PhD Opportunities

PhD in "Social Learning in Artificial Evolutionary Systems" at Keele University

Artificial evolutionary systems, be they simulated or grounded in physical robots, provide a novel and cutting-edge way to investigate the emergence and evolution of adaptive and intelligent behaviours. Social learning is ubiquitous is nature, being seen across the animal kingdom. Social learning is adaptive for obvious reasons; learning from others is a great way to learn about new things and keep track of changes in your environment without having to engage in risky trial and error learning. Artificial evolution systems provide us with an opportunity to explore the evolution and emergence of social learning in depth, to understand how social learning can help autonomous agents perform better in real world situations, and to potentially evolve truly robust artificial social intelligences.

The PhD research will involve the creation of artificial life or evolutionary robotics models (simulated or in simple robots) to explore issues associated with social learning. For example, these issues include social learning in artificial evolutionary system (e.g. the evolution of horizontal information transfer, the evolution of social learning under environment variability, the utility of different social learning biases, modelling a natural social system, understanding the transition from simple social learning to cultural evolution and the evolution of maladaptive culture.

Applications are welcomed from science, technology, engineering or mathematics graduates with (or anticipating) at least a 2.1 honours degree or equivalent. Applications from social science or humanities graduates will be considered if evidence of good (object-oriented) programming skills are provided. Applicants will require good general computing skills and the confidence to approach difficult problems with creativity and tenacity.

Applicants should have an enthusiasm for design and experimentation as well as a willingness to acquire new skills.

This opportunity is open to UK/EU and overseas students. The collaborative and presentation aspects of the research require good English language and communication skills. Overseas applicants would therefore require an English IELTS (or equivalent) of 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any subtest.

Informal enquiries about the project are very welcome by email to me, the Project Lead, <>.

Please go to to apply.

The PhD is currently only open to self funded student students.