Apply for a funded PhD position

We offer a range of PhDs funded by different sources, such as research councils, industries or charities.

To apply for a funded PhD please read the advertised project information carefully as requirements will vary between funders. The project information will include details of funding eligibility, application deadline dates and links to application forms. Only applicants who have a relevant background and meet the funding criteria can be considered.

1. Current PhD Opportunities

Accordion

  • Can Natural Language Processing techniques predict health risks from chemical exposures?

    Get paid to do a PhD with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University

    Deadline: Septemeber 20th 2020

    Funded PhD linked with Yordas Limited Ref. No. LU004

    • Get paid £1,455 per month tax-free till June 2023.
    • Your UK/EU tuition fees are paid (international candidates will need to pay remaining fees).
    • Be part of the multi award winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation within a cohort of talented graduates working on exciting business-led research. The Centre was declared “The outstanding knowledge exchange and commercialisation initiative in the UK”.
    • This project is based at Lancaster University, so you will gain your PhD from a Top Ten University, recognised as The Times and Sunday Times University of the Year 2018 and International University of the Year 2020. You will also work alongside colleagues at partner institutions across the North West.
    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas.Yordas Ltd is a leading international provider of scientific and technical services, regulatory advice, sustainability services and training to industry in the fields of chemicals management and risk assessment.

    Yordas Ltd is a leading international provider of scientific and technical services, regulatory advice, sustainability services and training to industry in the fields of chemicals management and risk assessment.

    Society has invested billions of pounds in researching the health effects of exposure to chemical substances, generating a vast scientific literature of millions of documents. The problem is, this has become too much information for scientists to manually process when evaluating whether a chemical is safe for a given use. This project aims to create an AI-based horizon-scanning tool which automatically analyses scientific studies to identify potential health risks from chemical substances, potentially revolutionising chemical risk assessment and ultimately reducing the carbon footprint of chemical risk assessment by replacing physical chemical testing with digital analysis.

    Minimum academic requirements
    The successful candidate will have a 2:1 or first degree in statistics, computer science or a relevant physical sciences degree and a willingness to integrate with an internationally-distributed group of researchers. They will have a general interest in the environment, human health, open science, and the science-policy interface.

    Eligibility (UK/EU/overseas)
    Anyone is eligible though the fees coverage and stipend are a fixed amount. International students would have to make up the difference on their fees.

    Funding model (including stipend)
    UK/EU fees covered
    Stipend of £15,000 per year, paid in monthly installments of £1,455 up to June 2023

    Duration
    Full time for 3 years

    Supervision
    This PhD will be supervised by two experts in Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence, Dr Scott Piao and Dr Mahmoud El-Haj at Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications.

    Application Process
    Please note the application process differs from the usual method of PhD applications – please visit this website and follow the instructions: http://www.globalecoinnovation.org/application-documents-new/

    Website: http://www.globalecoinnovation.org/

  • Can we improve building management through a mesh network of indoor air quality sensors?

    Get paid to do a PhD with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University

    A funded PhD linked with NAQTS Ltd LU-005

    Get paid £1,455 per month tax-free until June 2023.

    Deadline: 25th August 2020
    Start: October 2020

    • Your UK/EU tuition fees are paid (international candidates will need to pay remaining fees).

    • Be part of the multi award winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation within a cohort of talented graduates working on exciting business-led research. The Centre was declared “The outstanding knowledge exchange and commercialisation initiative in the UK”.

    • This project is based at Lancaster University, so you will gain your PhD from a Top Ten University, recognised as The Times and Sunday Times University of the Year 2018 and International University of the Year 2020. You will also work alongside colleagues at partner institutions across the North West.

    • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas.

    Based in Lancaster, National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS) are passionate about improving quality of life. Their mission is to provide independent, reliable and holistic air quality information, to inform choices and improve quality of life.

    This project is aimed at the important goals of simultaneously decarbonising the UK building stock, promoting good indoor air quality, and reducing the likelihood of airborne virus transmission. This is extremely timely given the Covid-19 global pandemic. This project aims to design, test, and validate an Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network of indoor air quality sensors that can be used to improve air quality, reduce heating/cooling related energy demand, and drive better understanding of stakeholder use of air quality data

    Minimum academic requirements
    The successful candidate will have a 2:1 or first degree in data science, computer science or environmental science, with a capability or a strong interest in learning data handling, analysis, and visualisation, as well as HCI methods that involve studies with human participants.

