Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships

​KESS2 & KESS2 East 

The Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships KESS2 scheme will partner over 500 businesses with academics and postgraduate research students to develop innovative research projects aimed at driving business growth.

The £36m EU-backed scheme to develop post-graduate research and innovation skills in partnership with small and medium-sized businesses has been announced by the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones.

The map for the area that is eligible can be found here .

Cardiff Met has sub-projects underway in West Wales and the Valleys, and has the opportunity for further projects in East Wales. At this point, KESS2 East programme funding is not confirmed, but Cardiff Metropolitan University has been encouraged to recruit projects for 2019 start dates and expect confirmation of funding within the next month. 

There will be three calls for sub-projects in line with our three enrolment periods. Informed by experience with previous calls, this call will remain open until September 2019 but with various termly cut-off dates as follows:

KESS2 EW call deadlinePhD enrolment
​16th November 2018​14th January 2019
​15th February 2019​29th April 2019
​28th June 2019​23rd September 2019 (TBC)

There will be no KESS2 East Wales PhD intake after September 2019, whereas, MRes sub-projects can start at any enrolment point up until September 2021.  Sub-projects will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.

The text of the application form is the same as previous calls but the company contributions and sub-project budget for East Wales are different. 

You can find all of the information you need below:


Please read the factsheet below for more information for businesses, companies and organisations:


To be eligible for ESF funding sub projects must adhere to the following criteria:

  • ​Be scoped in partnership with a company partner.

  • Project activity must be in the competitive region of Wales.​

  • The company partner will have to contribute an annual cash contribution between £5,500 - £7k +VAT (depending on company size).

  • Sub projects must fit within one of the WG grand challenge areas : Life Sciences & Health; Low Carbon, Energy & Environment ; ICT & Digital Economy; Advanced Engineering & Materials.​

  • Must lead to a Masters by Research; MRes or PhD qualification.​

  • Must be completed in 3.5 years for PhD; 1year 3 months for Research Masters.​

Once proposed sub projects have been approved, a scholarship will be offered.

​The scholarship offers the eligible participant (student) :​

  • A mon​thly stipend in line with RCUK rates : 3 years of funding @ £14,002 per year for PhD; one year funding @ £11,313 for Research Masters.

  • University tuition fees are waived by Cardiff Metropolitan University,​

  • An opportunity to access a suite of higher level skills training and attendance at a residential KESS Grad School. All participants must complete the KESS Postgraduate Skills Development Award.

  • A minimum of 30 days a year working with the company partner on their allocated project.​

  • Standard KESS budget for other research project related costs (travel, consumables and equipment).​

  • Student must complete and submit their thesis in 3.5 years for PhD; 1year 3 months for Research Masters.​​

  • Applicants should be resident in the competitiveness area of Wales ​on appointment, and should have the right to work in the region on qualification

​Due to the limited time remaining for the completion of the KESS2 Project:

  • There will be no call for Expressions of Interest, instead all applications will proceed straight to full application form (this form is unchanged from previous calls)
  • A scholar is to be named on the application form (please seek advice from KESS@cardiffmet.ac.uk if this is not possible)
  • All PhD sub-projects will be expected to start in January 2019, April 2019 or September 2019 (the correct level of stipend for a PhD is shown using the drop-down box on the Budget form). MRes sub-projects can begin up until September 2021.

KESS2 - PhD Scholarship Vacancies

Please see our open applications for KESS2 Scholarships, please ensure you have checked the eligibility criteria prior to applying which can be found in the above dropdown list.

KESS2 East Scholarship Application Forms

Below are Sections A,B and C of the application forms, please note we can only accept applications with all three sections completed. 

Developing aesthetic heuristics to leverage more ‘insightful’ data visualisations for better business decisions  

Application Deadline: 29th April 2019

Project Outline: 

The way data is displayed can drastically change the understanding of the data and the decisions being made from this data. With a few exceptions, data has no natural visualisation so important choices have to be made about how it should be displayed. Particularly, choices that involve not only the logical and operational dimension of knowledge, but also the directly felt, experiential dimension. As Gendlin (1970) highlighted ‘Meaning is not only about things and it is not only a certain logical structure, but it also involves felt experiencing’. In fact, when we perceive, when we see, we filter out noise, we fill in gaps and connect the dots. The human aesthetic response serves the function of stabilizing the circuits that successfully mediate perception and interpretation, making those faculties more agile, conferring selective advantage and provoking the making of sense (Conrad, 2010, p.1). In terms of data visualisation, the aesthetic can provide many patterns that enhance our perceptual agility in order to further inform the decisions we make (Carroll et al., 2018).  

