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Drone Detect and Desist (EPSRC CDT in Distributed Algorithms)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 29, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This studentship has been developed by the University of Liverpool and STFC’s Hartree centre in partnership with Vision4ce.

The project will be aimed at the development of accurate, robust methods for the detection and identification of drones (small uninhabited air vehicles, UAVs) in and around secure areas, such as airports and other sensitive sites. The PhD will benefit from assistance from the industrial partner (Vision4ce) who are active in this market. Vision4ce are keen to develop energy efficient methods and hardware implementations for long duration monitoring and surveillance systems.

Traditional surveillance systems tend not to be optimised for energy efficiency and very long duration operations. With the development of new processor architectures – GPUs, FPGAs, and other energy efficient massively parallel systems, such as the Graphcore IPU – there are possible benefits associated with optimising the classification methods for these systems.

The key challenge is in maintaining a robust performance whilst providing very low power operation. It is also necessary to provide information regarding the possible danger associated with the drones in terms of their proximity to the secure area and their general behaviour (e.g. erratic manoeuvres or other unusual characteristics). Vision4ce will be able to assist by providing real sensor data and advice on processor specific implementations of image processing and object tracking for practical applications.

This project is part of the EPSRC Funded CDT in Distributed Algorithms: The What, How and where of Next-Generation Data Science.

The University of Liverpool is working in partnership with the STFC Hartree Centre and other industrial partners from the manufacturing, defence and security sectors to provide a 4 year innovative PhD training course that will equip over 60 students with the essential skills needed to become future leaders in data science, be it in academia or industry.
Every project within the centre is offered in collaboration with an Industrial partner who as well as providing co-supervision will also offer the unique opportunity for students to access state of the art computing platforms, work on real world problems, benchmarking and data. Our graduates will gain unparalleled experiences working across academic disciplines in highly sought-after topic areas, answering industry need.

As well as learning from academic and industrial world leaders, the centre has a dedicated programme of interdisciplinary research training including the opportunity to undertake modules at the global pinnacle of Data science teaching. A large number of events and training sessions are undertaken as a cohort of PhD students, allowing you to build personal and professional relationships that we hope will lead to research collaboration either now or in your future.

The learning nurtured at this centre will be based upon anticipation of the hardware recourses arriving on desks of students after they graduate, rather than the hardware available today.

To apply for this Studentship please submit an application for a Computer Science PhD via our online platform ( and provide the studentship title and supervisor details when prompted. Should you wish to apply for more than one project, please provide a ranked list of those you are interested in.

For a full list of the entry criteria and a recruitment timeline (including interview dates etc), Please see our website

Funding Notes

This project is a fully funded Studentship for 4 years in total and will provide UK/EU tuition fees and maintenance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,009 per annum, 2019/20 rate).


For informal enquires please contact Dr Shan Luo [email protected] or [email protected]

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