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Key Information

  • When

    26th – 28th March 2018

  • Where

    5GIC, University of Surrey

  • Event Team

    CommNet2; Prof. Tim O’Farrell & Gemma Stephens, University of Surrey; Steve Schneider & Prof. Rahim Tafazolli


Together with Surrey’s 5GIC and Centre for Cybersecurity, the EPSRC funded CommNet2 network is currently organising its 2nd 3-day PhD School that aims to inspire the future generation of Communications and Networking researchers to become creative, innovative and multi-disciplinary, with a strong sense of community and a deep knowledge of the important issues. 

To help us achieve this goal, we are theming our forthcoming March Spring School around the topic of Security. Expert speakers will guide students all the way from the fundamental science behind Wireless Security (IoT, Trusted Platforms) and Cloud Edge Security, to the latest research in these fields, and their industrial applications. In line with EPSRC’s Safe and Secure ICT priorty, it is more important than ever that researchers give ample consideration to the security aspects of their work and to have an understanding of the latest developments in this field. Society is increasingly reliant on the technologies we develop and implement in our own fields of research, which makes the risk for potential damage through security breaches significant. Researchers who show awareness of these issues will be highly sought after and awareness is essential, even if your own project is not overtly related to issues of security.

Aside from the speakers, we will also be running a creativity and innovation in research workshop which will equip students with tools and techniques to nurture their creative mind-set and apply it to your research challenges. The school will also be an excellent opportunity for them to network with fellow students from around the UK and there will be fun socials and competitions along the way. 
There is no registration fee for the school and we will fund 3 x nights accommodation, however regrettably we are unable to fund travel costs. 

Programme Details

To Apply

Events Team


About CommNet2 PhD Schools

CommNet2 is an EPSRC funded network which aims to build a strong community of researchers and innovators working in Information and Communication Technology in the UK. Membership is free and open to all those in Academia and Industry, across the Engineering and Computer Science disciplines. As a network, and through our programme of activities, we hope to identify and define the most important research challenges that need to be solved in ICT today so as to promote community wide-solutions that ensure the UK remains a leading member of this important global sector. Of particular importance to CommNet2 is for us to build capacity by engaging with PhD students, Early Career Researchers and those recently graduated in Industry. It is vital that the future of ICT (i.e. you!) feels supported by, and a valued part of, our CommNet2 network.

Consequently, we have designed a unique School format designed to benefit you as the future researchers and innovators in UK ICT by:

  • Inspiring you to think creatively about your own work: The rate at which technological innovation is advancing in the modern world means that it has never been more crucial to be able to nurture a creative mindset in your approach to research. Problems are an inevitable part of any PhD, but the workshop on day 1 will equip you with new techniques and approaches to tackle them with creativity, both on your own and in a team. Being creative and critical in your thinking will set you apart.
  • Sharing the very latest knowledge with you on days 2 and 3. With the help of our expert speakers, our school will guide you through the fundamental science behind Wireless Security (IoT, Trusted Platforms), and Cloud Edge Security, through through the latest developments at the cutting edge of research, and will also showcase their industrial application.
  • Connecting you as early career researchers and helping you to grown your own professional networks: CommNet2 sees incredible value in building networks that are multidisciplinary, and that span institutions in both Academia and Industry. To this end, we hope that the school gives you the opportunity to spend time cultivating your own network of contacts in ICT, both during the days, but also during our social activities on days 1 and 2.

Our 2016 School was generously hosted by BT at their Adastral Park facility. This year, we are delighted to have the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey as host, and to have Prof. Steve Schneider of the Surrey Centre for Cybersecurity and Prof. Rahim Tafazolli on board to advise. 

Why Security?

Our previous 2016 Winter School focused on the topics of Massive MIMO and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), but on the advice of our Advisory Board, our forthcoming School will focus on the topic of Security. Our Advisory Board comprises some of the most established key figures in our community who lead the way in the development of ICT in Academia and Industry. Their advice to us is that it is essential to raise awareness amongst Postgraduate Researchers of the importance of considering the security aspects of their work early on, and we find this is echoed by EPSRC’s Safe and Secure ICT Priority that encourages projects and proposals in this area.

The extent to which society now relies on the development and implementation of Information and Communications Technologies means that it has never been more pertinent to consider the security aspects of any ICT project, regardless of whether it is directly related to security or not. Irrespective of your own research area, knowledge of developments in security is essential and we will be working with our speakers to help them prepare their presentations so that they can be understood by students whose projects are not directly related. 

We recommend students from all areas to apply and benefit from our expert speakers, to network, and to increase their knowledge of multi-disciplinary topics – a highly sought after skill in research. 

Responsible researchers should consider and have an awareness of the latest developments on security.


Day 1: Creativity & Innovation in Research 

The school gets under way with a full day’s creativity and innovation workshop led by Dr. Kevin Byron which will equip you with tools and techniques to nurture your creative mind-set and apply it to your research challenges.

In the evening, we will all take part in a fun social activity in Guildford. 

Day 2: Wireless Security

The second day moves on to focus key topics in Wireless Security (IoT and Trusted Platforms) from experts in research and industry. Confirmed speakers include Dr. Ioana Boureanu (Universty of Surrey), Dr. David Oswald (University of Birmingham) and Dr. Ronald Toegl from Infineon. 

In the afternoon, we will have demonstrations from the 5GIC and the Centre for Cybersecurity at the University of Surrey, a broad introduction to the funding process in ICT from Dr. Matthew Scott (EPSRC), and in the evening, we will host our School Dinner.  

Day 2: Cloud and Edge Security

We will conclude our school with expert speakers focusing on the science, latest research and Industrial applications of Cloud Edge Computing. Confirmed speakers are Dr. Thanassis Giannetsos (University of Surrey), Prof. Mauro Conti (University of Padua), and Dirk Trossen (InterDigital). In the afternoon, we will be going on a trip to the National Physical Laboratory.

Event Team

Prof. Tim O'Farrell

Gemma Stephens

Prof. Steve Schneider

Prof. Rahim Tafazolli

From CommNet2

From the University of Surrey


5G Innovation Centre
University of Surrey
United Kingdom

Application & Funding

Application and registration is via a process of nomination by supervisors or colleagues. Contact details of nominated students should be sent to CommNet2 Research Administrator Gemma Stephens ( 

We anticipate being able to offer 30 places so please don’t delay in forwarding your details. 

CommNet2 will fund and pre-arrange 3 x nights accommodation in/around Guildford centre for those registered on the nights 25th, 26th and 27th March 2018.  Details of the accommodation will be forwarded to successful nominees closer to the time. We will also fund a school social on the night of the 26th (details TBC), and a school dinner on the 27th.

Unfortunately we are unable to fund travel expenses incurred in reaching the school or travelling around Guildford. 

“It was so good to meet PhD students from different universities. Working as a group in the workshop and going to social events together helped us to network easily.”Attendee PhD School 2016