We are regularly recruiting post-doctoral researchers and PhD students who have an interest in software engineering and design. We expect the successful candidates to be highly motivated, collaborative, independent, and with outstanding CVs.
In addition, we are always interested in recruiting excellent research software engineers. ​If you are interested in finding out more please contact us at sead@open.ac.uk.

PhD Studentships (Scholarship) Available at the OU!

We have multiple PhD studentship in software engineering is available. Particular areas of interest include research at the intersection of software engineering with security, privacy or digital forensics, but other topics in the areas of the SEAD group. The successful candidate will have a very strong undergraduate degree in computing or related disciplines, and preferably a masters degree in the area. Interested candidates should contact the potential supervisors including a full CV, and a short cover email describing their skills and interests.
  • Facilitating Software Maintenance

    You will develop techniques to reduce the effort and cost to maintain software. You will apply approaches (code analysis, natural language processing, machine learning, etc.) that fit your expertise to an issue (understanding legacy systems, finding the source of errors, managing maintenance teams, re-designing the architecture, etc.) of your interest.

    Supervisors: Michel Wermelinger, Yijun Yu

  • Feature Location Technology

    Feature location is the problem of determining where a particular feature mentioned in a change request is implemented in the code. This is an essential maintenance task but often manual and thus time-consuming and costly. You will survey various automated feature location techniques (FLTs) and develop an approach that recommends one for a system at hand and configures its parameters to improve the accuracy of locating features. This topic is likely to require machine learning techniques. Supervisors: Yijun Yu, Michel Wermelinger, Jim Buckley

  • Bug Localisation

    Much of the time and cost in developing software is spent fixing bugs reported by users or testers. Due to staff turnover, outsourcing, and the complexity and size of software systems, developers may not be familiar with the code they have to fix, further increasing time and cost. We are interested in further developing our state-of-the-art search engine (http://oro.open.ac.uk/51576/) that helps developers find the source of errors quicker: given a bug report, it suggests (in ranked order, like a web search engine) which files may need to be fixed.

    Supervisors: Michel Wermelinger, Yijun Yu

  • Traceability for Sustainable Manufacturing Supply Chain

    A major challenge of circular economy in manufacturing supply chain is the lack of information about available products, components, and waste that can be used between different sectors. This project will investigate the use of traceability techniques to support a sustainable manufacturing supply chain. You will develop a framework for generation, maintenance, use, and inference of traceability relations for a sustainable manufacturing supply chain.

    Supervisors: Andrea Zisman, Bashar Nuseibeh, Amel Bennaceur

  • Values-based Software Engineering

    Software systems are designed to be autonomous and adaptive. These systems need to be designed, deployed, and continuously reflect the values of their users. In this project you will develop a software-based values shopping basket to represent the collection, variation, and selection of people’s values, and to assist individuals and society to make more values-sensitive decisions through awareness and enforcement.

    Supervisors: Andrea Zisman, Amel Bennaceur, Bashar Nuseibeh

  • On-the-fly Traceability for the Food Supply Chain

    Traceability is recognised as a critical technique to support food safety. They are able to identify from where the food came (one down) and to where the food went (one up). The one up/one down traceability approach still leaves the supply chain vulnerable, since food products have complex multi-step vertical and horizontal branching supply chains. In this project we will develop an on-the-fly traceability approach to support the multi-step and multi-directional food supply chain.

    Supervisors: Andrea Zisman and Amel Bennaceur

  • Symphony: Synthesis for Cyber-Physical Systems

    How can two robots work together safely? How can we be confident that our medical devices behave as expected? How can we control the behaviour and interactions of our smart devices? . Symphony aims to reconcile software engineering methods for modelling and analysis with mathematical grounding of control theory into a uniform theory for controlling CPS that is realised in a rigorous engineering framework.

    Supervisors: Amel Bennaceur, Arosha Bandara, and Bashar Nuseibeh

  • Future of Travel – Securing the Skies

    The increased availability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – or drones – is increasing aerial congestion and the increasing risk of exposing air traffic disruption and safety incidents. It is also creating a more challenging security environment, where malicious actor can use drones to engage in nefarious activities, from unregulated and non-consensual surveillance or privacy intrusion to malicious or violent attacks on people and assets. Both drones and the general air space in which they operate are largely managed by software-intensive systems that increasingly operate autonomously.

    The proposed PhD research will contribute to improved software engineering of UAV applications generally, and drone safety and security in particular. It will also be informed by and inform air traffic management policy and practice, and will provide opportunities to investigate human factors and interaction design for a new generation of air traffic management systems. NATS – the UK’s air traffic management services – will collaborate with and contribute to the project, by providing access to air traffic controllers, engineers, and air traffic flight data. NATS will also help frame the research and its impact on the future of travel.

    Supervisors: Bashar Nuseibeh, and a subset of Yijun Yu, Blaine Price, Arosha Bandara, Amel Bennaceur

  • Socio-Technical Resilience

    Breakdowns in socio-technical systems can cause significant disruption. Resilience Engineering aims to avoid them by emphasising what works. While improvements brought by automation are vital, automation is not a silver bullet. You will investigate the relationship between socio-technical resilience and automation, in the context of our ongoing affiliation with NATS.

    Supervisors: Helen Sharp and Tamara Lopez

For more information about the application process, please read the guidance on applying for a PhD studentship.