VC International Scholarship in Low-Cost Secure Energy Storage Situational Awareness for Rural Homes

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    Cardiff University
    United Kingdom
    Formal sciences
    Natural sciences


The project aims to address energy-related issues faced by poor people living in rural and remote parts of the world. Millions of people either do not have electricity or cannot afford it. According to World Health Organization (WHO), many small rural and public facilities in resource-constrained settings suffer from unreliable energy networks. A study of 11 major sub-Saharan African countries found that roughly 1 in 4 health facilities had no access to electricity, and only about one-third of hospitals had reliable electricity access. Africa’s current average 43% access rate to electricity is half of the global access rate of 87% (2019). In many rural villages, people use illegal hook lines, so a survey will be used to understand the energy need of poor people (per day/week/month) and the reasons why they use hook lines. The work will also investigate how home appliance use can be utilized to optimise energy usage and bills as mainstream energy consumers with subsidised support. With this innovative idea, there will be a need for energy storage in a region where electricity supply is insufficient or unavailable. We will consider the security of the system, including the energy supply (if any) from the power distribution centre to the energy storage and from the energy storage to the homes.

The School of Computer Science & Informatics has a strong emphasis on cyber security research due to recent grants, and also supports the "Airbus Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security". Students attend workshops and conferences for research exposure, relevant training for developing skills through the Doctoral Academy, and may also have an opportunity to work with industry. The School encourages research discussion and collaborations, and has opportunities for interdisciplinary work with the School of Engineering (Energy group). The project directly contributes to UN sustainable goal #7- affordable and clean energy (major) and goal #11– sustainable cities and communities (minor).

The research objectives of this project include (i) understanding the energy needs for poor people (per day/week/month) and finding ways to educate poor or needy people on to optimise their energy usage and bills (by energy profiling), (ii) developing security techniques for critical energy storage security assessment and improvements on the safety and security of the power supply from the power distribution centre to the energy storage and from the energy storage to the homes, and (iii) understanding situational awareness by modelling cyber-attacks and monitoring their impact on the system to have advanced cyber risks situations.

This project aims to develop “novel” security techniques to ensure safe and secure supply of the electricity to rural and remote regions. The infrastructure security will be developed by performing threat-modelling and vulnerability assessment, security techniques storage infrastructure, and network communication security (e.g., last-mile communications). This project will entail a mixed of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, involving understanding of people’s need, optimising energy usage, and enabling secure power supply through an energy storage. It aims to build capabilities for understanding the current situational awareness at any point of time and can create alerts for suspected malicious events.

Indicative Deliverable:

• Surveys on risk, impact and state of the art: energy storage security, communication security over power distribution centre, and a public survey on current situations.

• Threat modelling, associated risks and vulnerability assessment.

• Building capability: develop advanced authentication and access control techniques for the energy storage system and its secure communication with people (customers) and power distribution centre, an algorithm creating advance alert for suspected malicious events.

• Incorporating the developed techniques and capabilities into a tool that offers a situational awareness alerting platform.

• Academic technical publications.

What is funded

Scholarship covers:

- overseas tuition fees;

- annual stipend (£15,285 for 2020/21);

- research consumables, training, conference travel.


3 years, subject to satisfactory progress.


Applicants must:

- be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) the world’s Least Developed and Other Low Income Countries based on the DAC list of ODA Recipients 2020. See


- meet the academic criteria;

- be liable to pay overseas tuition fees;

- not have been awarded another scholarship covering both tuition fees and stipend.

If you have either a tuition-fee only or stipend only award, you are eligible but will not receive double-funding.

A 2:1 or above Honours undergraduate degree or a master’s degree, in computing or a related subject. Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate their proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

How to Apply

Visit the website to apply for qualification Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science & Informatics, mode of study Full-time, with start date 1 October 2020. In the research proposal section of your application, specify the project title and supervisors of this project. In the funding section, enter " VC International Scholarship".



The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.