The School of Engineering and Digital Arts offers research-led degrees in a wide range of research disciplines, related to Electronic, Control and Information Engineering, in a highly stimulating academic environment. The School enjoys an international reputation for its work and prides itself in allowing students the freedom to realise their maximum potential.
In addition to traditional PhD research programmes, we offer an engineering doctorate (EngD). The Engineering Doctorate is for students who want a career in industry. A four-year programme combines PhD-level research projects with taught courses, and students spend about 75% of their time working directly with a company.
As well as offering excellent research facilities and equipment, the School allows students the opportunity to participate in regular research seminars and workshops and offers students the possibility of attending international conferences in order to present their work. As a research student in the School, you will become a member of one of our thriving research groups.
Some projects available for postgraduate research degrees.
About the School of Engineering and Digital Arts
Established over 40 years ago, the School has developed a top-quality teaching and research base, receiving excellent ratings in both research and teaching assessments.
We undertake high-quality research that has had significant national and international impact, and our spread of expertise allows us to respond rapidly to new developments. Our 30 academic staff and over 130 postgraduate students and research staff provide an ideal focus to effectively support a high level of research activity. There is a thriving student population studying for postgraduate degrees in a friendly and supportive teaching and research environment.
We have research funding from the Research Councils UK, European research programmes, a number of industrial and commercial companies and government agencies including the Ministry of Defence. Our Electronic Systems Design Centre and Digital Media Hub provide training and consultancy for a wide range of companies. Many of our research projects are collaborative, and we have well-developed links with institutions worldwide.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Engineering and Digital Arts was ranked 21st in the UK for research intensity.
An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
We have developed our programmes with a number of industrial organisations, which means that successful students are in a strong position to build a long-term career in this important discipline. You develop the skills and capabilities that employers are looking for, including problem solving, independent thought, report-writing, time management, leadership skills, team-working and good communication.
Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2015 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.
Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we offer many opportunities for you to gain worthwhile experience and develop the specific skills and aptitudes that employers value.
The School is well equipped with a wide range of laboratory and computing facilities and software packages for teaching and research support. There is a variety of hardware and software for image acquisition and processing, as well as extensive multimedia computing resources. The School has facilities for designing embedded systems using programmable logic and ASIC technology, supported by CAD tools and development software from international companies, including Cadence™, Xilinx™, Synopsys™, Altera™, National Instruments® and Mentor Graphics™. The SMT laboratory can be used for prototyping and small-volume PCB manufacture. A well-equipped instrumentation research laboratory is also available.
Students studying communications have access to commercial and in-house software tools for designing microwave, RF, optoelectronics and antenna systems (such as ADS™, CST™, HFSS™) and subsequent testing with network and spectrum analysers up to 110 GHz, an on-wafer prober, and high-quality anechoic chambers.
Students interested in Information Security and Biometrics have access to state-of-the-art biometrics equipment, which can be used for studying the characteristics of the different biometric modalities introduced during the course.
As a postgraduate student, you are part of a thriving research community and receive support through a wide-ranging programme of individual supervision, specialised research seminars, general skills training programmes, and general departmental colloquia, usually with external speakers. We encourage you to attend and present your work at major conferences, as well as taking part in our internal conference and seminar programmes.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: IEEE Transactions; IET Journals; Electronics Letters; Applied Physics; Computers in Human Behaviour.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A first or 2.1 honours degree in electronics, computing or a related electronics subject.
General entry requirements
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
The Group’s activities cover system and component technologies from microwave to terahertz frequencies. These include photonics, antennae and wireless components for a broad range of communication systems. The Group has extensive software research tools together with antenna anechoic chambers, network and spectrum analysers to millimetre wave frequencies and optical signal generation, processing and measurement facilities. Current research themes include:
- photonic components
- networks/wireless systems
- microwave and millimetre-wave systems
- antenna systems
- radio-over-fibre systems
- electromagnetic bandgaps and metamaterials
- frequency selective surfaces.
The Intelligent Interactions group has interests in all aspects of information engineering and human-machine interactions. It was formed in 2014 by the merger of the Image and Information Research Group and the Digital Media Research Group.
The group has an international reputation for its work in a number of key application areas. These include: image processing and vision, pattern recognition, interaction design, social, ubiquitous and mobile computing with a range of applications in security and biometrics, healthcare, e-learning, computer games, digital film and animation.
- Social and Affective Computing
- Assistive Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction
- Brain-Computer Interfaces
- Mobile, Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing
- Sensor Networks and Data Analytics
- Biometric and Forensic Technologies
Behaviour Models for Security
- Distributed Systems Security (Cloud Computing, Internet of Things)
- Advanced Pattern Recognition (medical imaging, document and handwriting recognition, animal biometrics)
- Computer Animation, Game Design and Game Technologies
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Digital Arts, Virtual Narratives.
Instrumentation, Control and Embedded Systems
The Instrumentation, Control and Embedded Systems Research Group comprises a mixture of highly experienced, young and vibrant academics working in three complementary research themes – embedded systems, instrumentation and control. The Group has established a major reputation in recent years for solving challenging scientific and technical problems across a range of industrial sectors, and has strong links with many European countries through EU-funded research programmes. The Group also has a history of industrial collaboration in the UK through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.
