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My PhD experience – Jorden Whitefield, Computer Science

"To date I have already had one joint paper published with researchers in the Netherlands and Germany, and I’m currently writing up another publication to submit soon."

Cyber security has always been a keen interest of mine so, having studied for my undergraduate degree at Surrey, I was excited to have the opportunity to join the Secure Systems group within Surrey’s Department of Computer Science as a PhD student. The group is a core part of the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS) which is recognised by GCHQ as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR).

My PhD work involves doing security protocol analysis of future connected communicating cars in Intelligent Transportation Systems. This focuses both on the security aspects (ensuring the system behaves as expected) and the privacy of users (ensuring that individuals using the system cannot be tracked or profiled).

My PhD is sponsored by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and Thales UK through an iCase bursary. This means that I’m in regular contact with Thales’ security research office to discuss my progress and stay up-to-date on industrial trends which could make my research more relevant and impactful. I’m also due to complete a placement with the company later this year.

One of my aims in undertaking a PhD was to learn all the core skills needed to be an independent researcher such as writing and delivering peer reviewed publications, and networking with other researchers worldwide. To date I have already had one joint paper published with researchers in the Netherlands and Germany, and I’m currently writing up another publication to submit soon. From this recent work, I hope to achieve some foundational models which other researchers will be able to base their work.

Studying for a PhD at Surrey has also given me the chance to take up other learning opportunities alongside my research. I’m currently studying for my Graduate Certificate in Higher Education which I hope to achieve this summer. Pursuing this course and gaining exposure to different teaching practices has enhanced my student interaction skills and helped me to communicate my research more effectively to various audiences.

I chose to remain at Surrey for my PhD partly because I really like the campus, the historical town and the beautiful greenery that surrounds Guildford. The fact that Guildford is only 40 minutes away from London Waterloo by train means I can meet up with friends and enjoy everything the city offers, with the bonus of being able to escape back to Guildford at the end of the day.

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