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Research degrees in Electronic Engineering

Programme description

We are well-known for our pioneering research and pride ourselves on our world-class cutting-edge research projects. Joining us as a PhD student gives you the chance to experience this buzz and be part of our efforts to shape the future of electronic engineering and computer science.

We have a dynamic community of approximately 200 PhD students and 80 research assistants in our labs working on leading edge research. We offer well-integrated doctoral study programmes in our various areas of specialisation, each of our research groups is involved in internationally leading research, funded by UK Research Councils, the European Union, and industry around the world.

As one of the UK's leading Electronic Engineering and Computer Science Schools, we offer our postgraduate students a comprehensive and supportive training environment. You will work as part of a friendly and vibrant research community under the supervision of experts in the field. As a member of one of our research groups you will be accommodated in a research laboratory alongside other PhD students and full-time post-doctoral researchers. Students often participate in the funded research projects of the group. We provide a generous travel budget to enable research students to present papers at international conferences. Budgets for expenditure on experiments, equipment, and software are also available.

For more detailed information and funding opportunities for PhD students, please visit the website for the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.

Research groups

Antennas and Electromagnetics

Established in 1968 the group has comprehensive experimental facilities are housed in the Antenna Measurement Laboratory, which has recently received £1m in infrastructure investment. The group has strong links with industry and a current active grant portfolio of £4m, which includes a prestigious EPSRC platform grant valued at £1.2 million to fund post-doctoral researchers as well as in-reach and out-reach activities with other world-leading antenna laboratories.

Our research on antennas for mobile communications includes multiband antennas, multiple antennas for MIMO applications, semi-smart base station antennas and antennas and radio propagation for body centric communications. In the area of theory and application of metamaterials we study computational electromagnetic models for both active and passive structures. We study new nano-materials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes that offer possible advances in antennas and metamaterials. We develop software techniques to exploit the concepts of Transformation Electromagnetics, offering such novel devices as flat multi-reflector antennas and cloaking devices.

Our research on Terahertz Spectroscopy aims to help scientists visualize structures such as proteins and actively enhance chemical reactions. In the area of antennas and healthcare we study the interaction of electromagnetic waves with biological tissue, dosimetry, wireless implants and RF sensors for example in blood glucose monitoring. We also apply CEM to Microwave Electron Tube Devices to understand design of magnetrons with the aim of developing compact high power millimetre wave sources. In the area of metrology we work on near-field measurement, millimetre wave imaging for security and compact antenna test range development.

Centre for Digital Music

The Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) is a world-leading multidisciplinary research group in the field of music and audio technology. In less than a decade, the Centre has grown to become the UK's leading Digital Music research group. We hold several substantial EPSRC Grants, including a platform grant, and a Doctoral Training Centre. Resources include our state-of-the-art Listening Room, and Performance Lab as part of the new Media and Arts Technology Studios.

Our projects span many different disciplines, including digital signal processing (DSP), semantic web (, knowledge processing, live performance, musicology, software engineering, and interaction. We emphasise adventurous and trans-disciplinary research, pushing the boundaries of DSP, computer science, philosophy and psychology. We investigate topics such as music information retrieval (MIR), music scene analysis, semantic audio processing, object-based audio coding, machine listening, human machine interaction and digital performance.

Much of our research targets real users, seeking to build new algorithms into usable and useful software. We have developed systems for automatic play-listing from personal collections (, for looking inside the audio ( for automatically synchronising to a drummer (B-Keeper) and for collaborative composition (DaisyPhone for iPhone), and many others. We regularly release algorithms under open source licenses. See our interactive art installations at

Computer Science Theory

Our Computer Science Theory group specialises in the logical, mathematical and statistical foundations of computer science, with a breadth and depth of expertise almost unmatched in the UK. The group's expertise is broad in range from complexity, through automated reasoning, concurrent and distributed systems, formal methods in human-computer interaction to verification of systems software and logic. We tackle the hard problems inherent in discovering the power and limitations of computer systems, and how principled design, based on the right mathematical models might make them more robust and secure.

We collaborate with NASA, Intel, Microsoft, and other companies and government agencies on using novel mathematical modelling techniques. Our group is known as a world-leading centre for research on logical methods for reasoning about computer systems. We have spearheaded several developments separation logic, logic for continuous systems, information theory for security, process types for web services in which novel theoretical developments by us have been brought to bear in new application areas. We have also made fundamental contributions in pure logic (model theory, proof theory, categorical semantics), and in complexity theory.

At the moment we have about £8m in research funding, supporting a thriving intellectual community. This includes an EPSRC Platform Grant, awarded to leading research groups in the UK to underpin their strategic development, and two EPSRC Programme Grants (in collaboration with other institutions), which support research challenges of major significance.

Computer Vision

Our Computer Vision group is internationally renowned for its work on modelling object behaviour, human facial and body action, facial synthesis and super resolution, multi-modal biometrics, 3D deformable shape, and structure from motion. The work has been widely applied to vehicle and people detection and tracking; behaviour screening and anomaly detection in public space CCTV.

Our core expertise includes statistical machine learning, time series analysis, dynamic Bayesian graph models, multi-view geometry, multi-modal data fusion, neurobiologically inspired vision, and image compression. The group's research attracts significant interest from industry and the government, including a large amount of international funding. Since 1998, the group has had direct industrial funding from the US and Australia for an R&D project developing computer vision-based advanced incident monitoring systems. Since 2007, the group has received venture capital investment; UK and US government seed funding for video analytics commercialisation. This work has also been the primary IPR for two start-up companies in the US, Australia and UK. 

