Programme details

This is a 4-year programme with an at-scale, interdisciplinary and user-informed focus on all training throughout the four years. The first year will involve a series of taught modules on the technical and human / social / behavioural aspects of trust, identity, privacy and security (TIPS) at-scale. There will also be an introductory Induction Residential Week, and regular masterclasses by leading academics and industry figures, including delivery at industrial facilities. The students will also undertake placements in industry and research groups to gain hands-on understanding of TIPS-at-Scale research problems. Students then continue working with stakeholders in industry, academia and government to frame and develop a novel research proposal for their final three years, as well as undertake internships each year in industry and international research centres.

Their interdisciplinary knowledge will continue to expand through masterclasses and they will develop a deep appreciation of real-world TIPS-at-Scale issues through experimentation on state-of-the-art testbed facilities and labs at the universities of Bristol and Bath and industry.

Students will also work with innovation centres in Bath and Bristol to develop novel, interdisciplinary solutions to challenging TIPS-at-Scale problems as part of our Responsible Innovation Challenges.

Taught Units in the first year

Unit 1: Socio-technical Foundations for TIPS-at-Scale.

This unit comprises of four modules, with students working in groups to apply the knowledge gained on a real-world large-scale case study:

  • Module 1: Fundamentals of TIPS-at-Scale. Students will develop a shared understanding of the underlying dimensions of TIPS and an awareness of the challenges when scaling up state-of-the-art methods.
  • Module 2: Empirical Research Methods for TIPS-at-Scale. Students will develop a broad appreciation of methodology and methods (both qualitative and quantitative) and the ability to situate these in specific TIPS-at-Scale research problem contexts.
  • Module 3: Threats and Risks for TIPS-at-Scale. Students will be introduced to TIPS threats in large-scale infrastructures, current risk management and mitigation approaches and the challenges to scaling these up. Integral to this will be an understanding of how risk is understood by varied stakeholders, and the implications of such variations for TIPS-at-Scale.
  • Module 4: Responsible Innovation. Students will be equipped with a thorough understanding of innovation, innovation systems, frameworks for responsible innovation and specific techniques that sit under these, using these interdisciplinary skills to explore and analyse TIPS-dimensions as these relate to hyperconnected, large scale infrastructures.

Unit 2: Resilient Socio-technical Infrastructures

Students will learn about approaches to keep large socio-technical infrastructures in operation when they operate in partially-trusted settings and even when parts of the infrastructure are compromised, e.g., inclusion of malicious human actors, software or hardware. They will gain hands-on experience of analysing resilience of realistic scale systems in the Bristol Cyber Security Testbed.

Unit 3: Masterclasses and Placements

Members of academic staff, industrial visitors and prominent external speakers from academia, government and industry will deliver masterclasses where student will go far deeper in pursuit of specialised topics from a wide range of themes of both technical and social nature. The format of the master-classes will adapt to requirements of specific topics, e.g., in-class delivery in combination with visits to industrial facilities where needed or on-site delivery at an industry partner.

The masterclasses will be complemented by students undertaking two placements of 2 weeks each, one in an industry or practice organisation and one in an academic research group at Bristol or Bath. The placements will provide students with hands-on experience of working on TIPS-at-Scale problems in industry and research settings. These placements will help shape their understanding of practical challenges and research issues, and, together with masterclasses, provide a strong basis for their research proposal.

A number of non-credit bearing courses are available and taken during years 1-4. These include:

  • Training in programming, data analysis, software engineering and machine learning;
  • Skills for interdisciplinary research;
  • Over a 100 personal and professional development courses on topics such as Project Management, Research Data Management, Qualitative Data Analysis, Statistics, Academic Writing, Presentation Skills, and Public Engagement with Research. 
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