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Funding and scholarships for students

Award details

Software Engineering for Security- or Safety-Critical Systems. EMPS College Home fees Studentship, PhD in Computer Science. Ref: 4329

About the award

Supervisors

Lead Supervisor:

Prof. Achim Brucker, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Streatham Campus, University of Exeter

Co-supervisor:

Dr. Diego Marmsoler, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Streatham Campus, University of Exeter

Location:

Department of Computer Science, Streatham Campus, Devon, University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences  is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in January 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The studentship will cover Home tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,609 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. 

This College studentship is open to UK and Irish nationals, who if successful in their application will receive a full studentship including payment of university tuition fees at the home fees rate.

Project Description: 

We are living in a world dominated by software. Hence, it is no surprise that our society depends on the safety and security of complex systems. Still, developing secure and safety software systems is a mostly unsolved problem. In this project, we will work on making the world a safer and more secure place by developing techniques that help software developers to build systems that are, by design, safe, secure, and privacy-friendly. The concrete topic will be decided in agreement with the supervisor and could, e.g., range from developing programming languages for security- or safety-critical systems, developing program analysis techniques (e.g., static analysis) to find safety and security issues early in the development life-cycle, developing reverse engineering techniques for finding security issues, novel security testing approaches (e.g., advanced fuzzing), or language-based security for embedded devices or re-configurable hardware (e.g., FPGAs). Also tools and techniques for improving the software supply-chain are in scope of this project. It also could focus on using data science techniques to study software security. Actual target systems could range from web applications (e.g., focusing on web security), to the security of development tools themselves, to enterprise systems, to AI/ML-based systems, to traditional software systems.

For  this project, we are looking for a enthusiastic candidate with a outstanding Computer Science, Software Engineering, or equivalent degree with a strong interest in at least two of the following areas: software testing,  reverse engineering, software security, web security, compiler construction, program analysis, fuzzing,  embedded systems, application security, safety, data science.

For further information, please contact Prof Achim Brucker: 

https://emps.exeter.ac.uk/computer-science/staff/ab1185

Entry requirements

This studentship is open to UK and Irish nationals, who if successful in their application will receive a full studentship including payment of university tuition fees at the home fees rate.

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. 

Computer Science, Software Engineering, or closely related degree required.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project. 

Alternative tests may be acceptable (see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/).

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”.

• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior project work experience and reasons for
  wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an
   interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Two references from referees familiar with your academic work. If your referees prefer, they can email
   the reference direct to pgrenquiries@exeter.ac.uk quoting the studentship reference number.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.  Please see the entry requirements information above.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 24th January 2022.  Interviews will be held online on the week commencing 7th February 2022.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email pgrenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor at a.brucker@exeter.ac.uk

Summary

Application deadline:24th January 2022
Value:Home tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,609 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions Office pgrenquiries@exeter.ac.uk