Scholarships Merit-based
King's College London

PhD Studentship: Engineering Reliable and Efficient Networked Machine Learning via the Free Energy Principle

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Specific discipline
19668 GBP
United Kingdom
01 Jun 2024
Application deadline


King’s College London is an internationally renowned university delivering exceptional education and world-leading research. They are dedicated to driving positive and sustainable change in society and realising their vision of making the world a better place. 


Scholarship type

Merit based

Number of scholarships to award



Full tuition waiver + £19,668

Scholarship coverage

  • tuition fee reduction
  • other


Inspired by neuroscience, informed by information-theoretic principles, and motivated by modern wireless systems architectures integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and communications, this project, supported by the EPSRC, sets out to develop a paradigm-shifting framework for networked machine learning (ML) that is centred on the following ideas.

Free energy minimisation: According to the free energy principle, agents optimise internal models so as to minimise their information-theoretic surprise vis-a-vis the available data and prior information. This principle offers a basis to reason about epistemic uncertainty ("know when you don't know") in AI agents that is grounded in information-theoretic analyses of out-of-sample generalisation - away from the current narrow focus on point-wise accuracy, towards uncertainty quantification and calibration. 

Networked meta-learning: In meta-learning, agents do not share an ML model in full as in conventional, centralised, solutions. 

Native integration of wireless communication and learning: Conventional wireless systems are based on the principle of separation between computing and communications.

Overall, this project sets out to study a novel, theoretically principled, paradigm for ML that moves away from the current centralised, accuracy-focused, state of the art in ML to embrace decentralization via wireless connectivity, uncertainty quantification, personalisation, modularity, privacy preservation, and the right to erasure.

Applicable programmes


Funding is available for 3.5 years (covering Tuition fees, Stipend plus London Allowance, Bench Fees/Research Training & Support Grant). It covers tuition fees for UK or International students and a tax-free stipend of approximately £19,668 p.a. with possible inflationary increases after the first year. 


  • This studentship opportunity is only open to all students applying for the stated PhD project within the Department of Engineering.

Scholarship requirements


Engineering & Technology


United Kingdom



Study experience required





Application deadline

01 Jun 2024

To be considered for the position candidates must apply via King’s Apply online application system. Details are available at online prospectus page.

Please apply for Engineering Research MPhil/PhD and indicate your desired supervisor (Osvaldo Simeone) and the project title in your application and all correspondence.

The selection process will involve a pre-selection on documents, if selected this will be followed by an invitation to an interview. If successful at the interview, an offer will be provided in due time.

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