Research Studentship (PhD) in Cyber Security

Fully-funded PhD Studentship  

Security of Healthcare Wireless Networks

Robert Gordon University 

Closing Date: 12 noon Monday 29thOctober 2018

Applications are sought for a fully-funded Research Studentship (PhD) in Cyber Security at Robert Gordon University.

Duration and Funding

The project will be 36 months duration, commencing in February 2019. The studentship is funded by Robert Gordon University, and includes tuition fees (at Home/EU or International level) as well as a tax-free stipend of £14,777 per annum for three years.

Proposed Research

According to the United States Federal Centres for Disease Control (CDC), 5% of people admitted to US hospitals, ~1.8 million people per year, pick up an infection during admission due to medical errors, leading to nearly 90,000 deaths. The National Health System (NHS) in the United Kingdom also suffers from understaffed teams and long operational hours, which significantly increases error rate and could endanger the wellbeing of both staff and patients.

In order to decrease medical errors, reduce workload, improve the efficiency of medical staff and improve the comfort of patients, recent advancements in wireless technologies have brought high performance and fault tolerant wireless networks, partly known as Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs). Those networks provide unprecedented opportunities to monitor real-time health status with prompt updates to physicians. However, bring with them numerous security challenges due to the high data sensitivity and severe consequences of possible attacks, which forms a challenge to their widespread adoption, especially with the relatively low computational power that medical devices possess. This project aims to address major vulnerabilities of medical wireless networks, and propose adequate solutions to improve the security and interoperability of WBANs in healthcare applications

The project has the following objectives:

  1. Assess various healthcare network security vulnerabilities and categorize them by severity.
  2. Analyse various security threats for different levels of the network architecture and propose adequate candidate solutions.
  3. Design security focused MAC/Routing protocol for a secure WBAN operation.
  4. Developing tools of simulating and emulating WBAN for future WBAN related projects.
  5. Publish results in reputable international conferences and journals.

The student will be working on recent advancements in security and wireless technology and will benefit from a dynamic, ambitious and supportive research environment. The School of Computing Science and Digital Media at RGU offers advanced labs and equipment, a diverse and engaging program of research seminars and supportive research workshops. The student will also receive additional training in the form of a PGCert in Research Methodology, taken during the first year of the PhD program.

Key Skills

Applicants should have (or soon expect to have) a first class Honours degree or a Masters at Distinction level in Wireless Communications, Security, Electronic Engineering, Computing Science or a strongly related discipline. Strong programming skills are highly desirable. Adequate knowledge of Networks, in particular wireless networks, is also highly desirable.  Applicants should have good personal and communication skills, strong professionalism and integrity, have proper motivation and be confident working on their own initiative.


Applications should be emailed to Virginia Dawod at 12 noon on Monday 29thOctober 2018. The applications should consist of a covering letter or personal statement of interest, and CV. Further information such as passport details or transcripts may be requested during the short-listing stage. Interviews are expected to take place on weeks commencing 5thor 12thNovember 2018.

All enquiries should be addressed to Dr Omar