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.

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.

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 -;

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

  • We have studentships available in all of our eight research areas

    Title: Fully Funded PhD opportunity in any of the research areas listed below
    Qualification: PhD
    Location: Lancaster UK
    Funding for: UK Students, EU Students.
    Award: Annual tax-free stipend with annual increment (EPSRC/RCUK indicative sum), UK/EU fees fully funded, and travel bursary provided
    Hours: Full Time
    Deadline: June 30, each year
    Description: You are invited to apply for a PhD studentship, funded for up to 3.5 years, commencing at the beginning of the academic PhD year (either October, January, or April).

    In these research groups, you will also find details on preparing PhD proposals, on contacting individual staff and on funding.

    • Communication Systems
    • Data Science
    • Distributed Systems
    • Interactive Systems
    • Networking
    • Pervasive Systems
    • Security
    • Software Engineering
  • Fully Funded PhD Studentship Cyber Security - Physical Uncloneable Functions

    In Brief

    • Topic: Physical Uncloneable Functions 
    • Closing Date: Apply as soon as possible 
    • Eligibility: UK Students, EU Students
    • Funding: Annual tax-free stipend of £14,296 (which will increment yearly).
    • Hours: Full Time


    You are invited to apply for fully-funded three year PhD studentship, commencing after December 2016, supported by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The scholarship covers fees for students from the UK or the EU and provides an annual tax-free stipend of £14,296 (which will increment yearly).

    The research will focus on a novel form of Physical Uncloneable Function (PUF), which was recently invented at Lancaster University.

    PUF’s are an exciting technology that can be used to provide a secret (a key). A PUF can be constructed in various ways, for example using scattering patterns of an optical medium or chip-specific transistor switch delay variations. The assumption is that the secret cannot be duplicated, as it is bound to a physical entity, which cannot be cloned. We have proposed resonant tunnelling diodes (RTDs), simple electronic structures displaying quantum confinement, for usage as PUF devices [1]. The unique electrical characteristics of each device can be translated into a secret.

    The broad aim of this research project is to investigate how to best extract secrets from RTD-PUF’s and how to use the information obtained from digital systems. For example, the properties of extracted digital information must be characterised (uniqueness, collision probability, distribution, etc); error correction schemes must be developed to compensate for measurement errors when extracting secrets; a protocol framework must be designed to facilitate authentication of devices using an RTD-PUF.

    You will work with a vibrant research team of academic staff, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students across Lancaster’s Physics Department and the School of Computing and Communications. Your supervision will be undertaken by Prof. Utz  Roedig (Computing) and Dr Robert Young (Physics).

    You will be based within Security Lancaster, an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research recognised by the UK government and GCHQ. It is one of the few multi-disciplinary centres to tackle human and technological challenges to cyber security by integrating multiple disciplines, covering physics, computer science and social sciences. Security Lancaster is a hive of research activity with over 20 academic staff and a large portfolio of security-related research projects.

    Applicants should be highly motivated and have a first or upper-second class BSc (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. International applicants must also have IELTS [International English Language Testing System] score of 7 and above (or equivalent qualification). The work requires good mathematical background and a basic understanding of cryptographic concepts. The applicant should have an understanding of or an interest in the design of communication frameworks and protocols.

    [1] Roberts, J, Bagci, IE, Zawawi, MAM, Sexton, J, Hulbert, N, Noori, Y, Young, M, Woodhead, C, Missous, M, Migliorato, MA, Roedig, U & Young, RJ 2015, 'Using quantum confinement to uniquely identify devices' Scientific Reports, vol 5, 16456. 

    How to Apply

    For further information, please contact Prof. Utz Roedig.

  • 2 Fully Funded PhDs in Networking: Software Defined Networking / Towards Ultimate Convergence of All Networks (TOUCAN)

    Software Defined Networking / Towards Ultimate Convergence of All Networks (TOUCAN).

