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Understanding Multi-Objective Optimisation Algorithms for Land Use

Dr Daniel Magnone, University of Lincoln; Professor Nir Oren, University of Aberdeen; Professor Simon Parsons, University of Lincoln

Agricultural Fields

Interview date

Wednesday, 15th May

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Research Aims

The UK’s land use can be considered a complex, multi- objective optimisation problem, balancing economic yield, biodiversity enhancement, and carbon storage. With the recent introduction of the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), the need for a decision- support system to help stakeholders understandthe impacts and trade-offs of land parcel allocation is clear and timely.

This PhD project will utilise advances in formal argumentation theory and dialogue to encode, reason, and explain the behaviour of multi-objective optimisation algorithms. The research will focus on optimising carbon storage, biodiversity enhancement, and economic yield from agriculture. The project aims to develop an optimisation model for land use, scale the model from catchment to national levels, quantify regional or national biodiversity, carbon storage, and yield profitability within the UK, and develop the model into a package potentially suitable for commercialisation.

The student will gain a comprehensive understanding of sustainable landscapes within the UK and the necessary subsidy frameworks to achieve optimal conditions. They will review literature to understand the constraints around land parcel allocation and the objectives of different stakeholders, learn how different multi-objective optimisation techniques work, undertake research into formal argumentation, develop dialogical techniques to present reasoning to stakeholders, evaluate the effectiveness of explanations on stakeholder understanding and decision-making, and apply the model to a real-world problem. This project offers a unique opportunity to contribute to a vital area of environmental research and develop a wide range of skills in optimisation, argumentation theory, and stakeholder engagement.

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