    Eligibility (UK/EU/overseas)
    Anyone is eligible though the fees coverage and stipend are a fixed amount. International students would have to make up the difference on their fees.

    Supervision
    This PhD will be supervised by Professor Adrian Friday, who is Head of The Lancaster University School of Computing and Communications and Professor of Computing and Sustainability, and NAQTS Ltd.

    Application Process
    Please note the application process differs from the usual method of PhD applications – please visit this website and follow the instructions: http://www.globalecoinnovation.org/application-documents-new/

    Website: http://www.globalecoinnovation.org/

    http://www.globalecoinnovation.org/research-post-lu005/

    This project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is subject to confirmation of funding.

  • EPSRC i-case Studentship in collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge
    Preferred start date October 2020
    Application deadline 9th September 2020 - applications to be fast-tracked
    Supervisor Professor Joe Finney
    Studentship includes Full time PhD tuition fees, and a tax free stipend of GBP £17,000 per year for 3 years.

    Details

    This fully funded PhD studentship provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with Lancaster University and Microsoft Research Cambridge to unlock the potential of technology innovators globally.

    Everyday citizens are becoming increasingly empowered to design and build their own technology. This now includes new computing hardware ranging from innovative interactive devices to IoT systems. Recent advances software development community have enabled these citizen developers to easily deploy software-only solutions at any scale using "Low Code" tools. However, the computing hardware community has not kept pace. Whilst prototyping tools such as the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and micro:bit enable rapid prototyping, there are no equivalent “hardware DevOps” tools which facilitate scalable manufacturing and deployment of any successful prototypes. By engaging with Microsoft Research and other industrial partners, this PhD project aims to research, develop and evaluate the tooling and design patterns necessary to enable citizen developers to undertake reproducible manufacturing at small-mid scale. The ultimate aim is to create a set of freely available open tools and processes that others can use and build upon, to unlock the long tail of creative, novel devices.

    Further details and eligibility

    As an EPSRC funded opportunity, we are seeking applications from individuals excited by the intersection of computing hardware and software, with a a good degree in a relevant discipline such as Computer Science, Software Engineering, Computer Systems Engineering. Applicants must meet the EPSRC's eligibility criteria

  • 2 x EPSRC Doctoral School funded PhD Positions

    Details

    Start date April 2021 onwards
    Deadline for applicants Open-ended
    Interview date TBC
    Academic requirements First-class or 2.1 (Hons) BS degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in the topic appropriate subjects eg, computer science, distributed systems, machine learning, security, sociology, law.

    Position 1: Cybersecurity for Machine Learning Systems

    Do you want to become one of the few world experts in cyber-security for machine learning systems? At Lancaster University we are seeking motivated students to join our research team to design the next generation of secure Machine Learning (ML) systems.

    You will have the opportunity to conduct conceptual, experimental and exciting research to address fundamental system security attacks and vulnerabilities within the ML lifecycle – spanning design, training, compilation, deployment, optimisation, and execution. Example projects include:

    1. How improvements to Deep Learning accuracy and performance impact its security characteristics
    2. Finding and addressing vulnerabilities within prominent ML frameworks such as PyTorch and TVM.

    You will join an internationally leading research team in computer systems and contribute towards creating a new platform for secure machine learning, and if successful, its dissemination and deployment globally.

    You will have ample access to considerable compute facilities dedicated solely to experimentation, including a fully instrumented 120-node CPU & GPU datacentre. You will also be supported by researchers from the Lancaster EPSRC TAS-S node in security and from a recently funded EPSRC fellowship on next generation of computing systems.

    Supervisors Professor Neeraj Suri and Dr Peter Garraghan will co-supervise this research.

