Call for PhD Applications in Cyber Security (rolling deadline, applications will be considered until filled or 31st May 2018)
The Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS) at the University of Kent has been awarded 2 full scholarships for "UK residents", co-funded by the EPSRC and the University. The scholarship will cover a bursary (£14,777 per year, 2018/19 rate) and the fees for home (UK/EU) students (£4,260, 2018/19 rate). Scholarships are normally for three years (36 months) for a full-time PhD student, subject to satisfactory progression through each year of study. By UK residents, we mean people who "have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship." For a more detailed explanation from EPSRC, please go to this web page.
The scholarships are competitive and open for the following eligible Core Members of the Centre in two Schools:
- School of Computing: Budi Arief, Carlos Perez Delgado, Julio Cesar Hernandez-Castro, Özgür Kafalı, Andy King, Rogério de Lemos, Shujun Li, Jason Nurse
- School of Engineering and Digital Arts: Farzin Deravi, Richard Guest, Sanaul Hoque, Gareth Howells
All PhD projects must be Cyber Security centric and are expected to be cross-school/disciplinary with two co-supervisors (a principal supervisor and a secondary), although we will also consider very strong applicants working with two co-supervisors from a single School (Computing or Engineering and Digital Arts) -- in the latter case one of the co-supervisor must be a Core Member of the Centre. We expect that most projects will be between Computing and Engineering and Digital Arts, but involvement of the Centre's Associate Members from other schools especially those in the Faculty of Social Sciences is encouraged. You will need to register at either School for your PhD study depending on to which School your principal supervisor belongs.
Applicants from a non-UK member state of the European Union are not eligible for full scholarships, but eligible for the fee component. Therefore, if you can bring your own funding to cover your living costs, we can consider you as well.
How to Apply
To apply for the scholarships, follow the steps below. Note that the research proposal is used to test your technical writing and literature review skills, and the topic may still be adjusted once you are made an offer.
- Read the general instructions for PhD applications.
- Study research profiles of all eligible Core Members listed above to identify one or several supervisors you want to work with.
- Approach potential supervisors to discuss your research topics to identity the supervisory team you want to work with and to get advice on how to prepare a research proposal (which will be required as part of your application material).
- If none of the eligible Core Members' research interests match yours, study research profiles of the Centre's Associate Members within the Schools of Computing and Engineering and Digital Arts to see if you can find an Associate Member you can work with -- if so approach that Associate Member to identify a research topic that can involve a Core Member of the Centre (ideally from a different School) as the secondary supervisor.
- Prepare your application material, which should include
- a properly formatted CV
- certificates and transcripts of all university degree programmes studied
- a research proposal on a selected topic including a mini literature review, a proposed methodology, a work plan and a bibliography
- proof of your English qualifications (if not obvious from other application material)
- proof of your UK residency and your right to stay in the UK (if not obvious from other application material)
- at least two reference letters (which can be provided after you submit your formal application)
- After you have all your application material ready, visit one of the following web pages to submit your application depending on which school and which programme you want to be registered with. If you want to register with the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, ask your potential supervisors on which programme you should apply for. If you are equally interested in applying to both Schools, then submit two separate applications to both Schools so you can be considered by both. We will consider which School we will recommend you to register if we decide to make you an offer. In your application, please include the following phrase "Applying for KirCCS EPSRC PhD scholarships" and the names of co-supervisors you are applying to work with. If you are applying to both Schools, mention this in your application as well.
Applications will be considered immediately as they come in and strong applicants will be made an offer asap. The latest date for us to consider your applications is Thursday 31st May, 2018, but we urge propective applicants to submit their applications asap as the call will be closed once both studentships are filled. You are expected to start your PhD study in September 2018 (preferred) or January 2019.
After you submit your application, a School level selection process will take place and an offer will be made without secured funding. Then a Centre level selection process will take place recommend the 4 strongest applicants for the scholarships. The University will have a final evaluation on the recommended applicants, after which we will inform all applicants about the results.
If you find it difficult to identify potential supervisors, research topics or have any other general questions e.g. on your eligibility, please contact the Centre Director Prof Shujun Li for help.
If you have questions on the School level PhD admissions procedure, please contact:
If you have questions on regulations and practices of PhD studies at the University of Kent, please contact the corresponding School's Director of PGR Studies:
Example Topics for PhD Studies at KirCCS
Below please find a list of some example topics for PhD studies at KirCCS. The list is not supposed to be complete, but just to give you a flavour of the kind of projects we are interested. Please follow the instructions above to approach potential supervisors for identifying relevant topics for your study.
- How computationally constrained (IoT) devices can generate truly random numbers to feed the security protocols they implement (Julio Cesar Hernandez-Castro and Gareth Howells)
- How do we know that compilers and linkers have not been tampered with to introduce a back-door into low-level code generated by them (Andy King and Gareth Howells)
- Self-adaptive privacy protection system based on distributed ledge technologies, with a privacy-aware mechanism to facilitate data sharing and trading (Rogério de Lemos, and an academic from the School of Engineering and Digital Arts)
- Self-adaptive authorisation infrastructure and perpetually evolving mechanisms for detecting and handling insider threats (Rogério de Lemos, and an academic from the School of Psychology/Economics)
- Next-generation quantum cryptographic systems beyond quantum key distribution (Carlos Perez Delgado, and an academic from the School of Physical Sciences)
- Continuous authentication and impersonation detection based on behavioural sensors (e.g., through usage monitoring of such sensors) and contextual information such as geo-locations (Richard Guest or Farzin Deravi, and Shujun Li)
- Applications of smart antennas in cyber security especially behavioural sensing in intrusion detection, insider threats and data loss prevention (Prof Steven Gao and Shujun Li -- an example of an Associate Member as the principal supervisor)
- More example projects from Shujun Li (as the principal suprevisor)
- More example topics of Core Members from the School of Computing (not all are cross-school)