Satellite systems security

Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS) and Surrey Space Centre (SSC) at the University of Surrey invite applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship in satellite system security to work on an industry-funded research project TargetSat: Security of COTS-based Satellite Systems.

3.5 years
Funding source
NCC Group
Funding information

Open for EU/UK students only. The appointed candidate will receive a PhD stipend of GBP 20,000 per year for 3.5 years within which the candidate is expected to submit their thesis. This stipend is significantly higher than an average UK PhD stipend. Additional funding is available to support conferences, travel and engagement with the NCC Group.


The project is funded by the NCC Group and aims to develop an understanding of security risks and requirements associated with the use of commercial off-the-shelf components (incl. operating systems and software) in satellites and ground control systems, identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities in existing single and multi-satellite architectures and communication protocols, and propose mitigating countermeasures. An appropriate test-bed facility will be developed as part of this project.

The PhD student will be supervised jointly by Dr Mark Manulis (SCCS, primary supervisor) and Dr Christopher Bridges (SSC, co-supervisor). NCC Group will appoint an industrial supervisor to facilitate academic-industry exchange and provide access to their cybersecurity expertise.

NCC Group is a global expert in cyber security and risk mitigation, working with businesses to protect their brand, value and reputation against the ever-evolving threat landscape. Through an unrivalled suite of services, NCC Group provides peace of mind to organisations across all sectors and operating with all manner of technologies, that their most important assets are protected, available and operating as they should be at all times.

Related links
Surrey Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS) Surrey Space Centre (SSC) NCC Group

Eligibility criteria

Open for EU/UK students only.

Successful applicants are expected to hold a Bachelor or Master degree in information security, electronic engineering, or computer science and will have a strong background knowledge and core skills in embedded systems and wireless communications. This includes familiarity with:

  • Linux-based OS systems, incl. kernel programming
  • System- / network-level attacks (e.g. buffer overflows, command injection), penetration testing
  • Programming languages: C/C++, Assembly, or Python.

Additional background knowledge in satellite computing subsystems, telemetry and telecomm, communication protocols and error-correction techniques would be desirable. We particularly welcome applications from ongoing students who are projected to fulfil the above criteria and complete their degree in 2018.

How to apply

Formal applications should be submitted through our Computer Science PhD course page. You should clarify in your application that you are applying for this studentship.

The University of Surrey is committed to equality of opportunity in employment and offers many opportunities to help researchers develop as independent researchers.

Please note this studentship is now closed for further applications.

Computer Science PhD

Contact details

For enquiries on the the application procedure please contact the Admissions Team.

For other informal enquiries, please see below:

Mark Manulis
29 BB 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683911
A student smiling

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