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EPSRC/BT CASE PhD Studentship in Business Informatics: Data Analytics and Decision Support for Privacy by Design

The University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,000 See advert
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th December 2018
Closes: 3rd May 2019

A full-time PhD research studentship is available starting September 2019 as part of the EPSRC Industrial CASE Award funded project “Data Transitivity Analysis for Holistic Privacy on Mobile Devices”.

The Project:

The increased use of mobile devices and applications allows us to connect, work and enjoy ourselves in ever richer and more engaging ways.  Consumers welcome the low prices of mobile software applications, yet often fail to understand the dominating business models of monetising personal data which make this possible.  Even when users are aware that individual applications have access to some part of their personal data, they fail to realise that the major risks for them come from the potential integration of data from several different applications by third parties, “piecing together” a richer profile of user’s personal data, habits and activities than possible by a single application. 

The proposed PhD research will create conceptual foundations and a system which can address this and advise users how their particular combination of mobile applications may provide the conditions for privacy violations. The two closely interlinked research questions are:  firstly, what is the optimal reasoning mechanism to conduct the analysis of data transitivity relationships and interactions between existing policies in a sufficiently speedy manner to enable real-time warning of users who are in the process of installing an application, and secondly what are the factors which will impact users’ acceptance of such an advisory system.  These questions will underpin different phases of a design science-driven PhD research project conducted by the doctoral student. 


The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr. Pedro Sampaio, Dr. Ali Owrak and Prof. Nikolay Mehandjiev.  Prof John Davies, Chief Scientist from BT, will act as external supervisor and lead the industrial input into this research.

Nature of the studentship:

The studentship will be available for up to four years, providing: full tuition fees (at Home/EU level); a stipend equivalent to RCUK rates (approx. £15,000 and subject to change for future years) plus an industrial top-up from BT of £6,000/year; travel support for fieldwork, conferences and annual visits to BT Research.


We are seeking applications from exceptional UK/EU students with outstanding academic background in the fields of computer science, management science or data science. You must demonstrate that you are highly motivated, intellectually astute, with high-level analytical competencies and development skills.


You must apply online for the full-time PhD Business & Management programme, indicating that you are applying for the EPSRC/BT CASE PhD Studentship in Business Informatics.

The application must also contain:

  • A written statement clearly indicating how your research competencies and interests to date are aligned with the specific nature of this PhD project;
  • Evidence of excellent academic writing skills (e.g. existing research paper or dissertation chapter where the applicant has been the leading author); and
  • A research proposal indicating how you would propose to address the area of investigation.

If you do not submit the required supporting documents, your application will not be considered.


For further details about the project, contact Dr. Pedro Sampaio (, Dr. Ali Owrak (, or Prof. Nikolay Mehandjiev (  

For questions related to your application, contact Lynne Barlow-Cheetham (

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