Ph.D. Positions in Machine Learning and Computational Biology at HKUST, ECE Department

One/two fully funded Ph.D. positions are available in the Signal Processing and Computational Biology group (SPCB) in the Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The research will be related to the development of machine learning methods for addressing key questions related to biology and immunology. The SPCB group is involved in multiple projects related to understanding evolution and designing vaccines for viruses, including coronaviruses (COVID-19 and beyond). The group works with diverse collaborators, including collaborators at the Kirby Institute of the University of New South Wales, the Department of Physics at the University of California Riverside, and the School of Public Health at Hong Kong University. 

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the research, candidates should have a strong background in one or more of machine learning, statistics/statistical signal processing, mathematics, physics, biophysics, or computer science, and a keen interest and/or experience in bioinformatics, computational biology, or genetics. The candidate is expected to be highly motivated to conduct research in relation to machine learning and computational biology. 

The expected starting date of the Ph.D. is Sept. 2022 (Fall semester). Earlier start dates may also be considered.


  • Ph.D. studentship (~US$27,700/year) and guaranteed on-campus accommodation in the first 2 years. For details, see here.
  • The selected candidates will be supported, as appropriate, to apply for the prestigious Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS). A successful HKPFS recipient receives a higher stipend (~US$41,400/year), additional scholarship in the first year of study (~US$5,100) and travel allowance (~US$1,730/year). For details, see here and here.
  • The selected candidates will be supported to spend period(s) at the relevant collaborating institutions, subject to performance and upon mutual agreement.

Expected Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor/Masters (preferred) in Electrical/Electronic/Computer Engineering or other relevant fields including Mathematics/Statistics, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, and Physics/Biophysics.
  • Outstanding academic record.
  • Strong mathematical background.
  • Exceptional communication skills in English, both written and verbal.
  • Programming experience with MATLAB, Python and/or R.
  • Research publications in reputable peer-reviewed conferences or journals, if any, would be a plus.

Prospective applicants are advised to browse through the research work at group’s website (  Applications should be made by filling the expression of interest form.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. For queries, contact Prof. Ahmed Abdul Quadeer (eeaaquadeer[at]ust[dot]hk) or Prof. Matthew McKay (m.mckay[at]ust[dot]hk) with the email subject, “Prospective PhD Candidate (ECE, HKUST)”.

Example media articles related to group’s recent work:

The TyeeNews MedicalASEE-PRISMScienmagStudy International

About HKUST:

HKUST is an elite international university in Hong Kong. It is currently ranked 34th in the world among all universities worldwide (QS World University Rankings). The ECE department at HKUST is ranked 20th in the world in Engineering and Technology (QS World University Rankings).

*Ph.D. Positions also at the University of Melbourne (EEE Department)

Some members of the SPCB group will soon be relocating to the University of Melbourne (UoM), in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE).  We are currently recruiting PhD students to join the team at the UoM. These positions are also fully funded and expected qualifications are the same as those listed above. Candidates also interested in this opportunity can indicate it in the above expression of interest form.