Computer Science: Fully Funded EPSRC and RCNDE PhD Scholarship: Real Time Tracking of Cognitive Load to Assess Human Factors During Inspections (RS584)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 29 April 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 29 April 2024

Funding providers: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and RCNDE

Subject areas: Human-Computer Interaction, Machine Learning

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)
  • 1 January 2025 (Enrolment open from mid-December)

Project supervisors: 

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Computer Science

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description: 

Many industries are relocating workers from hazardous environments to supervisory rooms, where they need to engage with automated systems to perform their work. A critical challenge in human-automated systems interaction lies in effectively managing human factors such as cognitive load (CL) and emotions such as stress to ensure optimal task execution. However, currently, measuring CL involves bulky, expensive techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencephalography, limiting their practicality. Recent progress in wearable design helps non-invasively measure CL and stress by synchronously analysing physiological indicators such as Pupillometry, heart-rate variability, and skin conductivity. Regardless, previous work involved wearing eye trackers and heart monitors, which may not be suitable for real-time inspection setups. Besides, the tasks utilised to collect data for estimating CL were superficial and consequently, CL measures were task dependent. 

Thus, there is a clear need to develop less invasive and robust task-independent measures for CL. This need is particularly relevant in non-destructive evaluation (NDE), where automation is increasing, and human factors significantly contribute to uncertainties in inspection results. This project will explore corrective methods to enhance inspection reliability by developing robust measure of CL and correlating it with operator performance. With automated systems generating vast volumes of inspection data and data analysis tasks becoming more complex, addressing human factors becomes increasingly vital for ensuring the overall dependability of inspections. 

For more details please see here:

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold an Upper Second Class (2.1) honours degree or an appropriate master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’ in Computer Science, Mathematics or a closely related discipline. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations.  

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at £19,237.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How To Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Computer Science / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / October (or January)

    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

  2. Start year – please select 2024 (or 2025)
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS584 - Real Time Tracking’

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised closing date, where possible:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional)

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Muneeb Imtiaz Ahmad (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

Who is eligible to apply?

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations.  

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