PhD Studentship – Using Computer Vision and Machine Learning to Revolutionise our Understanding of Insect Behaviour

at University of Sheffield
Published April 26, 2023
Location Sheffield, United Kingdom
Category Computer Vision  
Job Type Scholarship  


About the Project

Insects such as ants and bees are amongst the most successful animal classes and play a critical role in human survival. Yet, their numbers are plummeting threatening enormous socio-economic damage. New methods are required to capture insect behaviour in its natural setting to understand their guidance mechanisms, what is affecting it, and what methods might be recommended to halt their decline.

The group of Machine Learning at the University of Sheffield is looking for self-motivated candidates with a strong mathematical and computational background to develop new methods for infield animal tracking. You will be co-supervised by Dr Mike Mangan & Dr Mike Smith, and interact with a number of field biologists to collect ground-breaking datasets. Example works from our teams in this area include:

  1. Visual Tracking of Small Animals in Cluttered Natural Environments Using a Freely Moving Camera -
  2. Towards image-based animal tracking in natural environments using a freely moving camera -
  3. A method for low-cost, low-impact insect tracking using retroreflective tags -

Further information: Dr. Mike Mangan (; Dr. Mike Smith (

Required qualifications

An undergraduate or master’s degree in Computing, Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or Computational Biology.

The English language requirements must also be met. Please see more information on this here:

How to apply

To apply for the studentship, applicants need to apply directly to the University of Sheffield using the online application system. Please name Dr. Mangan & Dr. Smith as your proposed supervisors.

Complete an application for admission to the standard Computer Science PhD programme here:

Applications should include a research proposal, CV, transcripts and two references.

Your research proposal should:

  • Be no longer than 4 A4 pages, include references
  • Outline your reasons for applying for this studentship
  • Explain how you would approach the research, including details of your skills and experience in the topic area

This PhD studentship will cover standard UK home tuition fees and provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UK Research Council rate (currently £17,668 for 2022/23) for 3.5 years. If you are an overseas student, you are eligible to apply but you must have the means to pay the difference between the UK and overseas tuition fees by securing additional funding or self-funding. Further information on International fees can be found here -