    Position 2: Socio-technical Aspects of Secure Autonomous Systems

    The use of autonomous systems is encountering rapid growth as they complement and/or supplement human-operated systems across a variety of safety or service-critical applications covering civilian, industrial or defence needs. Autonomous systems entail socio-technical relationships with users in their environment, opening up a range of possible vulnerabilities (human, social and technical). Developing secure autonomous systems in the user environment requires fundamentally new cross-disciplinary research (sociological, AI, distributed systems and software) in creating new security frameworks, as well as developing the social science theory for societal, legal, ethical and regulatory implications. We seek candidates with an openness to cross-disciplinary research (Sociology, AI, DS/SW) to join a team of post-graduates and researchers developing secure trusted autonomous systems. We seek candidates with matching cross-disciplinary (Sociology, AI, DS/SW) backgrounds and interests to research secure autonomous systems.

    Supervisors Dr Joe Deville, Dr Catherine Easton and Professor Neeraj Suri.

    Security Lancaster

    The appointed candidates will reside within the Security Lancaster Institute. The overarching aim of the institute is to drive capabilities for collaborative, multi-disciplinary research and education. The research in the Centre will be driven by an ethos of undertaking theoretically rich, use-inspired research. The latter will be achieved through close collaboration between the scientists in Security Lancaster and our industry partners.

    Further details and application process

    • Each PhD position, supported by the EPSRC Doctoral School, is for a three and a half years duration. Tuition fees are covered (only for EU/UK citizens) along with a tax-free stipend (~£17,000/year circa 2017-2018) for the duration of the PhD.
    • Candidates should submit an application following the instructions provided here.

    Please note if English is not your first language you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English - see here. We only need this evidence if we offer you the funded position. We don't expect it as part of this application process.

  • 3X PhD Positions: EPSRC Trustworthy Autonomous System node in Security

    Details

    Start date February 2021 onwards
    Deadline for applicants TBC
    Interview date TBC
    Academic requirements First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in the topic appropriate subject eg., Computer science, systems security, ML, Networks etc.

    Background

    We are starting an exciting and wide-ranging fundamental research project that will address technical and social issues of security in order to develop Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS). Security Lancaster will lead the £3M EPSRC TAS Security (TAS-S) node for a 42-month period starting November 1, 2020. Lancaster is a top-10 UK university and is especially renowned for its unique socio-technical coverage of security. The TAS-S research also involves the Lancaster Intelligent, Robotic and Autonomous Systems (LIRA) Centre and is partnered with Cranfield University (a leader in autonomous system research). It is additionally supported by a range of UK, EU and international academic, industry and policy partners including Airbus, BAE, Raytheon, Thales, NATO, CMU, EC-CONCORDIA/CODE, AIT, TTTech, Academia Sinica, Arthurs Legal, RISE, and the UK Coast Guard.

    As we grow the Lancaster TAS-S research team, we have an opening for 3 PhD positions. Each of these positions will have a dedicated post-doctoral researcher guiding the development of the research. This is an exciting position that provides challenging research growth along with extensive opportunities to interact with industry.

    Position 1 - Fundamentals of Systems Security

    For this PhD position, we seek candidates with broad security interests in researching fundamental concepts/techniques for systems security at the level of software components, OS and middleware. We are interested in research topics such as the specification of security, development of a quantification/metrics basis for security, the composition of security as well as researching security assessment and the verification of security

    The appointed candidate will reside in the Systems Security Group (SSG). Professor Neeraj Suri will supervise and welcomes informal enquiries.

    Position 2 - AI/ML Systems Security

    For this PhD position, we seek candidates with broad interests in researching fundamental concepts/techniques for systems security. Our areas of interest are distributed/networked systems where we research middleware threat models, and especially the use of AI/Machine Learning techniques applied to control and decision processes of autonomous systems.

    The appointed candidate will co-reside in the Systems Security Group (SSG) and LIRA. Professor Neeraj Suri and Professor Plamen Angelov will co-supervise and welcome informal enquiries.

