Programme Details

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Horizon adopts a radical approach to training that combines taught elements with industry engagement and practice-led research in a highly flexible manner.

Under the guidance of a personal mentor, each student will undertake a journey from an initially narrow disciplinary focus to a point where they are fully equipped for a career within industry or academia.

This will involve developing interdisciplinary skills in the human-centred design of ubiquitous computing as well as transferable skills in research, innovation and appreciation of societal impact.

Our Centre for Doctoral Training Programme comprises three core elements.

The taught programme involves 180 credits of modules covering interdisciplinary and transferable skills.

Each student undertakes a three-month internship with an external partner during their first thirty six months of study, contributing 20 credits to the 180.

The research programme involves a 20 credit PhD research proposal with supervisors from multiple disciplines and external partners and following a proposal developed during the first year of training.

10355webAt the heart of the PhD will be an interdisciplinary research project. This will be grounded in a user-centred approach through the close involvement of industry partners. Each student will be guided by at least two supervisors from different disciplines.

PhD research topics will be chosen during the first year of the programme, drawing on ideas and discussions involving the students, potential supervisors and external partners. This said, the following list offers a few illustrative research topics that would fall under the overarching agenda of the centre:

  • integrated positioning and navigation support for indoor and outdoor citywide ubiquitous services
  • the evolution of ubiquitous systems in the home
  • supporting human interaction with autonomous embedded systems
  • combining middleware and GIS for scalable ubiquitous computing
  • ubiquitous computing for sustainable transportation
  • wearable biosensing for adaptive entertainment
  • the ethics of ubiquitous computing
  • open innovation in a ubiquitous digital economy

15267webOur students have access to a wide variety of research facilities, established using over £4M of equipment funding over the past five years. These include a wireless applications test-bed across the city of Nottingham, a Galileo positioning test-bed that is part of the newly-funded GRACE centre, a collection of mobile devices and server infrastructure within the Mixed Reality Laboratory, and a series of vehicle simulators (car, train and motorcycle) within Engineering.

Our taught programme addresses interdisciplinary and transferable skills via six core training themes:

  • Ubiquitous Technologies provides a thorough understanding of underlying navigation, positioning, interface and advanced computing technologies.
  • Human-centred design covers user-centred design methods including requirements elicitation and evaluation techniques.
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship enables students to understand the interactions between different stakeholders when developing technology for the digital economy and to develop innovative approaches to knowledge transfer.
  • Societal Issues and Policy allows students to deal with the issues of privacy, anonymity, identity and risk in the context of policy, intellectual property and economic and social systems.
  • Research Methods and Tools develops the core skills essential for PhD study including industrial and conference presentations and research management skills.
  • Training Projects provide students with an integrated experience of analysis and synthesis of literature, self-directed study, applications of ubiquitous technology to innovative designs, and working within multi-disciplinary teams.

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Each student will construct and follow their own personal pathway through these themes that enables them to develop from their own individual starting point into a rounded interdisciplinary researcher.

We recognise that PhD students are highly able individuals who have already successfully passed through at least one degree programme and who are therefore very capable of self-directed study. Moreover, we appreciate that many students will be eager to push on with research-focused practical activities from the beginning of their programme. We will therefore tailor and mix different modes of delivery to suit the capabilities and motivations of talented PhD students including: day or half-day seminars with significant student-led presentation and discussion; short-fat modules delivered in blocks; a summer school; and extensive research and practice-based activities including a feasibility project and the preparation of a PhD proposal.