The Group’s main expertise lies primarily in image processing, signal processing, embedded systems, optical sensors, neural networks, and systems on chip and advanced control. It is currently working in the following areas:
- monitoring and characterisation of combustion flames
- flow measurement of particulate solids
- medical instrumentation
- control of autonomous vehicles
- control of time-delay systems
- high-speed architectures for real-time image processing
- novel signal processing architectures based on logarithmic arithmetic.
Staff research interests
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr John Batchelor: Reader in Antenna Technology
Design and modelling of multi-band antennas for personal, on-body and mobile communication systems; passive RFID tagging/sensing and skin mounted transfer tattoo tags; reduced-size frequency selective structures (FSS and EBG) for incorporation into smart buildings for control of radio spectrum.Profile
Dr Farzin Deravi: Reader in Information Engineering
Pattern recognition; information fusion; computer vision; image processing: image coding; fractals and self-similarity; biometrics; bio-signals; assistive technologies.Profile
Dr Christos Efstratiou: Lecturer
Ubiquitous computing, mobile computing, social computing, Internet of Things, wireless sensor networks.Profile
Professor Michael Fairhurst: Professor of Computer Vision
Image analysis; computer vision; handwriting analysis; biometrics and security; novel classifier architectures; medical image analysis and diagnostics; document processing.Profile
Professor Steven Gao: Professor of RF/Microwave Engineering
Space antennas; smart antennas; microwave circuit and systems.Profile
Dr Nathan Gomes: Reader in Broadband Communications
Optical-microwave interactions, especially fibreradio networks; optoelectronic devices and optical networks.Profile
Dr Richard Guest: Senior Lecturer
Image processing; biometrics technologies including usability, cybermetric linkages and standardisation; automated analysis of handwritten data; document processing.Profile
Dr Sanaul Hoque: Lecturer in Secure Systems Engineering
Computer vision; OCR; biometrics; security and encryption; multi-expert fusion and document modelling.Profile
Dr Gareth Howells: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering
Biometric security and pattern classification techniques especially deriving encryption keys from operating characteristics of electronic circuits and systems.Profile
Dr Benito Sanz-Izquierdo: Lecturer in Electronic Systems
Antennas and microwaves.Profile
Stephen Kelly: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering
Medical electronics, including: electrocardiology; speech assessment; telemedicine and computerbased assessment of clinical conditions.Profile
Dr Peter Lee: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering
Embedded systems; programmable architectures; high-speed signal processing; VLSI/ASIC design; neural networks; optical sensor systems and applications; image processing using VLSI.Profile
Dr Gang Lu: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Instrumentation
Advanced combustion instrumentation; visionbased instrumentation systems; digital image processing; condition monitoring.Profile
Dr Gianluca Marcelli: Lecturer in Engineering
The understanding of complex systems, in particular, biological and financial systems; using mathematical modelling such as molecular simulation, Brownian dynamics and network theory.Profile
Robert Oven: Lecturer in Electronic Engineering
Modelling of ion implantation processes and ion diffusion into glass for integrated optic applications.Profile
Professor Ted Parker: Professor Emeritus of Radio Communications
Microwave antennas; frequency selective surfaces for microwave and millimetre wave multiband antennas (dichroics); radomes and frequency dependent screening for secure buildings.Profile
Dr Matthew Pepper: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering
Medical instrumentation: in particular in-shoe force measurement for gait analysis and rehabilitation engineering.Profile
Dr Konstantinos Sirlantzis: Lecturer in Image Processing and Vision
Pattern recognition; multiple classifier systems; artificial intelligence techniques; neural networks, genetic algorithms, and other biologically inspired computing paradigms; image processing; multimodal biometric models; handwriting recognition; numerical stochastic optimisation algorithms; nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory; Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods for sensor data fusion.Profile
Professor Mohammed Sobhy: Professor Emeritus of Electronics
Analysis and applications of nonlinear electronic systems.Profile
Professor Sarah Spurgeon: Professor of Control Engineering; Head of School of Engineering and Digital Arts
Fundamental developments in the area of nonlinear control and estimation, with a particular interest in variable structure and sliding mode systems; industrial and biomedical application of nonlinear control and estimation techniques.Profile
Dr Les Walczowski: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering; Director of Learning and Teaching
The development of dynamic web applications, mobile applications and e-learning technology.Profile
Winston Waller: Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering; Director of Enterprise
Design for test; analogue and digital VLSI design; medical applications of VLSI and low power voltage circuit design.Profile
Dr Chao Wang: Lecturer in Electronic Systems
Optical communications; microwave photonics; biophotonics.Profile
Professor Jiangzhou Wang: Professor of Telecommunications; Director of Graduate Studies
Modulation; coding; MIMO; mobile communications; wireless sensor networks.Profile
Dr Xinggang Yan: Lecturer in Control Engineering
Nonlinear control; sliding mode control; decentralised control; fault detection and isolation.Profile
Professor Yong Yan: Professor of Electronic Instrumentation; Director of Research
Sensors; instrumentation; measurement; condition monitoring; digital signal processing; digital image processing; applications of artificial intelligence.Profile
Dr Paul Young: Lecturer in Electronic Engineering
Design and modelling of microwave and millimetrewave devices and antennas, especially substrate integrated waveguides and smart antennas.Profile
Dr Huiling Zhu: Lecturer in Communications
Wireless communications and networking especially OFDMA; radio resource allocation; distributed antenna systems; wireless relay networks; user-centric networks; cooperative communications.Profile
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