Studentship in How to Make Machine Learning for Credit Scoring Fair
University of Southampton
United Kingdom

ESRC South Coast DTP Studentship - How to make machine learning for credit scoring fair (S2144)

Southampton Business School

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £15,285 (2020/21 UKRI rate)
Closing Date:  Monday 18 January 2021
Reference:  SCDTP-S2144

How to make machine learning for credit scoring fair

A fully funded studentship awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) commencing in 2021/22 Academic Year.

At the heart of today’s debate around bias and fairness in algorithmic decision making lies a legitimate concern about whether the predictive accuracy gains enabled by machine learning methods might come at the expense of discriminating against certain groups. The aim of this project is to develop novel methods to ensure the fairness of contemporary credit scoring, used by lenders to determine access to credit. The project will investigate techniques to debias the data, novel optimisation solutions to maximise fairness of machine learning algorithms and how to detect and adjust post-implementation bias. The PhD candidate will be given access to a large credit dataset to empirically test new techniques.

Supervisory Team:

Professor Christophe Mues (), Southampton Business School (SBS), who has published extensively on machine learning applications to credit scoring, and Dr Huan Yu (), SBS, whose research interests include operational research, decision making under uncertainty, machine learning and causal inference.

Skills Required

(a) a degree in business analytics, operations research, mathematics or computer science; (b) analytical, optimisation and/or software programming skills; (c) a passion for advanced methodological research with direct societal benefit – to improve fair access to credit. 


South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £15285 (2020/21 UKRI rate), plus payment of programme fees.  Other funding available for SCDTP funded students can be found on the SCDTP website ().

Funding is provided for 3 years full-time PhD study (pro-rata for part-time students).  Applications for 1+3 funding for students completing a Master's year prior to the commencement of PhD study are also welcome (details available at ).

Application Procedure

The closing date and time for applications is 4.00pm on 18th January 2021.  The full application procedure, the funding application form, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at: 

For further information about this project, please contact the lead supervisor detailed above.  For questions relating to the application procedure, or for more information about the SCDTP, please visit the SCDTP website or contact us

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