    Position 3 - Network Security

    For this PhD position, we seek applicants for developing novel DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) mitigation techniques by leveraging permissions pee-to-peer networks. Defending against DDoS attacks has proven to be an extremely difficult task for network operators and administrators of Internet applications and services, due to the increasing ease with which attackers can lease botnets or cloud-hosted Virtual Machines and execute powerful attacks with minimal sophistication. Existing sophisticate anti-DDoS techniques that proved to effectively absorb DDoS attacks, such as cloud-based

    traffic-scrubbing, are costly and can be utilized only by a few networks leaving the medium- and small-scale networks with less effective defence options. The goal of the doctoral research is to explore how content decentralization through unstructured public peer-to-peer networks such as IPFS can be utilized to implement on-demand cost-effective DDoS defences without compromising neither the availability nor the performance of the DDoS targets.

    The appointed candidate will reside in the Systems Security Group (SSG). Dr Vasileios Giotsas will supervise and welcomes informal enquiries.

    Further details and application process

    • Each PhD positions is for a three and a half years duration. Tuition fees are covered (for EU/UK citizens) along with a tax-free stipend for the duration of the PhD.
    • Candidates should submit an application following the instructions provided here.

    Please note if English is not your first language you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English - see here. We only need this evidence if we offer you the funded position. We don't expect it as part of this application process.

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

    Details

    • Closing Date: Open Ended
    • Start Date: October 2020
    • Interview Date: TBC
    • Academic Requirements: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject.

    Description

    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. It 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 to revolutionise the infrastructure of the internet in the UK. Create 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 throughout this post. We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. We are committed to the Athena SWAN Charter, which recognises and celebrates suitable employment practise 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 the 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.

    For further information

    For an informal discussion about the position, please contact Professor Nick Race.

    Application process

    Please apply online via Lancaster University Postgraduate Admissions Portal.

  • Data-Centric Systems Cyber Security - Cloud Security

    Details

    Start date April 2021
    Deadline for applicants TBC
    Interview date TBC
    Academic requirements First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject

    Cloud Security and Privacy

    The pervasiveness of the Cloud (see Distributed Systems Security CyBOK) also implies our increasing dependence on it to provide for the reliable and trustworthy delivery of services. As the Cloud infrastructure and its services are exposed to attacks, the need is to:

    • analyse the Cloud’s vulnerability to varied classes of attacks
    • to develop mechanisms (access control, authorization, attestation, multi-party computations…) to provide for resilience to attacks
    • to develop techniques to assess and measure the degree of potential disruptions
    • conduct testing and validation across the entire technology stack of architectures, middleware and services

    We seek candidates for exploratory research in all areas of design, analysis and assessment of Cloud security and privacy.

    Supervisors

    Professors Neeraj Suri and Antonios Gouglidis will co-supervise and welcome informal enquiries

    Security Lancaster Institute

    The appointed candidate will reside in Systems Security Group which forms part of the Security Lancaster Institute. The overarching aim of the institute is to develop capabilities for collaborative, multi-disciplinary research and education. The research in the Centre will be driven by an ethos of undertaking theoretically rich, use-inspired research. The latter will be achieved through close collaboration between the scientists in Security Lancaster and our industry partners.

    Further details and application process

    • Each PhD positions is for a three and a half years duration.
    • Candidates should apply following the instructions provided here.

    Please note if English is not your first language you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English - see here. We only need this evidence if we offer you the funded position. We don't expect it as part of this application process.

2. Create your application

You will need to put in an application to the University's online application system. Please follow the University's guidance regarding the required documentation.

Please make sure to include a CV (mandatory, maximum of two pages) including your previous degrees and graduation grades, as well as any relevant skills. Where it applies, also include awards of excellence, publications, and links to code releases, such as through GitHub.

Please follow all of the requirements. Not adhering to these requirements may at best delay the processing of your application, and at worst might result in immediate rejection. The preferred format for all supporting documents is PDF.

2.1. Your Research Proposal

Please note that even if you are applying for a funded PhD position, you will need to develop a proposal.

At the top of the first page of the Research Proposal, please include the following information:

Mandatory

  • A clear indication of the SCC research group(s) you want to work with.
  • A list of two or three works that are similar to your proposal. This list is in addition to any other references you may wish to include.

Optional

  • The names of the SCC academic(s) you want to work with. Please also indicate if you would like us to consider your application if your preferred supervision team is not possible.

2.2. Your Personal Statement

A personal statement is mandatory and should be a maximum of one page. The document should explain your motivation to work on your chosen project and a little about your background.