Secure UAV Communication Over 5G for Disaster Management

Summary

UAV-added communication with 5G capabilities provides flexibility in terms of deployment, higher capacity due to line-of-sight communication, mobility, and degree of freedom. The 5G added capabilities can offer more facilities handling data traffic, congestion control, and enhanced communication services to the ground users. Despite of all these facilities, UAV communication carries a huge risk of privacy loss and security issues at the time of information exchange between UAVs and ground users.

The main theme of this PhD project is to deploy the unmanned vehicles to a position where they can provide the best communication facilities to the ground users. Such UAV-aided communication networks with 5G capabilities are used to help the survivors and relief workers in a disastrous area and will also facilitate the critical infrastructure development in situations where the existing infrastructure is damaged or even destroyed. The project will also address the security and privacy concerns in terms of attacks (eavesdropping, jamming, and spoofing) on communication between UAVs and ground users.

The project is fully aligned with the expertise in communication, AI & ML, and 5G within the School of Computing. The project also aims to produce high-quality research outputs that will be published in top-tier journals and conferences. The project is also expected to enhance the School’s research capacity and provide inputs for external grant applications. Moreover, the project is also intended to open new research avenues of state-of-the-art technologies and higher scientific values aligned with the School’s research strategy.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 70%
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Publications - peer-reviewed

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £18,000 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £18,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living

Recommended reading

[1]H. Ullah, S. McClean, P. Nixon, G. Parr, and C. Luo, ‘An optimal UAV deployment algorithm for bridging communication’, in 2017 15th International conference on ITS telecommunications (ITST), 2017, pp. 1–7.

[2]H. Ullah, M. Abu-Tair, S. McClean, P. Nixon, G. Parr, and C. Luo, ‘Connecting disjoint nodes through a UAV-based wireless network for bridging communication using IEEE 802.11 protocols’, EURASIP J. Wirel. Commun. Netw., vol. 2020, no. 1, pp. 1–20, 2020.

[3]B. Li, Z. Fei, Y. Zhang, and M. Guizani, ‘Secure UAV Communication Networks over 5G’, IEEE Wirel. Commun., vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 114–120, Oct. 2019, doi: 10.1109/MWC.2019.1800458.

[4]C. Luo, W. Miao, H. Ullah, S. McClean, G. Parr, and G. Min, ‘Unmanned aerial vehicles for disaster management, in Geological disaster monitoring based on sensor networks, Springer, 2019, pp. 83–107.

[5]J. Liu and W. Yang, ‘Secure UAV communication against cooperative adaptive eavesdroppers’, Wirel. Netw., vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 1113–1128, Apr. 2022, doi: 10.1007/s11276-022-02909-x.

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 27 February 2023
04:00PM

Interview Date
week commencing 17 April 2023

Preferred student start date
18 Sept 2023

Applying

Apply Online  

Contact supervisor

Dr Hanif Ullah

Other supervisors

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