PhD & Postgraduate Research

We welcome applications for registration for the degrees of PhD, MPhil and MSc by Research in any of our research areas from well-qualified, able and enthusiastic students.

Studying for a research degree is a highly rewarding and challenging process. You'll work to become a leading expert in your topic area with regular contact and close individual supervision with your supervisor.

You'll have the opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals, pushing forward at the very edge of the discipline. Active seminar programmes and state of the art facilities mean there's plenty of ideas and technologies to stimulate your development as a research scientist. Research skills courses help support you in learning to improve your scientific methods, written and verbal communication skills, to help you realise the maximum potential from your work. Annual progress review panels will help to keep your research on track.

At Lancaster, we're immensely proud of our strong postgraduate research community and of the internationally significant reputation they've helped us achieve. You'll be encouraged to participate fully, targeting and presenting your work at major international conferences and workshops. There are numerous opportunities to collaborate nationally and internationally through our many research partnerships and links with industrial collaborators. Many of PhD students work on interdisciplinary research that cut across two or more disciplines, including:

  • health sciences
  • engineering
  • mathematics
  • physical, biological and environmental sciences
  • psychology

We recognise that a postgraduate research degree is often a stepping-stone to a career in research. During your studies you'll have the opportunity to get involved in our taught degree programmes - helping others is not only rewarding and brings you valuable experience to help you in your future career, but the financial remuneration can also bring valuable supplemental income.

Self-funded applications

To begin the process you will need to find a PhD Supervisor whose research interests align with your own. You will need to contact them to discuss your application.

Industry-funded applications

Launch your career in research and development with an industry-focused, three year funded PhD for graduates with a background in scientific disciplines. Each PhD is tailored to both the subject and the requirements of a specific industry.

We will require a research proposal on the area/s you are interested in joining us to study. This will be used to help us determine who will be the most suitable potential academic supervisor for your research. 

This is the starting point to find a suitable supervisor who will then if interested contact the applicant for a phone interview to discuss the proposal and intended research, meaning your proposal is not your permanent topic for your PhD studies and open to negotiation. Past guidelines have suggested the following:

  • a section that defines and characterises your selected research area;
  • a section that briefly surveys and sums up the state of the art in this area;
  • a section that identifies deficiencies in the state of the art which you would like to address in your PhD;
  • a section that outlines some possible research directions that you might pursue;
  • a list of references that you cite in the above sections.

We recommend applicants submit their research interests and the PhD Admissions Tutor can pass their application onto the most relevant and available potential supervisor. However, If you would like to search for a suitable academic supervisor(to quote in your application) then you can find a list of our academics here.

To submit an application, simply create an account on the My Applications website and then select ‘Create a new application’ from your homepage once you are logged-in.

Using your account on the My Applications website, you are able to submit applications for the programme(s) which you wish to study, upload supporting documentation and provide us with information about referees. You may apply for all our postgraduate programmes using this method.

Current Lancaster Students

If you are a current Lancaster student, or you have recently graduated from Lancaster, we can reduce the amount of information that you will need to provide as part of your application. You will need to provide only one reference and will not need to supply your Lancaster degree transcript. We will also pre-fill your personal details, ready for you to check.

You will need:

DocumentSpecial Notes
Postgraduate Application Form Provided once you have created an account and selected your mode of study
Two Referees Two references, one of which must be from an academic tutor. (There is an option to upload references yourself, however, these must be on letterheaded paper and signed) Or you can elect for an automatic email to go to your referees (if email addresses have been provided) requesting a reference.
Official Academic Transcripts Digital copies of Academic Transcripts for Undergraduate and where applicable Postgraduate degrees. If you have not yet received your final transcript please request an interim one from your University and list any pending modules you are currently taking(with any predicted grades you may have); any offer will be conditional on receipt of a full official transcript.
Detailed C.V Send a detailed Curriculum Vitae. This should cover academic achievements, past projects and any employment history.
Research Proposal Please attach a short document with your PhD application in which you explain your research interests. This will be an important part of your application as it helps us understand your motivation and ensures that your application is seen by the most appropriate potential supervisors.

You can apply at any time of the year for PhD study, but we encourage you to start at one of the predefined start dates of October, January or April. In some circumstances, July start date will be considered. An MSc by Research will usually start in October. If you wish to be considered for funding, are applying form overseas or require on-campus accommodation, we recommend you apply as early as possible.

Join our Graduate Training Programme at Lancaster University

Research training

We take care of all of our students at Lancaster University. The Faculty of Science and Technology runs a series of training sessions designed to improve your skills and abilities during your PhD.

