PhD opportunities in Computer Science
Funding may be available for the projects below, if there is no specific funding mentioned with the project details please check the 'Funding' tab for further options.
We also welcome applications from students who already have funding in place.
For further information contact the relevant supervisor.
Please note this list is not complete and applicants should contact staff members in whose research there are interested.
Heriot-Watt University is seeking applicants for Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) scholarships or James Watt Scholarships on ICT-Robotic Interactive Technology for Healthy Ageing and Assisted Living
All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class Honours degree or Masters Degree in Computer Science by Autumn 2018. Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype).
Heriot-Watt University has available Doctoral Training Partnerships and James Watt Scholarships in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences for 2018. The James Watt scholarships will provide full fees and stipend for 3 years from Autumn 2018, whilst the DTPs provide full fees and stipend for 3.5 years. DTP’s are only open to UK/EU applicants. For James Watt Scholarship students, the annual stipend will be £15k and full fees will be paid, for 3 years, whilst for DTP Scholarship students, the annual stipend will be £14,296 and full fees will be paid, for 3.5 years.
PhD ICT-Robotic Interactive Technology for Healthy Ageing and Assisted Living
These PhD projects will contribute to the development of innovative, engaging, sustainable, affordable and scalable ICT-Robotic solutions to address the national priority of caring for frail elderly people and the urgent problem caused by the predicted steeply rising costs and strains of healthcare provision and services. The work will involve establishing realistic requirements through data gathering and interpretation activities to ensure that the technology is designed to deliver maximum impact by making the right transformation in relation to existing care models/processes. To this end, the research will avail of a new state-of-the-art laboratory situated in the Heriot-Watt campus in Edinburgh. The laboratory provides a ‘Living Lab’ home environment where roboticists and computer scientists, and also health experts, psychologists, and sociologists, can work alongside people with assisted living needs and those supporting them, to co-design and test innovative solutions for healthy ageing and assisted living.
The student will be supervised Lynne Baillie of the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences (MACS) and Mauro Dragone of the Institute of Sensors, Signals, and Systems (ISSS) based at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) at Heriot-Watt University. Heriot-Watt University is recognised as one of the leading UK research institutes in general engineering as per the Research Excellence Framework (REF) results of 2014 (ranked 1st). The Human Robotic Interaction (HRI) research group in CS is one of the leading research groups in the UK in this area.
ISSS and MACS are part of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. The Centre harnesses the potential of 30 world leading investigators from 12 cross disciplinary research groups and Institutes across Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh. The research and training focus is on the broad classes of physical and cognitive interactions between robots, people, environments and autonomous systems.
Applying (Application Deadline: 30th November 2017)
Data-Driven Authentication (fully funded)
The aim of this 4-year, fully funded project is to design and implement new methods for making effective authentication decisions from multiple data components, which will consist of two main stages: (i) Designing and implementing new, implicit forms of authentication that involve learning from a person's behaviour, and (ii) Designing and implementing methods for combining and scoring multiple forms of authentication. The resultant methods would contribute to Payfont's IOMI (I Own My Identity) technology framework.
The project is co-funded by The Data Lab and Payfont Limited through The Data Lab's Collaborative PhD & EngD Projects programme. The student will spend part of their time at Heriot-Watt University, and part at Payfont, for the duration of their studies.
To apply for this position, please complete the application form by 15 May 2017. When completing the application form, be sure to specify “Dr. Mike Just” as the project supervisor, and specify “Data Lab funded” as the source of funding. Applicants are requested to send an email to Dr. Mike Just once they have submitted their application.
'Hi Robot, it's me': Building an interactive system for human authentication
Automated conversational agents and systems such as chatbots are becoming increasingly sophisticated and able to undertake complex tasks. More recently interactive conversational systems have been programmed to behave in a more human-like way and to engage in conversations with real people. Related to this, when checking your identity (for example when speaking with your bank), humans are often asked to answer a series of specific challenge questions, in order to prove that they are who they claim to be. Even if your answers to some of these questions are vague or incorrect, the dialogue usually continues until you either pass the test, or are thought to be lying. This research will involve the development of an automated conversational system that can interact with, and authenticate, a real person. Some of the main challenge areas will be how to automatically generate suitable questions from information held about a person, and how the system's belief that the person is trustworthy changes during the conversation.
