EPSRC and MoD Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensing, Processing, and AI for Defence and Security (SPADS)

Researcher student (blurred) holding an electronic sensing device (in focus)

The University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University are launching a new Centre for Doctoral Training Programme focussing on generation-after-next technologies for information processing in defence & security, spanning the entire range from hardware development to algorithmic AI development.

The SPADS doctoral programme will train the next generation of highly professional defence scientists, including engineers, computer scientists, and mathematicians, capable of leading developments in cutting-edge and generation-after-next technologies in information and communication technology that are poised to transform not only the world of defence & security, but also the broader civilian society.

This will be addressed by underpinning interconnected technology and sensing modalities working across multiple sensing domains, leveraging advances in autonomy, embedded systems, and AI across both software/algorithms and hardware.

SPADS graduates will leave with substantial knowledge and experience:

  • a solid understanding of fundamental concepts from hardware and sensing and processing to software (provided via an intensive taught course);
  • cutting-edge knowledge in a specialisation of their choosing;
  • practical experience of research;
  • a solid understanding of the ethics of research & development;
  • invaluable contacts with UK industry; and
  • connections with an entire cohort of future leaders in research & development.

Note that a SPADS funded place has the following advantages beyond typical Doctoral Training Programme scholarships that might be appealing to students:

How to apply

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Follow our checklist to help with your application to SPADS CDT.

Management team

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Learn more about SPADS CDT Management team.

Programme structure

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Learn more about the structure of the SPADS programme.


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Find out more about our registered partners in industry and government.

Programme background

Sensor Signal Processing for Defence Conference

SPADS is part of a wider programme of research in defence and security.

PhD research themes

autonomous robots working in a warehouse