Aberdeen University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Southampton Featured PhD Programmes
Heriot-Watt University Featured PhD Programmes
University of West London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

Malicious Cyber Attacks and Defence Mechanisms in Smart Grids (Advert reference: RDF20/EE/MPEE/JIANG)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Due to global environmental concerns, the UK has set an ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from 1990 to 2050. This ambitious goal cannot be achieved without the deployment of smart grid, representing a modernized power grid that uses information and communications technology for improving the efficiency, robustness, economics, and sustainability of the energy distribution and management. The bi-directional information exchange among customers, operators and control devices offers a more efficient way of energy supplying and consuming. However, by integrating a physical system (power grid) with a cyber system, a smart grid presents significant cyber security challenges and makes the overall system more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. For instance, in December 2015, a cyber attack of a power system was reported in Ukraine, which caused a power cut lasting several hours and affecting 80,000 customers. Such attacks could maliciously manipulate the electricity price in the power market, or even cause a regional blackout, and result in serious social and economic consequences.

This project aims to provide better understandings of cyber attacks and develop solid defence mechanisms to mitigate their impacts and risk of cascading failure in smart grid. Microgrids, which can be islanded from or connected with a national power grid, and multiple microgrids system will be focused on at first; methodologies will then be extended to general smart grid services. The outcome of this project will be real-time attack detection schemes with low computational complexity to defend against cyber attacks, which will contribute to ensuring a safe and trusted connected smart grid.

The Principal Supervisor is Dr Jing Jiang. The Second Supervisor will be Dr Wai Pang Ng.

We are recruiting one PhD student to contribute to the project. The candidates are expected to have solid knowledge in Communications Engineering, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, demonstrably experiences of programming/simulations, strong analytic skills, and excellent communication skills, both written and oral, in English.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/EE/MPEE/JIANG) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU/ Worldwide students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


1) A. Alnasser, H. Sun, and J. Jiang*, “Recommendation-based Trust Model for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X)”, 24 Oct 2019, (Accepted/In press) IEEE Internet of Things Journal, DOI: 10.1109/JIOT.2019.2950083.

2) A. Alnasser, H. Sun, and J. Jiang*, "Cyber Security Challenges and Solutions for V2X Communications: A Survey", Computer Networks. 151, p. 52-67, Mar 2019.

3) J. W. Heron, J. Jiang*, H. Sun, and T. Doukoglou, “Round-Trip Latency Modelling of IoT SmartGrid Network Topologies,” IEEE Access, April 2018.

4) M. You, J. Jiang*, Andrea M. Tonello, and H. Sun, “On Statistical Power Grid Observability Performance under Communication Constraints,” invited paper, IET Smart Grid, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 40-47, 7 2018.

5) J. Jiang* and Y. Qian, “Defense Mechanisms against Data Injection Attacks in Smart Grid Networks,” IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 55, no. 10, pp. 76-82, October 2017.

6) M. You, H. Sun, J. Jiang* and J. Zhang, "Unified Framework for the Effective Rate Analysis of Wireless Communication Systems Over MISO Fading Channels," IEEE Transactions on Communications, vol. 65, no. 4, pp. 1775-1785, April 2017.

7) J. Jiang* and Y. Qian, “Distributed communication architecture for smart grid applications,” IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 54, no. 12, pp. 60–67, December 2016.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.