Learn more

PhD Supervisors

Natural Language Processing, Authorship analysis, Spelling Variation

View Alistair's profile

I am interesting in supervising PhD students on a range of topics related to:

Distributed systems generally including cloud computing and middleware;

Environmental informatics including the role of cloud computing in supporting environmental scientists;

The digital economy, especially areas related to digital innovations and their impact on business or society (see the HighWire CDT - highwire.lancs.ac.uk);

The role of models at run-time in supporting the engineering of distributed systems.

View Gordon's profile

Supporting the co-design of technology for the Shared Curation of local history in a rural community

View Keith's profile

fog computing, network-awareness, cross-cloud computing, cloud migration

View Yehia's profile

Interested in a broad range of HCI/SE topics with a societal import (e.g. health, environment, civic technologies); currently, but not exclusively, focused on: designing tools and techniques for values mapping in software production, detecting social biases in technical systems, developing digital technologies that embed social values.

View Maria Angela's profile

Interests in applying ubicomp sensing to conduct real world empirical experiments to uncover how everyday practices contribute to carbon externality and global warming, and how we might transform these using technological ubicomp interventions.

View Adrian's profile

I am happy to explore and supervise topics within distributed systems and dependability research, including fault tolerance and fault recovery, distributed machine learning, energy-efficient computing, Cloud gaming, and resource scheduling. If you have your own ideas for a research project you would like to pursue, I'm happy to discuss in more detail.

View Peter's profile

I have PhD projects available on systems, devices and methods for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Topics of interest include:
The eye-computer interface: automated analysis of visual behaviour to support interaction
Spontaneous interaction across devices in public settings
Interaction with personal devices on shared surfaces
End-user mapping of indoor environments

View Hans's profile

computer vision, artificial intelligence

View Jungong's profile

I supervise students in all areas of human computer interaction, from the most technical concerns with systems' abstractions through to more general ones related o cultural change. My students have researched the specifics of interface design, the language and grammars of interaction, the philosophy of AI and the design of mobile applications and devices. My students have submited their theses in computer science, in the humanities (philosophy for example), in social science and in design. Any interested student should contact me before developing their PhD research proposals if they seek funding and support.

View Richard's profile

I am interested in how digital technologies affect everyday practice; in other words, how gadgets and online services affect what we do. This is causing profound change in what are percieved as normal ways of living and being, and has serious implications for global environmental sustainability, and how people participate in and contribute to societies. A sampling of recent topics (technologies): thermal comfort (learning thermostats), online service demand (smartphones), watching on-demand video (superfast broadband and smart TVs).

View Mike's profile

1. Digital Health: dashboards for the connected health city concept; smart and healthy living at home (smart home concept): behavior change detection and modeling; activity modeling and recognition; simulating human activity in smart spaces; e-coaching and persuasive interactions for patient empowerment; informatics platforms for pediatric asthma and other disease management; accessible airport announcements for the hearing impaired; blind empowerment in challenging environments (e.g., large convention setting). 2. Internet of Things: thing architectures; IoT programming models; dependability and related energy management of IoT; Emerging threat models challenging the security and usage of IoT applications and devices.

View Sumi's profile

If you are interested in doing doctoral research in the area of human-computer interaction and physical computing, feel free to contact me to discuss research opportunities. I am interested in supervising students on: (i) Multi-device or Cross-device interaction techniques, toolkits, systems and applications, (ii) Interactive spaces and spatial/proxemic interaction techniques, displays and applications, (iii) Large interactive surfaces and displays, architecture and interaction, (iv) Human-data interaction, physical data visualisations, in-the-wild deployment of physical data installations, (v) Large scale interactive systems, urban internet-of-things, (vi) sensor systems and public installation, and (vii) Interactive Systems in general.

View Steven's profile

I am interested in deformable displays, organic disjointed display elements, tangible interacatibles, novel stereoscopic approaches for single and multiple users. I have a transient interest in Brain computer interfaces too. Feel free to discuss your ideas with me if they align to any of my research interests.

View Abe's profile

Achieving Dependability and Adaptivity of Service-Oriented Product Lines

Adopting SO in practice for real software and system development, however, has uncovered several challenging issues, such as how to identify services, how to determine configurations of services that are relevant to users’ current context, and how to maintain system integrity after configuration changes. Moreover, the service features may vary from a user’s point of view and thus will be subjects of configuration changes at runtime for each user.

