Higher-order network interactions in urban environments

Project Summary

Network science---the study of interactions between people, places or objects---is a central feature of urban analytics. Motivated by recent challenges in social science and digital technology, a new generation of network science tools is being developed to deal with higher-order interactions. These new tools can discover and characterise important network motifs, and hence identify the building blocks that underlie a complex network.

Higher-order network methods allow us to consider groupings beyond pairs of interactions, and, in addition to being an exciting and growing area of theoretical study, have significant potential for transformative practical application, allowing us to understand complex systems (like cities!) with a mathematical richness that has not previously been possible.

In this project, we ask: how can recent ideas in higher-order network analysis be applied, and customized, in order to understand and compare the networks that are present in Scottish cities and predict their future evolution?

Project Team and where the student will be based

This studentship will be based at the University of Glasgow in the School of Computing Science and supervised jointly across the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The candidate will have opportunities to work within both universities and will benefit from seminar and reading group activities in both. Primary supervision will be provided by Dr Jess Enright in the School of Computing Science at Glasgow, and Prof. Des Higham in the School of Mathematics at Edinburgh.


An ideal candidate will have:

Academic qualifications:

  • a 1st or a 2:1 degree in mathematics, computing science, or a related subject.


  • experience with Python, R, Java, C, or a similar programming language
  • experience at the undergraduate level with modelling dynamical systems, graph theory, or complex networks


  • A keen interest in modelling real-world systems
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Resilience, curiosity, and strong research skills


Enquiries about this project should be directed to Dr Jessica Enrightjessica.enright@glasgow.ac.uk.