Four fully funded studentships available within the Security of Advanced Systems Research Group, in the Department of Computer Science.

The Department of Computer Science, at the University of Sheffield is seeking highly motivated PhD candidates for four fully funded studentships within the Security of Advanced Systems Research Group.

The Security of Advanced Systems Research Group investigates fundamental theory together with the development of practical tools and techniques for securing advanced systems that will play a critical role in societies worldwide. We carry out fundamental research in cybersecurity and collaborate with leading researchers across the Faculty of Engineering and beyond to bring our cyber expertise to bear in domains of critical importance, e.g. robotics, autonomous systems, and advanced manufacturing systems.

To apply:

If you wish to apply for one of our studentships, you will need to submit an application using our online system. Please make sure to name supervisor(s) and the title of the project you are interested in. For all applications, we require two academic references, degree certificate and transcript, CV and a statement about why you would be suitable for the PhD studentship.

The closing date for applications is 31st August 2019.


Studentship 1: Safety and Security of Collaborative Robots
Supervisors: Professor John Clark and Dr James Law
Project Description:

Robots play an increasingly important role in manufacturing. They have been seen performing automated tasks in production lines for quite some time (with humans kept at a safe distance.) However, there is now an increased desire to see robots work directly with humans to collaborate on tasks to best effect. Such collaborative robots have great potential to enhance the quality and productivity of manufacturing processes. This is one part of a drive to make the so-called Industry 4.0 initiative a reality.

Take-up will be limited as long as the safety and security aspects of their operation remain difficult to address in the context of modern, highly connected environments. This PhD will seek to develop techniques that can address both safety and security aspects effectively and efficiently, but with an emphasis on security aspects.

The PhD will be supervised by Professor John Clark (Head of the Security of Advanced Systems Research Group) and Dr James Law (Senior Fellow in Sheffield Robotics). This project will be in collaboration with Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) https://www.amrc.co.uk

Required Qualifications:

First degree in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering or a closely related subject.
If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score (or equivalent) of 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each component.

Funding Details:

The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and provide an annual stipend at the standard RCUK rates (£15,009 in 2019/20) for three and a half years.

UK nationals may be eligible for additional support by the Worshipful Company of Engineers Leete Award (£6000 per year for three years)

The studentship is available from September 2019


Studentship 2: Cybersecurity PhD: Embedded and Hardware Security
Supervisor: Dr Elif Kavun
Project Description:

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate in the field of Cybersecurity, with an emphasis on embedded and hardware security. Candidates with experience in one or more of the following are preferred: cryptography (lightweight cryptography, post0quantum cryptography, fully-homomorphic encryption); designing novel cryptographic primitives and protocols; digital design on ASIC or FPGA platforms using hardware description languages; computer architectures and embedded software; side-channel analysis and fault attacks; and machine learning and artificial intelligence, especially for security applications.

Research topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Secure cryptographic implementations in hardware and software
  • Mechanisms against side-channel analysis and fault attacks security and privacy for IoT systems
  • Post-quantum cryptography
  • Fully homomorphic encryption

Within your statement, please make sure to discuss which area of research you are interested in and your academic background to support this.

Candidates are advised to discuss applications with Dr Elif Kavun (e.kavun@sheffield.ac.uk)

Required Qualifications:

Candidates should have an MSc or BSc (Honours) degree or equivalent in, Computer Science/Computer Engineering/Electrical Engineering/Applied Mathematics/IT Security, or closely related area

If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score (or equivalent) of 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each component.

Funding Details:

The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and provide an annual stipend at the standard RCUK rates (£15,009 in 2019/20) for three and a half years.

The studentship is available from September 2019


Studentship 3: PhD in Cybersecurity: Security and Privacy Preservation of the Internet of Things
Supervisor: Dr Nesrine Kaaniche
Project Description:

With the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) applications, people today are living in the era where everything is connected, thus continuously generating, acquiring and processing a huge amount of data.

Users may enjoy a diversity of assisted services, personalised applications and targeted recommendations, such as points of interest, movies, doctors, agencies, routes, etc – therefore exploiting locations, time and other context parameters. However, nowadays, there are spread concerns about user’s privacy, mainly due to this massive collection of data.

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to work in one of the following areas of cybersecurity:

  • Post-quantum privacy enhancing techniques
  • Privacy preserving machine learning/deep learning modelling for IoT personalised applications
  • Privacy preserving computation for distributed learning.

We look favourably on applicants who can demonstrate a knowledge of cryptography, machines learning, information security and who have strong programming and mathematical skills.

Within your statement, please make sure to discuss which area of research you are interested in and your academic background to support this.

Required Qualifications:

Good first degree in Computer Science

If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score (or equivalent) of 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each component.

Funding Details:

The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and provide an annual stipend at the standard RCUK rates (£15,009 in 2019/20) for three and a half years.
The studentship is available from September 2019


Studentship 4: PhD in Cybersecurity
Supervisor: Dr Prosanta Gope
Project Description:

We are seeking a PhD candidate to work in one of the following areas:

  • Machine learning/deep learning for enhancing security in physically unclonable functions
  • Blockchain-based energy trading platform security
  • Privacy enhancing technologies with deep learning for tackling real-world security problems.

The candidate should ideally have a background in machine learning and information security. They should also be able to address theoretical and practical aspects as needed.

Within your statement, please make sure to discuss which area of research you are interested in and your academic background to support this.

Candidates are advised to discuss applications with Dr Prosanta Gope (p.gope@sheffield.ac.uk)

Required Qualifications:

Good first degree in Computer Science

If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score (or equivalent) of 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each component.

Funding Details:

The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and provide an annual stipend at the standard RCUK rates (£15,009 in 2019/20) for three and a half years.

The studentship is available from September 2019