Human resilience in cybersecurity of future power systems

   Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

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  Prof Xin Zhang  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Are you interested in cybersecurity research and their applications to energy industry? We have a recent PhD project funded by the DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) at The University of Sheffield, a World Top 100 university and a Russell Group university in the UK.

The PhD studentship covers the home tuition fees, with an enhanced stipend rate with annual increment for 3.5 years: £22,730 (Y1), £23,411 (Y2), £24,113 (Y3), £12,322 (Y3.5). This PhD stipend is significantly higher than the PhD market average so can help to recruit and retain cyber security professionals, and support to develop the cybersecurity skills to a doctoral level. In addition, we allocate travel budgets of £12,000 and research support of £4,465 for you to attend international conferences, showcase your research, and meet world-leading experts in the field of cybersecurity, as well as power and energy industry.

You will develop an interesting PhD project on “Human resilience in cybersecurity of future power systems”. Humans in complex systems, in this case as electricity system operators, play a significant role in ensuring the cybersecurity of system operation against major system disturbance or attacks. In this PhD project, we aim to understand human resilience in the cybersecurity of future power systems. We study human resilience as the ability of electricity system operators to respond appropriately to cybersecurity challenges. This will be modelled and incorporated into a whole-system resilience framework. Particularly, we will focus on “human stress” as one of the important factors in human resilience, with the scope to integrate more human factors in future research. This project will help us to address the challenge of “Humans in Systems” in a complex future operating environment, with specific tasks to develop: 1. methods to measure human resilience. 2. algorithms to understand human resilience, and 3. models to incorporate human resilience into future energy systems. We will develop key research methods by incorporating human-machine integration (HMI) techniques into the cyber-physical system (CPS) modelling. This can help us to understand human related aspects of cybersecurity in response to the cyberattacks and defence in future energy systems.

Supervised by Prof. Xin Zhang and Prof. George Panoutsos, the PhD student will join the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE) within Sheffield Engineering Faculty. We are a unique and the largest Automation and Systems Engineering department in Europe. Specifically, the PhD student will join the Control and Power Systems (CAPS) Laboratory, led by Prof Xin Zhang as the Chair in Control and Power Systems. The CAPS Lab focuses on advanced cyber-physical systems, control systems, optimisation, and cybersecurity with applications to power systems, smart grids, microgrids, and power electronics converters.

If you need further discussions on this application, please contact Prof Xin Zhang [Email Address Removed] with your CV and relevant qualifications / transcripts.

Funding Notes

DSTL funded PhD studentship. UK home tuition fees and an enhanced stipend for 3.5 years (£22,730 for 2023/24, £23,411 for 2024/25, £24,113 for 2025/26, £12,322 for 2026).

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