Computer Science: Siemens Mobility and Faculty of Science and Engineering Funded PhD Scholarship: Extending The State-of-the-Art in Software Certification (RS646)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 10 July 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 10 July 2024

Siemens Mobility and Faculty of Science and Engineering Funded PhD Scholarship: Extending the state-of-the-art in Software Certification: A Study in Railway Signalling (SoftCert)

Funding provider(s): Siemens Mobility, Faculty of Science and Engineering 

Subject area(s): Computer Science, Software Engineering, Software Testing, Verification, Software Certification 

Project start date(s): 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September) 


(Primary): Prof Markus Roggenbach, Department of Computer Science 
(Secondary): Dr Eike Neumann, Department of Computer Science 
(Industrial): Mark Thomas, Siemens Mobility, UK 

 Aligned programme of study: PhD in Computer Science 

 Mode of study: Full-time  

 Project description: 

A long-standing and persistent practical problem of computer science is: When has the quality of a program been demonstrated sufficiently for its purpose? This is particularly acute in areas where safety is at stake: our project concerns technical methods to certify software for digital signalling in railways. 

Based upon international railway standards and their own engineering principles, Siemens has created a comprehensive set of about 300 safety principles concerning so-called interlocking computers. But is an interlocking computer safe after verification against these principles? For Siemens, and the rail industry in general, the answer to this question is critical for business and public trust. 

This project will build on long-established deep technical work in formal verification to provide a scientific answer to this practical question: 

  • Develop and apply new coverage criteria, motivated, e.g., by the MC/DC criterion as prescribed within standard DO-178 C to ensure adequate testing. 
  • Determine error uncovering capabilities with empirical methods using mutation techniques: is there a `bias’ towards certain error types?  
  • Achieve higher level of quality assurance by systematically adding new safety principles, e.g., by utilizing code smells. 

The research has the potential to go beyond Siemens/Railway and lead to a step-change in the state-of-the-art, which normally determines certification criteria. 

This project was co-created between the Railway Verification Group at Swansea University and Siemens. It is a natural continuation of our common research agenda to develop new verification methods for interlockings and deploy these methods at Siemens. The project is key for Swansea’s envisioned REF Impact Case Study 2028 on Railway. This proposal strengthens Swansea’s engagement with the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) in South Wales, at which Siemens also intends to get involved. 

For more details please see here:

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold a UK Bachelor degree with a minimum of Upper Second Class honours in Computer Science, Mathematics or a closely related discipline, or an appropriate master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’,
OR an overseas Bachelor degree deemed equivalent to UK Bachelor (by UK ECCTIS) and achieved a grade equivalent to UK Upper Second Class honours in Computer Science, Mathematics or a closely related discipline, or an appropriate master’s degree deemed equivalent to UK master's (by UK ECCTIS) with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’.– see country specific qualifications

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 6.0) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. Full details of our English Language policy, including certificate time validity, can be found here. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

International Fee Eligible Students:

Swansea University is pleased to offer the Swansea University International Postgraduate Research Excellence Scholarship (SUIPRES) which covers the difference between the International and the Home/UK tuition fee for the duration of the PhD/Professional Doctorate programme. All International applications will be considered for a SUIPRES Scholarship. You will be informed whether a SUIPRES Scholarship will be offered within your offer letter.


Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance; further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website. 

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process. Successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with their scholarship course offer. 

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 of £19,237.

The cost of international tuition fees will be fully covered if the applicant is successful in being offered a SUIPRES Scholarship as outlined in eligibility section above.

Additional research expenses of up to £1,000 per year 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

    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
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS646 - Railway Signalling’

*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 e-mail). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised application closing date. Please note that your application may not be considered without the documents listed:

  • 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 Professor Markus Roggenbach (

*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?

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

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