    For full details, please contact Professor David HutchisonDr Nick Race or Dr Andreas Mauthe

  • Pi-3D: Investigating perception and interaction related effects during the use of 3D-capable displays
  • VR-IDEs: Investigating the use of commercial state-of-the-art VR and AR technologies in an educational learning context of MOOCs and Computing

    The candidate will investigate the use of commercial state-of-art VR and AR technologies in an educational learning context of MOOCs and Computing. The exploration is structured around leveraging VR environmental setups to rethink the implementation of IDEs and toolchains that are core to teaching programming and software development. This can extend into multi-user peer programming/learning scenarios, large classroom VLEs or offer new Virtual reality paradigms in the context of VLEs. The main focus is the design of interactions, metaphors and interfaces to support such activities.

    Candidate Profile

    • The ideal candidate will have experience with programming, understanding of graphics and game engine based applications in VR/AR
    • A relevant degree in Computing/HCI is most suitable but other closely related subject areas may be considered
    • Any prior publications are a definite plus
    • Contact Dr Abe Karnik for more information
    • More information
  • 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

    Provisional Interview Date

    Start Date
    October 2018

    For further information
    Or an informal discussion about the position, please contact Nick Race (

    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: This evidence is only required if you are offered the funded position, it is not required as part of this application process.

  • Fully Funded PhD Opportunity in Distributed Systems

    In Brief

    • Topic: Fault-tolerance for massive-scale distributed systems
    • Closing Date: Apply as soon as possible 
    • Eligibility: UK Students, EU Students
    • Funding: Annual tax-free stipend with annual increment, fees fully funded and travel bursary provided.
    • Hours: Full Time


    A fully funded 3.5 year PhD studentship is available to study dependable massive-scale distributed systems (Cloud computing, data centres, HPC). This entails studying emergent failure manifestation within 5,000+ node systems and proposing novel techniques to enhance their availability and reliability (example techniques could include failure detection, fault-tolerance, and resource management).

    The successful candidate will partake in paid summer internships at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire – hosting some of the UK’s major scientific facilities - to enhance their computing infrastructure. There also exist opportunities for summer internships at Microsoft Research in Washington for outstanding candidates.

    This studentship will align with the EPSRC research project Pin the Tail: Understanding Straggler Manifestation in Internet-based Distributed Systems, further details can be found at:


    Candidates should have a 1st class degree (or equivalent) in computer science or a closely related discipline with a keen interest in distributed systems, fault-tolerance, or failure analysis. Experience in studying large-scale computing systems, root-cause analysis and resource scheduling are beneficial, although not required. We welcome both fresh graduates and individuals with industry experience.

    This project will require a hands-on approach and the expectation is that a self-motivated candidate with excellent interpersonal skills will perform internationally leading research work and produce top-quality publications.

    Funding is available for 3.5 years

    Application details

    Your application should include:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Personal statement (please mention “Distributed Systems” in your personal statement)
    • Research proposal (2-page maximum)
    • University grade transcripts
    • 2 references

    Contact Us

    Informal enquiries are strongly encouraged prior to submission and should contact Dr Peter Garraghan for further information concerning this position.

  • PhD Studentship in Software Engineering and Values
    Topic Values in Software Production
    Closing Date 1st July 2018
    Eligibility UK Students and EU Students
    Funding Annual tax-free stipend with annual increment, fees fully funded and travel bursary provided
    Hours Full time

    We have a fully funded PhD position investigating social values in software production. This line of investigation works at the intersection of Software Engineering and Human Computer Interaction and is thematically linked to the “Values in Computing” project (ViC), as such, you will have the opportunity to work with an international research network and industry partners.

    Research Background

    Much computing research focuses on understanding and developing digital technologies that can change people’s lives. Instead, Values in Computing aims to understand and systematically capture how digital technologies come to life and ‘behave’. In doing so, we argue that a more scientific understanding of values is needed, especially when it comes to computing technologies. The key research question is how values can be systematically studied in software production. More specifically:

    • What existing values-mapping techniques can be used and adapted to software production/SE?
    • How does investigating values in SE differ from other fields?
    • What values are specific to SE and software industry?
    • What approaches (i.e. computationally intensive, qualitative, quantitative, etc.) can be used to capture and track values?

