Funded PhD OpportunityBTIIC-07: An IoT management framework for decision making in instances of unreliability

Subject: Computer Science and Informatics


BT Ireland Innovation Centre:
This studentship is one of twelve such PhD studentships, offered in collaboration with British Telecom and tenable in the School of Computing, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Ulster University based at the Jordanstown campus. The studentships relate to different research topics in future telecommunication networks and services with a particular emphasis on Intelligent Systems, Future Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Cyber Security, Fixed and Mobile Network Services. They are part of the recently funded BT Ireland Innovation Centre (BTIIC) which is a collaborative project between BT and Ulster University, with a large presence in BT Belfast. BTIIC is an ambitious research and engineering project, initially running for 5 years, and funded by Invest Northern Ireland. It comprises two Research Workstreams: (i) Intelligent Systems, and (ii) IoT – Trust, Security and Dependability. The research topics proposed for the 12 studentships are in these broad areas.

Project summary:
IoT systems may be associated with critical infrastructure where safety and resilience are paramount. If taking inappropriate actions, or failing to take appropriate actions, has a significant cost (or negative impact), the quality of that information becomes increasingly important. IoT deployments and their management currently lack the overarching bounds to minimise the effects of such uncertainty. However, their management needs to be robust in terms of taking appropriate actions on the basis of incomplete information. This project will investigate approaches to converting data to actions, based on an assessment of the underlying reliability of information within the IoT deployment and taking a risk-based approach. Effecting changes in system configuration will require access controls, and potentially conflict detection and resolution where multiple points of control are possible. Verification that actuation has occurred and that intervention has had the expected effect will also be addressed. Models for assessing the impact of decisions for a range of critical applications will be developed with the desired capability of being able to make recommendations of the most the appropriate actions to take.

Additional Application Information:
On the application form applicants should select one main BTIIC project and a maximum of two further project titles in which they are interested.

During the lifetime of the project there will be opportunities to work with BT Belfast Global Development Centre and there also may be openings to spend a period of time as part of a related Internship at BT Adastral Park Research Laboratories in Martlesham, Suffolk, UK (see ( Arrangements for the internship / visits will be made by the supervisory team of the PhD project in conjunction with BT, subject to satisfactory student academic performance on the project.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed equivalent via UK NARIC)

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%

Other Funders

VCRS/BT/InvestNI Award: The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of not less than £14,553 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.

Other information

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 12 February 2018
Interview Date
20 February to 9 March 2018

Contact Supervisor

Professor Christopher Nugent

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #242416 when applying for this PhD opportunity