Dr Mauro Mobilia


I obtained my PhD in Theoretical Physics at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in 2002 for a thesis on non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. From 2002 to 2005, I was a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University and Virginia Tech on a Research Fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2005, I was awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship that I held at the University of Munich (LMU) until 2007. I then worked as an Advanced Research Fellow at the Mathematics Institute and Centre for Complexity Science of the University of Warwick (2007-2009). In June 2008, I accepted the offer of a faculty position at the University of Leeds. Since 2009, I am at the School of Mathematics of the University of Leeds where I am an associate professor in Applied Mathematics.

  • PhD (2002) and MSc (1998) from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Boston University and Virginia Tech, USA (2002-2005)
  • Humboldt Research Fellow at University of Munich (LMU), Germany (2005-2007)
  • Advanced Research Fellow at University of Warwick (2007-2009)
  • Lecturer (2009-2013) and Associate Professor (2013-present) at University of Leeds

More about my academic profile: see my 2-page CV

I coordinate the School of Maths' Undergraduate Summer Bursary Scheme


  • Summer Bursary Scheme Coordinator
  • Organiser of the Maths-Bio-Medicine Seminar Series
  • Coordinator of the Applied Maths Postgraduate Seminar

Research interests

My current research is chiefly concerned with multidisciplinary applications of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to problems of evolutionary dynamics and to complex systems in the life and behavioural sciences. Some of the major challenges in these areas concern the emergence of cooperative behaviour, the maintenance of biodiversity, the dynamics of cultural changes, and the self-organisation of mobile populations. In my research, the mathematical formulation is usually at the individual-based level which leads to deal with stochastic many-body problems. These are tackled using a combination of methods drawn from statistical physics, nonlinear dynamics and evolutionary game theory.

As examples of recent research outcomes, one can mention a series of works on 'rock-paper-scissors' games to study the self-organisation and biodiversity in cyclically competing populations; another series of papers on the effects of heterogeneities ('zealots') in models of opinion dynamics; and works on metastability and large fluctuations as well as the joint effects of demographic and environmental noise in  population dynamics.

More details and links to all my research papers, as well as some videos, can be found on my personal home page.

Possible PhD projects: see below and on my research web-page


  • PhD (Dr. Sc. EPF)
  • MSc (Dipl. Phys. EPF)
  • FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)

Professional memberships

  • Member of the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) College
  • Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Member of the American Physical Society
  • Member of the European Physical Society
  • Member of the international Complex Systems Society
  • Member of the Humboldt Foundation's Network of Fellows

Student education

Teaching web page

In 2017/18, I am teaching:

Current PhD students:

Former PhD students at Leeds:

Research groups and institutes

  • Applied mathematics

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.

Projects currently available: