PhD studentship: Improving railway system resilience to cyber-attacks

Closing Date
Wednesday, 9th March 2022

Supervised by Rasa Remenyte-Prescott (Resilience Engineering, Faculty of Engineering) and Prof Steven Furnell (Cyber Security, Computer Science) 

Aim: To investigate and develop an approach for modelling and evaluating the preparedness of railway systems to deal with cyber-attacks, and recovery mechanisms from such attacks  


Railway systems are becoming vulnerable to cyber-attack due to the move away from bespoke stand-alone systems to open-platform, standardised equipment built using Commercial Off The Shelf components, and increasing use of networked control and automation systems that can be accessed remotely via public and private networks. Such cyber-attacks have the potential to cause issues to network signalling systems, train power supply and communication systems and other control software issues, for example. 

Proposed project

This project aims to propose an approach for modelling occurrences of cyber-attacks on the network and where possible evaluating their frequency. Such a model would also investigate consequences of individual and multiple attacks, followed by strategies of quick, safe and efficient recovery to normal network operation. It is envisaged that such an approach would be of value to train operators and/or railway infrastructure owners to aid their decision-making processes at a strategic and operational level. The proposed method will be potentially applied to a medium sized railway network in the UK, using information available from industrial partners in the research areas of resilience and cyber security at the University of Nottingham. 

Summary: Open to UK/EU/overseas students. Look for funding sources at

Entry Requirements: Starting October 2022, we require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in engineering, computer science, maths, or a relevant discipline, at integrated Master’s level or with a relevant MSc (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 degree can be considered). 

To apply visit: 

For any enquiries about the project and the funding please email Rasa Remenyte-Prescott (

Please apply here

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG and supervisors name) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship.

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.