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The University of Southampton
Centre for Risk Research

Risk Research Fellow Receives Prestigious Prize

Published: 17 April 2013

Dr David McDonald, a Research Fellow in the Centre for Risk Research, has been awarded the prestigious Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Prize.

EPSRC Doctoral Prize

The prize, which David secured ahead of strong competition from some of the highest calibre PhD students in the UK, provides him with the opportunity to extend the impact of his PhD through publications and Knowledge Transfer (KT) and to progress his research on decision making models.

During his PhD studies at the Centre for Risk Research, David McDonald identified a number of problems associated with current discrete choice models, and he recognised the potential to improve them by integrating up-to-date statistical techniques. The EPRSC Doctoral Prize has given David the opportunity to work towards realizing these improvements in the model. This new strand of David's cutting-edge research involves the development of a model, called CLAMs (conditional logistic additive models), that offers a better explanation of some of the decisions people make and an improved ability to predict future choices.

As well as developing the model, David will test it using available data to find out how robust it is and compare it with existing models. He will also investigate ways in which it could be applied to different types of scenarios in the public and private sector; for example, to assess the optimal location of factories, to analyse specific risk factors, and to predict consumer preferences for energy and broadband suppliers.

"The EPSRC Doctoral Prize funding has enabled me to expand on my PhD and has given me the chance to direct my own research and work on new ideas" said David: "This provides me with a great opportunity to develop my career as an academic and to achieve my research goals."

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