Event News: 2nd CommNet2 PhD School

CommNet2 welcomes 2nd PhD School cohort to Surrey

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The 2nd 3 -day residential CommNet2 PhD School took place 26th – 28th March at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre. The programme, which was designed around CommNet2’s unique school format, this year focused on issues of security. In line with EPSRC’s Safe and Secure ICT priority, advice from the CommNet2 Advisory Board, and with recent government calls for critical industries and services to boost their security measures, the school aimed to get ICT students from all backgrounds to consider the security aspects of their work and become aware of the latest developments.  

The school was organisedb y CommNet2, led by Director Prof. Tim O’Farrell, and supported by CommNet2 Administrator Gemma Stephens. The programme benefited tremendously by input from Director of the Surrey Centre for CyberSecurity, Prof. Steve Schneider and the Director of the 5G Innovation Cemtre, Prof. Rahim Tafazolli. 

The students spent the first day engaging in a Creativity and Innovation in Research Workshop facilitated by Dr. Kevin Byron. Rather than jumping straight into the technical, this first day imparted techniques to nurture a creative mind-set when facing research challenges.

Day 2 saw a series of technical ‘short course’ style talks that led students from the fundamental principles behind Wireless Security, to its latest research developments, and then onto its industrial applications. Presenters were a mix of Academic and Industrial experts, Dr. Ioana Boureanu (Surrey Centre for Cybersecurity), Dr. David Oswald (University of Birmingham) and Dr. Ronald Toegl (Infineon).  In the afternoon, students were introduced to EPSRC and the funding process by EPSRC’s Dr. Matt Scott which aimed to get students to think about how research is funded early on in their careers. Finally, they took part in hands-on, interactive demonstrations at the 5GIC and Surrey Centre for Cybersecurity.

Day 3 followed a similiar format with talks on the fundamental principles behind Security in Cloud and Edge Computing, the latest research in Cloud/Edge Security and finally the industrial perspective with Dr. Thanassis Giannetsos (University of Surrey), Prof. Mauro Conti (University of Padua) and Dirk Trossen of Interdigital. The school was rounded off by a trip to the National Physical Laboratory where students were shown around laboratories for interactive demos. 

Throughout, students were encouraged to network and bond as a group through a series of socials, including the (now infamous!) CommNet2 Bowling Competition, and a formal Conference Dinner at the University’s Lakeside Restaurant. 

Feedback from students was incredibly positive and through their enthusiasm and engagement, the 2nd CommNet PhD school was a great success. 

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