For example, in a smart home application scenario, participating entities such as sensors, actuators, and any type of computing devices, are mostly mobile and/or frequently switch to a hibernation mode to save energy. This implies they may join and leave the system scope at any time during execution. Nevertheless, we want to provide services continuously to users by using available resources. At the same time, it is critical to maintain the overall integrity of the system to guarantee an ‘expected’ level of dependability (e.g., vital monitoring service should be always available for an elderly user).

Of many issues related to the adoption of service orientation for system development, we would like to achieve dependability and adaptivity of service-oriented systems based on the variability management techniques of product line engineering. This project involves in setting up clear goals in terms of dependability and adaptivity and in exploring variability management techniques to achieve the goals.

View Jaejoon's profile

I am always looking for PhD students with a good background in Wireless Communications and Maths. Please contact me if you are interested.

View Keivan's profile

You are welcome to contact me if you are interested in doing your PhD in Wireless/Mobile Communications, Networking, IoT, Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning techniques. Please email me your CV, academic transcripts and a draft PhD research plan/proposal. China CSC PhD applicants or visitors are very welcome.

View Qiang's profile

If you are interested in doing PhD research in any of the following areas, you are welcome to contact me: a) Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Text Mining, particularly from multilingual aspects; b) Application of NLP to Social Computing and Social Sensing; c) Application of NLP to Digital Health; d) Application of NLP to information systems.

View Scott's profile

Emergent software, runtime adaptation, component-based software, machine learning

View Barry's profile

Software Defined Networks (SDN), Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), Network Orchestration, Network Monitoring, Network Security, Fog / Edge Computing, P4.

View Nicholas's profile

My main research area is Computer Vision and Deep Learning. I am always looking for PhD students with a good background in Programming and/or Maths. Please contact me if you are interested in working together on exciting research topics.

View Hossein's profile

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas: contextual disambiguation methods for automatic semantic annotation and WSD, multilingual semantic tagging, spelling variation in historical or online varieties, applications of NLP to real-world problems.

View Paul's profile

I am interested in supervising PhD projects in HCI-related areas, particularly those pertaining to my research interests.

View Corina's profile

My main research area is Artificial Intelligence, and Multi-agent Systems. I am interested in intelligent decision making, and machine learning. Usually my research is applied on digital games, robotics, social networks, arts/design, etc. I am happy to take PhD students, so feel free to contact me if you are interested in working together on exciting research topics!..

View Leandro's profile

I'm interested in supervising students in any of the areas listed below:

Many-core Systems
Compiler Optimisation
Power and Energy Optimisation
Runtime Adaptation and Dynamic Runtime Optimisation
Heterogeneous Parallelism Optimisation
GPGPU Optimisation
Auto-tuning and Machine Learning Techniques

View Zheng's profile

I'm interested in supervising students in any of the areas listed below: Cryptography e-voting security IoT security Blockchain security

View Bingsheng's profile

Research Areas

Our research is recognised for its exceptional quality and international reputation and is supported by RCUK, EU and industry funding. As a result, our work crosscuts traditional research fields, is strongly multidisciplinary and focuses on achieving high impact. We have contributed substantially to a wide range of application domains including energy, transport, cyber-crime and social computing.

HighWire Doctoral Training Centre

HighWire is a Doctoral Training Centre at Lancaster University. We have a post-disciplinary approach to innovation through research which crosses computing, design and management.

Learn more

Current Funded PhDs

  • Fully funded PhD Studentships in Communications, Data Science, Distributed Systems, HCI, Health Informatics, Networking, Pervasive Computing, Security and Software Engineering.

    This is a call for applications, for fully funded PhD studentships at Lancaster University. We are looking for candidates who are passionate about research in any of the areas listed below. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a studentship interview in July 2019.

    Topics

    • Communications
    • Data Science
    • Distributed Systems
    • HCI
    • Health Informatics
    • Networking
    • Pervasive Computing
    • Security
    • Software Engineering

    More Details

    Eligibility UK, EU and Overseas students
    Funding Annual tax-free stipend (£14,777) with annual increment, fees fully funded and travel bursary provided
    Duration 3.5 years for UK/EU students and 3 years for overseas students
    Hours Full Time
    Application Deadline Friday, 28 June 2019
    Starting Date October 2019
    Academic Requirements First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject

    Application Process

    Candidates should submit an application to the School of Computing and Communications, following the instructions here

    All  interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of gender, age, religious affiliation or ethnic background.

