Postgraduate Research Projects

The following list includes a number of possible PhD projects suggested by members of academic staff. If you are interested in any of these projects, please indicate on your online PhD application form which project and what supervisor you are interested in. Please submit a statement of purpose presenting your own perspective of the proposed project, why it is important and worth studying and a methodology that may be adopted. Alternatively, if you want to suggest your own project, you need to include with your application a short description of your project (research proposal), possibly including names of suitable supervisors.

Please note that these projects are not directly funded. There are some PhD studentships available for Home/EU students, and these can be awarded to students taking these projects. There is a small amount of funding available for exceptional international students who are partially funded from external sources, and this will be allocated on a competitive basis.

If you wish to be considered for any funding we have available, please indicate this on your application form.

More information on our studentships for Home and EU students is available here.

Current projects

A wide variety of suggestions for PhD topics have been supplied below. You may wish to use the search facility to narrow down the large number of options.

Search hints: This search function is designed to find PhD projects in the School of Computer Science. Please enter a research area in the search bar to produce a list of relevant projects in the School of Computer Science.

A hybrid-systems approach to uncover complex networks behaviour

Primary supervisor

Additional information

Contact admissions office

Other projects with the same supervisor


  • Competition Funded Project (European/UK Students Only)
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. The funding is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

A synchronised school of fish swimming in the sea; a network of computer systems; the evolution of a flock of birds; the controlled motion of swarm satellites; the cooperation of several robotic systems to accomplish a common goal; social networks; water or electrical power distribution systems: these are examples of complex networks and collective behaviour. That is, a group of systems (normally, a big number of them) interconnected in a non-trivial and non-regular way. The key aspect of these networks is the complex nature of their interconnection topology, which defines the behaviour of the overall structure and entails the onset of complex dynamical phenomena not present in the individual systems.

Two key ideas are pivotal to propose a model for these systems: 1) individual elements following elementary behavioural rules can produce complex behavioural patterns, and 2) in many cases, individual elements achieve a global goal with minimal communication with other elements in the network, and without having a complete picture of the overall structure. This type of behaviour implies different discrete transitions and the interaction of different types of dynamics (discrete and continuous). Consequently, the hybrid-systems framework - characterised by the coupling of continuous-type and discrete-event dynamics - seems to be very adequate to improve the existing models of complex networks and to give answers to many questions concerning the stability of the network and its structure.The goal of this PhD project is to formulate the evolution and dynamical behaviour of complex networks within the hybrid-systems framework. The ultimate goal is to design robust and resilient systems, that is, systems capable of preserving stability and recovering from faults. The control or decision-making techniques to explore fall into distributed, cooperative and networked control techniques. This research covers multiple emerging applications from robotic systems to transportation and distribution networks, and from high-confidence healthcare to national security.

Person specification

For information


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • This project requires mathematical engagement and ability substantially greater than for a typical Computer Science PhD. Give evidence for appropriate competence, as relevant to the project description.
  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.
  • You will have good time management.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?
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