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PhD Opportunities

Securing Programmable Networks

School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science | PHD

Applications are now CLOSED
Reference Number
Application Deadline
15 March 2023
Start Date
1 October 2023


The main goal of this PhD project is to investigate and derive techniques and algorithms to protect the programmable network from attack.

Society’s dependence on communication networks for all aspects of day-to-day living; business, education, entertainment etc. makes “the network” a very attractive target for malicious attack, which cyber criminals are only too eager to exploit, attempting to limit or block access to essential services (e.g., healthcare, banking, critical infrastructure etc.), disrupting our daily lives and causing high cost to businesses and individuals.

Advances in networking such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) have enabled the network availability and scalability required to support massive global connectivity. With SDN and programmable networks, we introduce flexibility to the control and processing of network traffic.

However, as we explore the use of network programmability frameworks and languages such as P4 to accelerate packet processing functions to provide flexible and scalable connectivity in next-generation networks, we cannot lose sight of the security of the programmable network itself. Indeed, this flexibility and programmability potentially exposes the network devices to compromise.

Funding Information

*Please note that the deadline for applications from international candidates closed on 28 February*

This project is funded through the CSIT Doctoral Training Programme. The scholarships are fully funded, with an additional stipend for 42 months and an industrial top-up worth £30k per student. You will also benefit from the opportunity to be considered for a 1-to-3 months placement in industry with one of our partners, as well as enhanced training in leadership, professional skills and much more.

For full details on the funding/training package available, and candidate eligibility criteria, please visit

Academic Requirements:
The minimum academic requirement for admission is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI Higher Education provider in a relevant discipline, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

Project Summary

Sandra Scott-Hayward

Research Profile

Mode of Study

Full-time: 3.5 Years

Funding Body
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