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PhD Studentship: AI-enabled Cyber Wargaming

University of Bristol - Engineering Mathematics, Bristol

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bristol
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £18,800
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th May 2021
Closes: 31st July 2021

The project:

Current security incident response systems are largely knowledge-based, and this project seeks to advance the state-of-the-art by using a combination of AI-based modelling and simulation to predict both novel attack behaviours and suitable countermeasures. Particularly with the advent of AI-driven attacks, new, complex and adaptive patterns of malicious behaviour will require a rapid mitigative response, and automation is key in order to contain a threat before it spreads and causes significant disruption or damage.

The research conducted will produce tools and techniques that offer an organisation’s cyber security operations unique insight which will be used to both inform their security design, both in terms of static structure and capabilities deployed in the network (such as firewalls), as well as future dynamic capabilities (such as automated incident response systems). The capability would need to consider the risks imposed by certain threats, as well as the costs and risks associated with taking certain defensive actions in response. Initially, it would be used in an offline fashion, but later could be extended to act in real-time to dynamically counter threats, either autonomously or in a collaborative manner, by explaining actions and expected consequences to a human decision-maker.

The research will be supervised at the University of Bristol by Prof Trevor Martin (Intelligent Systems) and Dr Matthew Edwards (BCSG), and by Dr Alfie Beard from the Future Cyber Defence team in BT Applied Research (based near Ipswich). The successful candidate will be expected to spend some time working in close collaboration with the BT team.

How to apply:

Please make an online application online for this project at Please select <Engineering Mathematics> on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of the studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Candidate requirements: 

PhD applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of a Master degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Applicants without a Master qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of readiness to pursue a research degree.


This is a fully funded 4-year studentship providing:

  • a minimum £18,800 tax-free stipend per year
  • tuition fees at UK student rates
  • equipment and travel allowance to support research related activities.

For EPSRC funding, students must meet the EPSRC residency requirements.


For questions about the research topic please contact Prof Trevor Martin ( or Dr Matthew Edwards (

For questions about eligibility and the application process please contact SCEEM Postgraduate Research Admissions

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