Project supervisors: Dr Mike Just and Prof Oliver Lemon
Logic (Theorem Proving) in Computer Science
Computers have become truly ubiquitous: in industry, society, the economy and everyday life. Individual lives as well as economies depend on the reliability of software. Hence, verification of software is becoming a priority for researchers, industries and funding agencies alike. Mechanised Theorem Proving is an area of Computer Science that strives to design algorithms and tools that allow to automatically prove theorems (if you speak Maths) or software properties (if you speak CS) in some formal language of choice.
This technology is employed in verification of Mathematical results (like Four-Colour theorem or Kepler conjecture) and verification of Computer Systems (e.g. of critically important software, computer processors or Java compiler to name a few). Theorem proving is also embedded into type inference in programming languages that use types.
One funded PhD place is available to pursue a research project that develops methods of mechanised theorem proving for Computer Science. The proposed work will be carried out within the Dependable Systems Group (DSG). With members of staff working on programming languages and compilers (Loidl, Michaelson, Scholz), Automated Reasoning and Formal Methods (Georgieva, Grov, Ireland, Komendantskaya), Type Theory (Gabbay, Komendantskaya, Scholz), this group will provide an ideal environment for this research.
Interested candidates are invited to contact Dr Katya Komendantskaya and discuss the suitable topic.
Other projects may be available, please check information about research activities in the relevant areas which can be found here.
James Watt scholarship
As part of an ambitious expansion programme to intensify further our world-leading research programmes, Heriot-Watt University is currently offering James Watt Scholarships in the School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences for the next academic year, opportunities may be available to both UK/EU and Overseas students. For further details see here or contact Professor Mike Chantler.
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training Award (Robotics and Autonomous Systems)
The Centre's main programme is the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems. Its goal is to train innovation-ready robotics researchers to be part of a multi-disciplinary enterprise, requiring sound knowledge of physics (kinematics, dynamics), engineering (control, signal processing, mechanical design), computer science (algorithms for perception, planning, decision making and intelligent behaviour, software engineering), as well as allied areas ranging from biology and biomechanics to cognitive psychology.
Further information can be found here
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training Award (Embedded Intelligence)
Heriot-Watt University and Loughborough University are jointly offering a unique 4-year PhD training programme, drawing on their considerable expertise in postgraduate teaching and research supervision in the fields of sensors, system design, embedded software and systems, applications engineering and systems services.
Embedded Intelligence is characterised as the ability of a product, process or service to reflect on its own operational performance, usage load, or in relation to the end-user or environment in terms of satisfactory experience. This self-reflection, facilitated by information collected by sensors and processed locally or remotely, must be considered from the design stage such as to enhance the product lifetime and performance, increase quality of process or service delivery, or ensure customer satisfaction and market acceptance. For more detailed information, please visit our website or contact Professor Mike Chantler.
EPSRC-funded PhD studentship
Heriot-Watt receives in the region of £1.5M per annum from the UK Research Councils to fund PhD research students. Awards to individuals comprise payment of fees and a non-taxable stipend of around £14,000 per annum. This is available to suitably qualified UK nationals and non-UK nationals if resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the course. Other EU students can apply to have fees paid only although Schools may be able to provide a partial stipend for highly qualified EU applicants.
Information about research activities in each area can be found on the relevant group websites which can be found here.
Further enquiries should be addressed to Professor Mike Chantler.
MACS alumni scholarship
A 20% discount is available for all Heriot-Watt School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences graduates, with a 10% discount available for all other Heriot-Watt graduates. This discount will be applied automatically - there is no requirement to apply.