Investigator Dr. Tilman Davies alongside Professor Adrian Baddeley and Professor Martin Hazelton, working on their project “A new generation of statistical models for spatial point process data” (19-UOO-191). The scholarship provides a stipend of NZD $82,500 (tax free) spread over three years, and student fees are additionally covered by the grant. There will also be opportunities for travel to attend conferences and visit collaborators.

The research project develops new methods for disentangling fixed and random effects in spatial point patterns. This is a fundamental and important problem in the interpretation of data in a wide variety of research fields, including epidemiology, ecology, and archaeology to name a few. In the absence of solution to this problem, researchers are unable to prove whether a cluster of disease cases, for example, is explained by a single contaminating source or by contagion between infected individuals.

The student will work closely with the supervisory team to develop new and refine existing approaches to modelling point patterns that comprise both deterministic and stochastic influences. This will involve work covering statistical theory, methodology, computation and application of cutting-edge statistical techniques for spatial data. To learn more about the specifics of the project as well as the members of the supervisory team, you can download an excerpt of the relevant sections of the grant proposal itself. The ideal candidate will have an excellent Honours/Masters degree in statistics (or equivalent), with an aptitude for research and strong computational skills (e.g. the R language). An interest in spatial applications is also highly desirable. To express your interest in joining us on this project, please email and include a brief 2-page CV and a copy of your academic record.

About Dunedin:
Dunedin is a vibrant university town in the South Island of New Zealand, and home to the University of Otago — New Zealand’s oldest university. The statistics group within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is an energetic group of researchers with expertise in many different areas; including but not limited to Bayesian modelling; smoothing and nonparametric statistics; statistical applications in ecology, seismology and genetics; stochastic modelling; and spatial statistics. We have strong ties to collaborators in other disciplines both within and outside of the university.