The aim of this research is to explore how tacit knowledge, such as aesthetic knowledge can be nurtured to further enhance decision making behaviour and the design/ setting of customer’s expectations.  Based on initial work already conducted in this area, the aim of this project is to apply aesthetic heuristics to the development of data visualisations to promote more ‘felt’ knowledge and enhanced decision-making behaviours within the business and as a result with give the company an advantage in the display and use of the data. A network of working relationships has been established with industrial companies, particularly YARD (https://weareyard.com/) in South Wales and beyond, that provides an ideal environment for the project. 

To apply, please submit completed application form to Fiona Carroll at Emailfcarroll@cardiffmet.ac.uk  

Interviews for this post will take place at the end of may 2019, with a proposed commencement date of 2/09/2019.

Long-term effects of targeted strength and conditioning on golf swing performance in talented junior golfers (Project SWING)

Application Deadline:  April 29th, 2019

Project Outline:

This is an exciting opportunity to apply for a PhD studentship at Cardiff Metropolitan University, which has been designed to examine the long-term effects of strength and conditioning provision on levels of physical fitness and golf swing performance in young golfers enrolled on the Golf Union of Wales talent development pathway. The Golf Union of Wales are the official industry partner of this KESS2 funded project.

Specifically, the studentship will examine how chronic exposure to strength and conditioning influences strength and power development in junior golfers at varying stages of maturity, and how the interaction of maturation and training influences key measures of golf swing performance. 

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to research alongside leading academics from the Youth Physical Development Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University, while additionally assisting in the delivery of strength and conditioning for the junior golfers within the Golf Union of Wales talent development pathway.

We are keen to receive applications from enthusiastic candidates with:


  • Relevant undergraduate degree (e.g. strength and conditioning/sport science) 


  • Experience of working with young athletes
  • Recognised strength and conditioning qualifications (e.g. UKSCA, NSCA or ASCA)
  • Relevant postgraduate degree (e.g. MSc in strength and conditioning/sport science)

To apply, please submit completed application form to Dr Rhodri S. Lloyd (email: rlloyd@cardiffmet.ac.uk

Interviews for this post will take place in the beginning of May, with a proposed commencement date by the end of May 2019.

The application of machine learning to optimise propensity-scoring algorithms based on a novel understanding of how customer purchasing behaviour adapts to different product archetypes.

Application Deadline: 29th April 2019

Project Outline:

The problem of market attribution is a non-trivial issue for marketers. Industry standard approaches to market attribution include the ‘last touch’ and ‘single touch’ models. These models take a simplistic view of market attribution giving the last click in a user’s journey to a purchase the most credit and associated revenue for promotion. These approaches are widely regarded as sub optimal and unrepresentative of the relationship between marketing promotions, user journeys and sales generated. (Dalessandro et al. 2012, Shao and Li 2011, Shina et al 2014, Zhang et al 2014, Geyik et al, 2014, Berman 2018)

Solutions to these problems include enhanced models that examine the effect of multiple promotors on the sale of an item, these models are called ‘multi touch data driven’ models (Shao and Li 2011, Sina et al 2014, Zhang et al 2014). Indeed data driven models are emerging as the new best solution to the issue of market attribution that allocates credit for sales revenue more fairly (Shao and Li, 2014). 

However, these multi touch models still have weaknesses inherit in the methods used to compute the propensity of customer sales. The propensity score is a numerical value that indicates how likely a customer is to purchase an item based on the ‘journey’ through the website over time. These weaknesses manifest as a ‘one size fits all’ approach to propensity scoring that assumes uniformity in customer decision-making behaviour regardless of the product type and nature. For instance, the approach taken by a customer to purchase some small consumable such as toothpaste is likely to be radically different to how a customer might behave when buying an expensive piece of furniture or a financial product. These subtleties in customer behaviour offer an opportunity for novel research optimising market attribution through tailoring propensity scoring algorithm to different models of customer behaviour based on product archetypes. A propensity-scoring algorithm that accounts for different customer behaviours would yield a more representative and accurate approach to market attribution that would afford the industrial partner Yard greater advantage and intelligence in attribution and targeting. Such a product would be novel to the market making Yard an unrivalled market leader. 

This research therefore aims to develop a machine-learning model that optimises propensity-scoring algorithms based on a novel understanding of dynamic customer behaviour based on product archetypes.

To apply, please submit completed application form to Simon Thorne (email: SThorne@cardiffmet.ac.uk

Interviews for this post will take place in the week beginning the 29/04/2019, with a proposed commencement date by the end of May 2019.

​Sub-Project Application forms and Guidance notes

All PhD sub-projects will be expected to start in January 2019, April 2019 or September 2019 (the correct level of stipend for a PhD is shown using the drop-down box on the Budget form). MRes sub-projects can begin up until September 2021.