DPhil in Statistics

Research students

Studentship in Genetic network analysis of nitrogen fixation in legume-Rhizobium symbioses now available.

Applications are invited for a four-year postgraduate studentship, funded by EPSRC, to work on   ”Genetic network analysis of nitrogen fixation in legume-Rhizobium symbioses” with Prof. Gesine Reinert (University of Oxford Department of Statistics), Prof Philip Poole (University of Oxford Department of Plant Sciences), and Dr Mariano Beguerisse (University of Oxford Mathematical Institute).  
This proposal brings together world leaders in network analysis at Oxford in the Departments of Statistics  (Reinert) and Mathematics (Beguerisse), as well as in the genetics of plant-microbe  interactions in Plant Sciences (Poole). The project is supported by the Nottingham-based Legume Technology (Bruce Knight CEO, http://www.legumetechnology.co.uk/), the leading producer of rhizobial inoculants in the UK.  The objective of the project is to carry out a statistical and network analysis of cutting-edge gene expression and global mutational data, which may require the development of new theoretical and computational tools. Such an analysis will enable genes needed for superior symbiotic performance to be identified and introduced into commercial inocula. These inocula are used both in the UK and around the world, enabling substantial yield gains and contributing to sustainable agriculture with reduced fertilizer inputs as well as reduced CO2 and N2O emissions.   The project is interdisciplinary and candidates from mathematical, physical and biological sciences are encouraged to apply.
The successful applicant will be a member of the Department of Statistics and will also be associated with Prof Poole’s group in Plant Sciences.  The studentship, which is attached to Keble College, is a four-year studentship which is available to start 1st October 2017 and is subject to standard Doctoral Training Account rules for eligibility.  It includes a stipend of at least £14,553 per annum, and College and University fees at the Home/EU rate. It is open to all EU citizens.
Applications should be made online at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/applying-to-oxford/application-guide.  Applications should include a CV, covering letter, three references and a transcript of your undergraduate degree and subsequent graduate degrees.
Applications must arrive by 12 noon on 28 June 2017, quoting reference number EPSRC/Stats/Keble/01.


The Department of Statistics admits doctoral students each year to a programme of instruction and research leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Statistics degree. A doctorate normally requires between three and four years of full-time study. In the DPhil in Statistics, you will investigate a particular project in depth and write a thesis which makes a significant contribution to the field. 

The Department of Statistics in the University of Oxford is a world leader in research in probability, bioinformatics, mathematical genetics and statistical methodology, including computational statistics and machine learning. Much of the department’s research is either explicitly interdisciplinary or draws its motivation from application areas, ranging from biology and physics to the social sciences.

You will be assigned a named supervisor or supervisors, who will have overall responsibility for the direction of your work on behalf of the department. You will have the opportunity to interact with fellow students and other members of your research groups, and more widely across the department. Typically, as a research student, you should expect to have meetings with your supervisor or a member of the supervisory team with a frequency of at least once every two weeks averaged across the year. The regularity of these meetings may be subject to variations according to the time of the year, and the stage that you are at in your research programme.

There are formal assessments of progress on the research project at around 12 to 15 months and at around 30 to 36 months. These assessments involve the submission of written work and oral examination.

The final thesis is normally submitted for examination during the fourth year and is followed by the viva examination.  

You will be expected to acquire transferable skills as part of your training, and to undertake a total of 100 hours broadening training outside your specialist area. Part of that broadening training is obtained through APTS, the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics; this is a joint venture with a group of leading university statistics departments which runs four weeks of appropriate courses a year. You will give a research presentation or prepare a research poster each year in the department.

student poster session Our research students are actively involved in a lively academic community by means of seminars, lectures, journal clubs, working groups and social events. They receive training in modern probability, stochastic processes, statistical methodology, computational methods and transferable skills, in addition to specialised topics relevant to specific application areas. In particular, a broad structured programme of training in modern statistical methodology is available via courses in the Academy for Postgraduate Training in Statistics (APTS), of which the Department is a founding member.

Queries about the DPhil in Statistics or MSc by Research should be sent to graduate.admissions@stats.ox.ac.uk