Recent projects include SAMURAI, global behaviour inference over distributed multi-camera networks; LIREC, emotion and body language recognition; BEWARE, multi-camera object tracking and abnormal event recognition in CCTV; HUMANIS, 3D models of deformable and articulated objects; ICONS, incident recognition for surveillance and security; APIDIS, autonomous production of images based on distributed and intelligent sensing; and VIGOUR, an Integrated Vision System integrating face detection, head tracking, human body modelling, feature extraction, and behaviour interpretation. These collaborative projects link the group with UK, EU and US government and industrial partners as well as end-users.

Interaction, Media and Communication

Interaction Media and Communication (IMC) is an internationally recognised interdisciplinary group with a current grant portfolio of over £12 million. We explore new forms of human action and interaction using a combination of ideas and methods from the arts, computer science, philosophy, and social science. Our primary research areas are: human interaction, public engagement, creativity, and performance and advanced multi-modal interaction.

Our Augmented Human Interaction (AHI) Laboratory is a unique research facility that combines state-of-the-art multi-person motion capture equipment with novel 3D auditory and visual displays. This enables us to capture and transform a wide variety of human-human and human-machine interactions. We will shortly be extending this facility through a new Space for Performance and Interaction (SPI).

IMC's current research projects include a large ESRC project on human dialogue, a large EU project on human-robot interaction and an internationally lauded science outreach activity: cs4fn. We also have new strategic links with the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) with whom we share an EPSRC platform grant and jointly lead an innovative new PhD programme in Media and Arts Technology.

We publish our research in high quality international journals and have a strong presence at international conferences in our area (eg Cognitive Science and Human-Computer Interaction). We also chair important international conferences in our area (eg SIGDial and Creativity and Cognition). Our innovative arts-science collaborations have been shown at the National Portrait Galley, the ICA, SHUNT, and arts and science festivals around the UK.

Multimedia and Vision (MMV)

Our Multimedia and Vision group's expertise is broad, ranging from multimedia coding to visual information retrieval. Our work includes scalable source and channel video coding, surveillance centric coding, object segmentation, and tracking for surveillance, multimodal signal processing, mobile multimedia systems, interactive media computing, semantic inference for visual information retrieval, multi-view based 3D modelling, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence and video processing for social networking.

Members of the group have published numerous technical papers, several of them in the highest ranked journals of the field, including the IEEE Transactions. We are currently cooperating with top academic institutions and industrial players world-wide, including research centres in France, the Netherlands, USA, and Germany.

We have developed practical applications for relevant multimedia systems including a complete framework for Scalable Video Coding and is contributing to other standardisation activities as JPSearch and MPEG- 4/7/21. We are a member of the European Networked Electronic Media Platform and participate in a selected group of international experts making up the Future Media and 3D Internet Task Force of the European Commission.

Our current research portfolio consists of a healthy mixture of academic and industrial oriented research. We hold three EPSRC research projects and two substantial industry funded grants. Members of the group are currently coordinating the IST Network of Excellence 3DLife and participate in several large cooperative European projects including ADVISE, VideoSense, Saracen, NetxMedia, MISSA and Eternal.


The Networks group was founded in 1987, and has since expanded greatly. We have an international reputation for excellence in bringing intelligence and performance assessment techniques to fixed and mobile communication networks.

The Group has a long-standing interdisciplinary collaboration with the School of Mathematical Sciences, supported by a succession of funded projects. This collaboration encompasses non linear dynamics and experimental design, particularly as applied to optimising network measurement. We have been key players in many international collaborative projects, have a joint lab in Macao and are active in joint research with Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

The wireless research in the group is growing rapidly and current research now covers areas including cognitive radio, self-organising radio resource management, semi-smart antennas for cellular coverage optimisation, energy efficiency and capacity improvements in wireless networks, cross layer design for end to end QoS provision, vehicular communication technologies, sensor networks and network security. Resource management, topology theory and resilience are other significant research areas within the group; these themes have been applied to various optical networks technologies as well as the overall internet.

Another area of strength is in developing appropriate methodologies for modelling network behaviour, with significant contributions to queuing theory, topology and traffic modelling, accelerated simulation and measurement. The group actively exploits its intellectual property, whether as patents (eg jointly with major equipment vendors), or in spinout activity, such as Actual Experience Ltd which is a software-based service business formed to commercialise research on the perceptual quality of networked applications.

Risk Information Management

The Risk Information Management Group undertakes leading-edge interdisciplinary research in decision analysis and risk, databases/information retrieval (including user centred approaches), personalisation, learning, uncertainty, and Bayesian methods. The Group's research involves numerous commercial partners and there are two companies Agena ( and Apriore which grew directly out of research by key members of the Group. Agena delivers Bayesian Network solutions, while Apriore delivers integrated database and information retrieval technology.

Much of the group's research involves combining data and human expertise to create intelligent solutions for high stakes decisions. In the area of risk assessment we work with practitioners to produce intelligent unified models, that use both data and expertise as inputs, to support expert decision making in multiple application domains. The group is currently working on improved decision making in medical, legal, systems engineering, security and safety applications.

The group's information retrieval work has created specialised search tools for applications including ecommerce, financial service portals, computer crime detection, as well as patient management in medical fields. Its research includes multimedia, XML, MPEG- 7 and Web retrieval, knowledge-based uncertain reasoning, formal models and theories, integration of database and information retrieval technologies (probabilistic SQL), personalisation, document clustering and summarisation, evaluation of retrieval systems, information seeking, computational linguistics, and natural language processing.

Further information

To find out more, please visit the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science website, or contact:

Melissa Yeo
Research Students Coordinator
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5357

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