Cyber resilience is an important system-level feature. It is affected by design trades made during the systems engineering process (e.g. the use of architectural dissimilarity in parallel control channels). These trades are likely to affect other system properties such as system security and safety, as well as programme schedule and cost.
Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is being increasingly used in critical systems to help manage system complexity. MBSE aims to transform Systems Engineering to a model-based practice and is a formalised application of modelling to support system requirements, design, analysis, verification and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase and continuing throughout development and later lifecycle phases (INCOSE, 2023). MBSE’s use of models formalise descriptions of a system, allowing for automated analysis, in contrast to the historical approach of document-based engineering. MBSE is also seen as key to lowering the cost of defence platforms. For example, the Ministry of Defence’s PYRAMID programme envisages simplifying upgrades, and reducing software development costs though a reusable and open mission system architecture, by using a suite of reusable software components for legacy and future air platforms (UK MoD PYRAMID, 2021).
MBSE artefacts should allow automated analyses to establish cyber resilience and system safety properties, alongside other system-level characteristics and programme features (e.g. schedule, cost). This integrated view should allow systems engineers to more fully understand the effects of design decisions. Elements of this theory have been demonstrated in small-scale trials and academic papers. However, to date, there is little empirical evidence that such approaches can scale to the necessary degree. Part of this scaling relates to the size (e.g. number of components) of the system model that is being considered. Another part relates to the manual effort associated with defining the automated analyses and assessing the associated results. The extent to which this analysis and assessment can be conducted by general systems engineers, rather than cyber (or safety) specialists is another key issue.
Applied empirical research, at an appropriate scale, on the integration of cyber resilience and system safety analysis into MBSE workflows would be highly useful. For example, action research to evaluate the creation and cyber resilience and safety analysis of representative system models, and the integration of analysis approaches and tooling into standard model-based systems engineering workflows. However, in isolation, this might not be sufficient to achieve widespread adoption of such techniques across the defence supply base. There may also be a need to evaluate how suitable techniques and tools can be promoted to facilitate their adoption, especially among key system integrators.
This project aims to improve the productivity of cyber resilience and safety analysis in programmes using MBSE. Its objectives are:
1. Identify challenges and opportunities associated with cyber resilience and safety analysis in MBSE analysis through a review of peer-reviewed literature and best practice in the Defence Science & Technology sector, and other cogent domains where MBSE is employed;
2. Identify the quality improvements that can be made to cyber resilience and safety analysis in MBSE through empirical research conducted with stakeholders and exemplar projects where MBSE is employed;
3. Develop prototype tools, techniques, and guidelines for improved cyber resilience and safety analysis in MBSE in collaboration with stakeholders and exemplar projects where MBSE is employed.
4. Conduct intervention-based empirical research to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of prototype tools, techniques and guidelines for improved cyber resilience and safety analysis in MBSE.
The project will be based around a number of exemplar cases to ensure relevance of the research and to enable knowledge exchange and technology transition. To facilitate adoption of the research outputs by the broader defence community, evidence will be captured on the impact to productivity of theories, tools, techniques and guidelines resulting from this research.
The deadline for applications is 31 October 2023.
Dr Huseyin Dogan joined Bournemouth University (BU) in 2012. He is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Computing and Informatics Research Centre.
Dr Dogan is also the Acting Deputy Head of Department; Co-founder and Co-chair of the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research group; and the Leader of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Unit of Assessment 11: Computer Science & Informatics. His research focuses on Human Factors, Assistive Technology, Digital Health and Systems Engineering.
A fully-funded Studentship includes a maintenance grant of £18,622 per year to contribute towards living expenses during the course of your research, as well as a fee waiver for 36 months.
Associated costs, such as for fieldwork and conference attendance, will also be met under the Studentship.
The Research Development Programme, developed by the Doctoral College in line with the Researcher Development Framework (Vitae).
An added benefit is the opportunity to meet researchers from other academic schools at BU through the activities of the Doctoral College and benefit from their experiences, skills, and perspectives.
Full entry requirements
The BU PhD and MRes Studentships are open to UK, EU and International students.
Candidates for a PhD Studentship should demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 4 years and must demonstrate:
- Outstanding academic potential as measured normally by either a 1st class honours degree (or equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA) or a Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent
- An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent) for candidates for whom English is not their first language and this must be evidenced at point of application.
In addition to satisfying minimum entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful completion.
Applicants will be asked to submit an online application form and a proposal (approximately 1500 words) outlining their understanding of the project for which they are applying, the approach they would envisage taking and what qualities they will bring to the research community.
- current BU Doctoral students are not eligible to apply for a Studentship
- current MRes/MPhil students can apply, subject to satisfactory completion of their Research Degree prior to being able to take up the award
- PhD Studentships cannot be used to support BU staff to complete doctoral programmes.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 (with a minimum 6.0 in each component) or equivalent.
View further information about our English language requirements.
A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.
You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.
How to apply
Click the green ‘Apply now’ button at the top of the page and complete the online application form. You can find further guidance about applying for a postgraduate research degree in our Postgraduate Research section.
The closing date for applications 31 October 2023.
A research degree can open new career opportunities in commercial research and development, consultancy, or could lead you to starting your own business. You may alternatively consider a career in academia. You may wish to undertake research to contribute to your knowledge of a specialist subject, or develop your employability by enhancing your skills in project management and analysis.