PhD Opportunity

Topic: Security and resilience of infrastructure systems: threat and risk modelling


The number and complexity of Information Technologies (IT) networks have exponentially grown, and so have the number and complexity of attacks against these networks. In response, network specialists have been developing sophisticated techniques to analyse and improve the security and resilience of IT networks, such as network hardening, automated vulnerability discovery, dynamic reconfiguration, redundancy.

In parallel, infrastructure networks, which are pivotal for connecting cities and communities, are under an increasing pressure due to natural hazards, such as flooding, whose frequency is increasing with climate change, and man-made hazards. Traditional engineering techniques are currently used to improve the resistance of the infrastructure, but they do not always capture the interdependency of the network. For instance, bridges ensure transport and connections, while also carrying pipes, cable and other utilities.

This raises an exciting research question: “Is it possible to improve urban resilience by transferring security and resilience techniques developed for IT networks to urban networks?” The aim of this PhD project is to investigate this research question, and to apply IT security concepts to urban resilience in the context of environmental pressures. These pressures include extreme hazard events as well as cascading effects that propagate thought the infrastructure systems on which a city rely on.

The intended outcome of this project is a parameterized executable model, which can be instantiated for a given urban infrastructure, and analysed to suggest modifications based on IT security and resilience techniques. This project is fundamentally inter-disciplinary, as it will integrate a range of disciplines such as computer science, engineering, IT security, transferring computing methods of security in computer and communications systems to engineering assets and structure.

We particularly welcome applicants with either a good background in computing and security, or in infrastructure and urban engineering; female candidates will be particularly encouraged to apply. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, it is not expected for applicants to be proficient in all aspects, and the supervision team will design a training plan as needed with respect to the Vitae Framework. Applicants with no specific background in security can already look at the Cyber Security MOOC.


EPSRC (UK/EU resident eligibility conditions apply)

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Charles Morisset

Dr Maria Pregnolato

Professor Chris Kilsby

Professor Richard Dawson


For any query, please contact directly Dr Charles Morisset: firstname dot lastname at

Author: Charles

Created: 2019-04-11 Thu 10:39