    Research Environment

    Based in the School of Computing and Communications (SCC) you will be part of the ViC team, which offers a supportive and collegial environment. With expertise in rapid prototyping, agile development and participatory action research, ViC core team is flexible and can quickly reconfigure to bring extra expertise and support from its research and industry partners. We have several years experience of working together and in partnership with communities, practitioners, and businesses in EPSRC-funded projects such as Catalyst, tools for change and Clasp, personalised Health IoT.

    About You

    We invite applications from enthusiastic individuals who have a Masters or equivalent experience in Computer Science. Ideally, you have a background in the areas of software engineering, requirements engineering, and decision-making processes in software development environments. You must also demonstrate a strong interest in the role played by computing in society and an appreciation for fields such as philosophy of technology, psychology, and computer ethics.

    You may start by using tools and techniques already developed by the ViC team or by designing and developing new ones and exploring new approaches. A combination of different research approaches are particularly welcome: from computationally intensive, to qualitative, quantitative or informed by speculative design. The scale of the investigation can also vary, from relatively compact case studies with industries, to large scale studies looking at automatic values extraction from on-line social media content and existing datasets.

    Application Details

    Please apply online via the University Postgraduate Admissions Portal with:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • University grade transcripts

    Note that no proposal is required as part of the application, though evidence of research vision and relevant background knowledge on the state of the art in this area is strongly encouraged. You should clearly state on your application that you are applying for a funded PhD opportunity on “Values in Computing ”.

    Contact Us

    We very much welcome informal queries about this opportunity, please contact Dr Maria Angela Ferrario email:

  • Emergent Distributed Systems: self-assembling and self-writing software without the programmer

    Over the past two years, we have defined and implemented the new concept of emergent software which self-assembles to best match its environment [1,2]. This project aims to develop novel theory and implementation to enable entire distributed software systems to autonomously self-assemble from a large set of small behaviours, with no human input in this process, to satisfy a given goal. This will help to address the growing problem of software complexity, in which human developers are required to have extremely high levels of input into the design, implementation, maintenance and deployment of software. Once a functional system (or system of systems) has been assembled using our approach, these systems will then continually discover their own capabilities by learning about the different ways in which they can assemble themselves and how those assemblies affect their performance under different conditions. All of this happens while a target software system is live, running in its normal production environment so that everything is learned based on the reality to which the system is actually subjected.

    This fully-funded PhD opportunity (fees plus living costs) will specifically explore how peer-to-peer and centralised distribute system architectures may emerge from a process of self-assembly under different runtime conditions. The project will particularly consider the increasing deployment of smart edge devices which can locally host agile services where needed, and how we can decide where computation, data and networked services may best reside or execute over time. The output of this work will be published at leading systems conferences such as OSDI, NSDI and EuroSys, among other suitable venues.


    Candidates should have a 1st class degree (or equivalent) in computer science or a closely related discipline with an interest in distributed systems, machine learning, and code generation. Strong programming skills are essential. Experience in system orchestration, component-based development, and applied machine learning are useful but not required.

    Application details Please send the following to Dr Barry Porter at

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter, explaining your interest in this PhD and your background
    • Undergraduate degree transcripts

    Contact Us

    We very much welcome informal queries about this opportunity, which should be directed to Dr Barry Porter (

    [1] Defining Emergent Software using Continuous Self-Assembly, Perception, and Learning, Rodrigues and Porter, ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems, 2017
    [2] REx: A Development Platform and Online Learning Approach for Runtime Emergent Software Systems, Porter, Grieves, Rodrigues and Leslie, USENIX OSDI 2016

  • Fully Funded PhD (3 year) Studentship in Computer Science

    In Brief

    • Topic: Butterfly Effects – Holistic Dynamic Energy Efficiency Perspectives for Computing Systems Design
    • Closing Date: apply as soon as possible
    • Eligibility: UK Students, EU Students
    • Funding: Annual tax-free stipend with annual increment, fees fully funded and travel bursary provided
    • Hours: Full Time

    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. Based in the School of Computing and Communications (SCC) you will be part of a growing team of PhDs who will examine how to create more sustainable and socially beneficial futures, and who will be trained to engage in diverse aspects of materials discovery and the analysis of social and economic structures to achieve these ends. In short, the goal of PhDs in Material Social Futures will be to help produce futures that people want and the world needs.