  • Pi-3D: Investigating perception and interaction related effects during the use of 3D-capable displays
  • PhD Studentship in Health Informatics/Cybernetics Platforms for Active and Healthy Ageing

    Details to follow. In the meantime, please contact:

    Professor Sumi Helal
    Professor & Chair in Digital Health
    Chair, HIC Operational Steering Group on Digital Health
    School of Computing and Division of Health Research

    Paula Whalley
    Personal Assistant to Professor Helal
    p.whalley@lancaster.ac.uk
    +44(0)1524 510382

  • PhD Studentships in AI and Multi-Agent Systems

    Artificial Intelligence is an exciting area of research, with a great potential impact in our society. In particular, Multi-agent Systems is a great field, encompassing robotics, digital games, machine learning, economics, optimisation, etc. In our laboratory, we aim at developing and analysing real systems, where groups of agents collaborate in accomplishing useful goals; or even compete when their goals differ. These groups may be composed of robots, of artificial software agents, or even of a mixture of artificial and human agents.

    The School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University has studentships available for exceptional PhD students, from the UK, the EU, and overseas. In particular, Dr. Marcolino supports applications for CoLab, our Artificial Intelligence and Multi-agent Systems laboratory. Interested applicants should check Dr. Marcolino's page at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/sorianom, and contact him directly at l.marcolino@lancaster.ac.uk to discuss his/her application. Please write "PhD Application" in the Subject header.

    We are looking for students that are passionate and excited about research. Previous research experience (even if informal), and a strong background in Mathematics are particularly welcome.

    More Details

    • Qualification: PhD
    • Hours: Full Time
    • Application Deadline: 30 June 2018
    • Starting date: October 2018 preferred, but January 2019 or April 2019 are possible
    • Academic Requirement: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject
    • Studentship duration: 3.5 years for UK/EU students or 3 years for overseas students
    • Stipends: £14,777 per year + £800 training bursary (e.g., for conference travelling)

    Application Process

    Candidates should submit an application to the School of Computing and Communications, following the instructions at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/scc/study/phd/. Please contact Dr. Marcolino (l.marcolino@lancaster.ac.uk) before-hand, and do mention your interest in working with him in your application. The application package includes:

    • Two Referees
    • Official Academic Transcripts
    • Detailed C.V.
    • Research Proposal
    • Personal Statement

    More information about these documents are available at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/scc/study/phd/#tabs-343317-3. Candidates that are being considered for the studentship will also be interviewed.

    We invite all interested candidates to apply, regardless of gender, age, religious affiliation or ethnic background.

  • The Future of Data Storage and the Future of Data Need: a PhD in HCI and/or Sociology of Computing

    To start: October 2018

    Deadline for Applications: Monday August 20th 2018

    This is a call for applications for a three-year fully funded PhD studentship for UK and EU citizens in the Leverhulme Trust PhD Centre for Material Social Futures at Lancaster University.

    Topic: The invention of new materials, such as nanostructures, has created much hyperbole as well as concern. Nanostructures are in the size range of 1 to 100 nm; minute beyond everyday understanding yet capable, in theory at least, of being assembled into new shapes and structures. In the computing industry, these structures are expected to be revolutionary; offering, amongst other things, the promise of quantum data storage. This affects not just the way data might be stored and encrypted but the scale of data storage. Indeed, with nanotechnology, manufacturers might be able to produce data storage materials at costs that are so low that the data storage becomes virtually free. However, and as any economist would observe, when the value of a commodity becomes almost nil, demand for it is likely to become infinitely large. In this case, users (whether individuals, companies or governments) might stop asking why they want to store data or what they want to do with it once stored, and instead start saving everything – irrespective of worth or value. Indeed, with ‘nano-data-storage’, the world might become flooded with ‘digital dirt’. This is to put it colourfully, but is this ‘store everything’ future desirable? If not, why not? What is the alternative? Besides, is this ‘digital dirt’ scenario misrepresenting how users might leverage nano-storage? Their behaviours might be affected, by, for example, innovative design that makes them think differently about purpose and value. New forms of HCI might be enabled. Indeed, how will people interact with data storage?  ‘Digital housework’ that involves clearing out unwanted data might become a norm. All these and more are legitimate topics to be investigated in this forward-thinking research project. The appointed candidate will participate in and contribute to a multi-stranded research programme in Material Social Futures in which the future of data storage and data need is one important part.  

    The Leverhulme Centre for Material Social Futures

    Lancaster University’s Leverhulme Doctoral Training Centre in Material Social Futures is a major new strategic collaborative partnership between two of the university’s recently formed research Institutes – the Institute for Social Futures and the Material Science Institute. The PhD candidate will be part of a growing team of PhDs who will work to bring together concepts and approaches from across the disciplines to help produce futures that people want and the world needs.

