2 PhD bursaries in MCDA – University of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth has taken the initiative to launch a cross-faculty Centre for Operational Research and Logistics (CORL) to recognize and enhance our worldwide reputation and standing in Operational Research and Logistics. CORL brings together multi-disciplinary expertise on the Science of Data and Decision Making from across the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Technology, Portsmouth Business School and the Institute of Industrial Research at the University of Portsmouth.

The Portsmouth Business School is offering two PhD bursary to strengthen further the CORL.

A) Multi-criteria Decision Analysis

Decision problems nowadays become more difficult because of uncertain and rapidly changing environment, big and ill structured data, multi-stakeholders. Traditional MCDA methods are not sufficient enough to solve these new problems. This research aims to develop a new generation of MCDA method that can face these new challenges.

B) Integrated use of methods to prevent conflict and facilitate communication

Cognition and decision-making are key issues for organizations in periods of institutional change. Data from UK organizations also indicate a rise in workplace conflict during such periods with negative consequences for efficiency and productivity and medium term problems in relation to collaboration to achieve innovation and change-readiness.

This project aims to develop a “network of perception and prevention” applicable to complex organizations, to understand and underline the main (stakeholder defined) problems and to propose actions to prevent conflicts and to facilitate collaboration and communication.

The research design underpinning the project will be action research in a complex company (e.g. large service provider) and include two phases: firstly to analyse, define and formulate problem spaces and secondly to act on them.

In the first phase, problem structuring methods (PSM) and systems approaches will be used with an integration of actor analysis and cognitive mapping methods. This phase allows for a structured description of the problem situation to be presented to the management of the business school. Concepts that had been acquired by means of interviews to key actors will be structured and used to allow choices to be made with regards to suitable and relevant forms of intervention.

In the second phase, the concepts and their relationships will be transformed into multi-criteria decision models (MCDM) with actions, criteria and parameters, in order to elaborate possible (re-) solutions and compare them, and also to identify new aspects and points of views which will improve the model.

Enquiries should be directed to:

Dr Alessio Ishizaka
Reader in Decision Analysis
Deputy Director of the CORL
0044(0)23 9284 4171
Email: Alessio.Ishizaka@port.ac.uk

Funding Notes

This full-time studentship is open to UK/ EU students only and is located in Portsmouth Business School, Hampshire, UK.

Funding Status

The full-time studentship will cover tuition fees and an annual grant equivalent to that offered by the ESRC – set at £13,996 per annum for 2014/15 for a maximum of three years. UK/EU residence eligibility conditions apply.


Applicants will have a good first degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent) and a relevant Masters (or equivalent) with elements of management and/or decision analysis and/or system analysis

Potential applicants can find further information on PBS Research and Research Degrees at:


Applications should include:

[Please note to follow this guide to apply for this bursary award – do not send an online application for a PhD]

· a full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application

· contact details for TWO referees able to comment on your academic performance

· a statement of 1,000 (words) outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

Application Deadline: Tuesday 21st April 2015

Start date for the studentship: 1 October 2015

Applications should be sent to:

Lauren Payne
Postgraduate Centre, University of Portsmouth,
Richmond Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3DE
(applications can be submitted electronically via: lauren.payne@port.ac.uk and cc to alessio.ishizaka@port.ac.uk)