    Background to this PhD

    We live in a world where energy demand continues to expand. Individuals and institutions do not just use more, they consume it in ever more diverse ways; and whilst there might be a willingness to be more sensitive to sustainable energy solutions, the increase in demand outstrips the pace with which new, more sustainable sources can be developed. This is particularly the case with computer systems and devices, where it is not just plugged and connected power that matters, but also for a portable battery provided sources. Smartphones succeed not just because of their smart apps, but because of the energy solutions they embody – in terms of the size and efficiency of the battery in relation to application demands. However, battery technologies use increasingly rare materials and substitutes do not always offer the same energy storage or capacity; and while computational power demands might be made more efficient, future smart devices might need to be quite radically reconceived. Just as this applies to smart devices, much larger computational systems such as Cloud computing might also need to be reconfigured to make energy provision and consumption key to their design.


    ICT now consumes 10% of global electricity and is positioned to aggressively expand due to consumer demand and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) formed by 75 billion connected devices by 2025. Computing systems ranging from smartphones, laptops, to Cloud data centres, are composed by an assortment of software, hardware, battery, and cooling sub-systems.

    Achieving high performance, energy-efficient computing is an active research area within computer science, with disciplines focusing on a singular sub-system of interest. Few approaches have addressed this holistically (all sub-systems together), nor considered the ‘butterfly effect’ that exists within sub-systems. For example, alteration to software patterns drives changes in resource usage, resulting in different energy consumption and heat rejection cooling patterns. The challenge of studying this butterfly effect is exhuberated when considering dynamic sub-system energy profiles from heterogeneous software patterns, architectures, battery technologies, and cooling types. If this is one perspective on energy, another has to do with how new, more ecological friendly batteries, have different energy production profiles and these too might affect how computer systems function efficiently.

    The aim of this project is to study such things as the butterfly effect or the dynamics of power outputs with new battery technologies and their consequences for computing systems. If we are able to uncover the butterfly effect phenomena, would it be possible for computing systems to holistically coordinate and optimise their operation intelligently through the use of machine learning embedded within the Operating System in such a way as to optimise energy use? If battery output modulations are a key consequence of post-cobalt chemistries, what implications does this have for tetherless systems and their operating systems? Approaches to these and related problems, would not be limited to singular computing devices and systems and could encompass massive-scale distributed systems.Moreover, answers to these concerns will be deepened by team-based collaborations with chemists working on new battery technologies. The purpose of the research is to propose future computing architectures that would significantly improve the energy implication consequences of future computing architectures.

    Further Details

    • Cover full payment of academic fees (at the standard RCUK rate)
    • A Maintenance Stipend (£14,777 pa)
    • Access to a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for reimbursement of research-related expenses including – but not limited to – conference attendance, training courses and equipment of at least £800 pa. Additional research costs (such as entailed in fieldwork) will be supported as appropriate
    • Access to a range of training and development provided by the Material Social Futures PhD Programme, Sociology Department, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Institute for Social Futures and Lancaster University
    • The Material Social Futures PhD programme will offer internships (including international placements) in the second and or third year of training


    Candidates should have a 1st class degree (or equivalent) in computer science or a closely related discipline with an interest in machine learning, energy-efficiency, operating systems, and distributed systems. Good programming skills are essential. Hands-on experience with computing architectures, battery technologies, and cooling systems are beneficial, but not required.

    Application details

    Please apply online via the University Postgraduate Admissions Portal with:

    • A CV (2 pages maximum)
    • Cover letter
    • University grade transcripts

    Note that no proposal is required as part of the application, though evidence of research vision and relevant background knowledge on the state of the art in this area is strongly encouraged. You should clearly state on your application that you are applying for a  funded PhD opportunity on “Butterfly Effect – Holistic Energy-efficient Computing Systems ”.

