PhD Studentship: Increasing the Self-awareness of Models@run.time Systems

Aston University - School of Engineering and Applied Science

School of Engineering and Applied Science PhD Studentship (4 years)

Increasing the self-awareness of models@run.time systems

Applications are invited to apply for a four year Postgraduate Research studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the Computer Science subject group at Aston University. The successful applicant will join the Aston Lab for Intelligent Collectives Engineering (ALICE) group.

This studentship is combined with a teaching assistant role. The successful candidate will be required to provide up to an average of 6 hours per week of teaching support for a distance learning programme; therefore the student must be capable of teaching on an undergraduate course in Software Engineering. Details of teaching responsibilities and a list of taught modules can be found here

The position is available to start in July 2018 (or earlier by agreement)

Financial Support
This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home/EU tuition fee rate plus a maintenance allowance of £15,500 in 2017/18.

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £12,005 for the 2017/18 academic year. As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or, secured this additional funding.

Background of the Project
Increasing demands on current systems demand that they adapt their way of working to their environment, their goals and their own internal state: these are so-called self-adaptive systems. One useful approach is following a “models@run.time” approach, where the system operates from a formal set of rules described in a modelling language. However, current approaches generally operate from a single model shared by all systems, little research has been done on how to manage the gap between the current system state and the environment, and the model(s) used.

This project would study a selection of the gaps observed between:

  • The current model guiding the system (“what should I be doing?”),
  • the next version of the model guiding the system (“what should I do next?”),
  • the current state of the system (“what am I doing?”),
  • the changes in the environment (“what has happened?”), and
  • the models that guide the collaborators (“what is everyone else doing?”).

The detailed approach would be discussed with the student, in line with their strengths and personal interests and the specific gap that the research is targeted to.

Person Specification
The successful applicant will have a strong undergraduate (first class or upper second class) and/or Master’s degree in computer science, engineering, mathematics or a related discipline as well as excellent programming and analytical skills. Applicants from non-English speaking countries will need to satisfy Aston’s English language entry requirements.

Skills in model-driven engineering and/or domain-specific languages will be highly valued, as well as any experience in collaborative development of software (e.g. participation in open source projects).

For enquiries about this project, contact Dr Antonio Garcia-Dominguez and Dr Nelly Bencomo by email:,

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available here 

Applications should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature, and an explanation of how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

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Midlands of England