2020 applicants
Postgraduate Research Opportunity

Demand scheduling and emission control in e-fulfilment


Title: SCH06: Demand scheduling and emission control in e-fulfilment

Funding: Full time Home/EU fees and a stipend of £15,009 p.a. (terms & conditions)

Application deadline: 12 September 2019

Start date: January 2020

Duration: 3 years (full time)

Location: Colchester Campus

Based in: Department of Mathematical Sciences (in collaboration with the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering)

This studentship is now closed. Please see our current opportunities.


Last-mile delivery - the transportation of goods from hub to home - in e-retailing is one of the most costly and highest polluting segments of the supply chain. Naturally the delivery demand at different times of the day is different, which leads to inefficient truck routes and fleet usage.

This project aims to apply machine learning techniques to understand major cost/emission factors of vehicle routing subject to customer choices, so as to generate effective incentive schemes to schedule customer demands. It also aims to provide resolutions on the efficient usage of electric fleets in grocery delivery. Certain real data on customer shopping behaviour is available for the study.


The award consists of a full Home/EU fee waiver or equivalent fee discount for overseas students (further fee details), a doctoral stipend equivalent to the Research Councils UK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20), plus £2,500 training bursary via Proficio funding, which may be used to cover the cost of advanced skills training including conference attendance and travel.



  • An MSc in Operational Research, Mathematics, Computer Science or a related discipline.
  • Good theoretical and applied knowledge in optimization and machine learning.
  • Good knowledge of programming platforms and languages (e.g. Matlab/Python/C++/Java).


  • Experience of working on a project to successful completion.
  • Excellent time management and organisational skills.
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to interface with people from varied technical backgrounds.
  • Experience of academic writing in English.

How to apply

You can apply for this postgraduate research opportunity online.

Please upload your CV, cover letter, personal statement, transcripts of any undergraduate or masters programmes and one reference.

Instruction to applicants

When you apply online you will be prompted to fill out several boxes in the form:

  • For "Course title" please put "PhD Operational Research"
  • For "Proposed research topic or area of research" please put the title of this studentship (SCH06: Demand scheduling and emission control in e-fulfilment)
  • For "If you have contacted a potential supervisor..." please put the name of the lead supervisor (Dr Xinan Yang)

If you have any informal queries about this opportunity please email the lead supervisor, Dr Xinan Yang (xyangk@essex.ac.uk).

You can find the terms and conditions of this studentship here (PDF).