    Contact Us

    We very much welcome informal queries about this opportunity, which should be directed to Dr Peter Garraghan (

  • 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
    +44(0)1524 510382

  • 2x 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, and contact him directly at 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 Please contact Dr. Marcolino ( 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 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 ( and Materials Science (


    The PhD will be supervised by Prof. Richard Harper; and Dr Nicola Spurling


    Informal enquiries are warmly welcomed, please contact or


    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 (


    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

    Deadline: Monday August 20th 2018

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

  • Optimal Resilience in Distribution Networks

    In both nature and society, distribution networks are fundamental, facilitating the exchange of materials, energy and information. As systems evolve, these networks become complex leading to fragile systems at significant risk of failure. Rail networks are a classic example of this, where timetable pressures amplify the effects of mechanical failure, spikes in demand and adverse weather.

    The issue of maintaining the integrity of a network is central to all large-scale computer networks operated by the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba. In tandem with computer scientists, these organisations have created machine learning methods that make these networks resilient to both disturbance and decay. This project will research how these embedded decision making methods can be used to make rail networks resilient.

    The project will be a collaboration between the School of Computing and Communication and the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University, and Digital Rail. It aims to produce a new approach to predict and minimise complex failures within distribution networks (road, rail, air) more generally. As a result, we envisage being able to provide a research environment that is both intellectually challenging and of significant practical relevance, with opportunity to develop meaningful links within the rail sector.

    This PhD studentship covers full UK/EU fees and a stipend of £14,777 p.a., in addition to a training grant of £2500 p.a.

    Our ideal candidate would be able to demonstrate they can bring energy and enthusiasm to the project, along with a foundation in the kind of technical and numerical skills that such a project necessarily requires. They will have a minimum of 2:1 in their first degree in a STEM related subject and be able to articulate clearly why research is the appropriate next step in their career.

    All enquiries to Dr Andrew Jarvis (

  • Talking about personal recovery in bipolar disorder: An exploration of how people describe personal recovery experiences in structured and informal settings

    Project Description

    Bipolar disorder is a severe mental health problem characterised by recurrent periods of elevated and depressed mood. In between distinct mood episodes many people experience extended periods of subsyndromal mood symptoms, which can have a detrimental impact on day-to-day functioning (Judd et al., 2003). People living with bipolar disorder often experience additional difficulties including problems with anxiety, substance use, self-harm and suicide risk. Despite these multiple challenges, many individuals value aspects of their bipolar experiences, which can lead to ambivalence about engagement with treatments that might be perceived as taking such experiences away (Lobban et al., 2012).

    Initiated by the service user movement and more recently supported by national government policy, there is increasing interest in personal recovery in bipolar disorder. Personal recovery has been described as ‘a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life…..Recovery involvement the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness’ (Anthony, 1993). Personal recovery is therefore possible alongside illness experiences and does not require eradication of symptoms or relapse, which would be the primary targets of clinical recovery.

    Our team have conducted a series of qualitative and quantitative studies to understand more about this potential contentious topic in bipolar disorder. This has led to development of a measure of personal recovery and a new form of therapy to enhance personal recovery outcomes (Morrison et al., 2016, Jones et al., 2013, Jones et al., 2015). However, evidence to date on personal recovery has come from structured measures and structured interview situations.

    The purpose of this PhD is apply techniques from corpus linguistics and natural language processing to explore how people living with bipolar disorder talk about personal recovery in unstructured communications such as through social media/third sector forums. Web as corpus techniques will be used to collect the data from open access sources, and then frequency profiling and collocation methods (Rayson, 2015) to investigate how people describe key topics, plus the extension and domain adaptation of sentiment and semantic methods (Rayson, 2008) will allow conceptual profiling of personal recovery concepts. The patterns emerging from online forums will be compared with patterns observed in our existing transcripts of qualitative interviews around recovery.

    This PhD will help inform and elaborate our theoretical understand of personal recovery in bipolar disorder and help understand the relevance (or otherwise) of this concept for the wider population of individual living with this mental health condition.

    If you wish to be considered for this PhD project please contact Professor Jones directly including a copy of your CV and a covering letter explaining why you wish to be considered for this opportunity

    Funding Notes

    Awards are available for UK or EU students for a maximum of three years full-time study. Awards will cover University Tuition Fees and pays a Stipend at Research council rate (2018-2019: £14,777).