    Lancaster University is one of the top 10 universities in the UK. The project will also benefit from access to the vibrant research community of Lancaster’s Institutes for Social Futures (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/social-futures/) and Materials Science (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/materials-science-institute/)

    Supervisors

    The PhD will be supervised by Prof. Richard Harper http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/scc/about-us/people/richard-harper; and Dr Nicola Spurling http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/people-profiles/nicola-spurling.

    Informal enquiries are warmly welcomed, please contact r.harper@lancaster.ac.uk or   n.spurling@lancaster.ac.uk.

    Further Details

    • The PhD is for 3 years duration and is awardable to any EU citizen;
    • Payment of academic fees;
    • A Maintenance Stipend (£14,777 pa);
    • Access to a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) (£800 pa) for reimbursement of research-related expenses including – but not limited to – conference attendance, training courses and equipment.
    • Additional research costs (such as entailed in fieldwork) will be supported as appropriate;
    • Access to a range of training and development provided by Lancaster University, the Material Social Futures PhD Programme, and the Institute for Social Futures and the Materials Science Institute;
    • The Material Social Futures PhD programme will offer optional internships (including international placements) in the second and or third year of training.

    Person Specification:

    • Candidates will preferably have a background and academic interest in any combination of HCI and computer science, sociology, anthropology or related science and technology studies;
    • Candidates must have qualifications of the standard of Bachelor’s degree at first or upper second class level, and may also benefit from having a suitable Master’s degree or equivalent (or will have completed a Master’s degree by the starting date October 2018) in a relevant discipline. 

    Application Information: Please send enquiries about the vacancy and applications by email to Richard Harper (r.harper@lancaster/ac/uk) or Nicola Spurling (n.spurling@lancaster.ac.uk)

    How to apply:

    • A full CV, including two named referees (one of whom should be your most recent academic tutor/supervisor);
    • A copy of Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree transcript (or copy of equivalent qualifications);
    • A letter of application (not exceeding two pages of A4) outlining your suitability for a PhD and explaining how you would approach the research;
    • An example of postgraduate level written work (e.g. a research article, chapter, or essay).

    Email applications to either of the supervisors above

    DeadlineMonday August 20th 2018

    Candidates invited for an interview will be eligible to claim reasonable UK travel expenses to attend.

  • 3x PhD Studentships – Next Generation Converged Digital Infrastructure (NG-CDI)

    Closing Date: TBC
    Interview Date: TBC

    Three PhD Studentships are available to work on Next Generation Converged Digital infrastructure (NG-CDI), an exciting, cross-disciplinary research project led by Lancaster University.  NG-CDI is a five year, £5M programme of research funded by EPSRC and BT that will forge the next generation converged digital infrastructure for the UK, delivering a radically new data-driven architecture for the autonomous operation of future telecommunications infrastructure.  The consortium brings together leading research groups from the Universities of Lancaster, Cambridge, Bristol and Surrey working alongside BT, one of the world’s leading communications service providers

    What’s in it for you?
    Become part of a challenging team that’s working with the business to revolutionise the infrastructure of the internet in the UK. Creating an agile, resilient network capable of meeting the future needs of our rapidly changing society.

    Develop links with external organisations
    This project benefits from linkages with BT, one of the world’s leading communications service providers.

    Join an exciting research environment
    The School of Computing and Communications offers a highly inclusive and stimulating environment for career development and you will be exposed to a range of further opportunities over the course of this post. We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis, as well as the Athena SWAN Charter, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address gender equality in higher education and research.

    Who should apply?
    We are seeking applications from graduates with a good degree in a relevant discipline such as Computer Science or Electrical Engineering. You must have a demonstrable potential for creative, high-quality PhD research.

    Studentship funding
    Full studentships (UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£17,000 2017/18 [tax-free])) for UK/EU students for 3.5 years. Unfortunately, funding is not available for International (non-EU) students.

    Academic Requirements
    First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject.

    Deadline for applications
    TBC

    Provisional Interview Date
    TBC

    Start Date
    October 2018

    For further information
    Or an informal discussion about the position, please contact Nick Race (n.race@lancaster.ac.uk).

    Application process
    Please apply online via Lancaster University Postgraduate Admissions Portal.

    Please note if English is not your first language you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English (see: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/international-students/english-requirements/requirements-p2/). This evidence is only required if you are offered the funded position, it is not required as part of this application process.