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Research Studentship in Programmable Hardware

Research Studentship in Programmable Hardware

Project: Scalable and Sustainable Computing Infrastructure

3.5-year D.Phil. studentship 

Supervisors: Prof Noa Zilberman

The rise of digital economy and the growing dependency of our society on cloud-based services are continuously increasing the demands from communications infrastructure and computing systems. These systems are required to scale, and at the same time to reduce their power footprint. The introduction of programmable network devices, and the convergence of networked-systems disciplines, offer an opportunity to achieve both goals. Cursory studies have suggested up to x10,000 throughput improvement and x1,000 power savings, but had limited applicability so far.

This project will investigate the use of programmable hardware devices as a means to create scalable and sustainable computing infrastructure. The introduction of new hardware architectures and the exploration of their application to computing infrastructure are expected to be key parts of this studentship.

This project offers the opportunity to undertake ground-breaking research in the field of programmable hardware, involving elements of networking, computer architecture, and systems.


This studentship is funded through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership and is open to Home students (full award – home fees plus stipend). Full details of the eligibility requirements can be found on the UK Research and Innovation website.

There is very limited flexibility to support international students. If you are an international student and want to apply for this studentship please contact the supervisor to see whether the flexibility might be available for you.

Award Value

Course fees are covered at the level set for Home students (c. £8290 p.a.). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £15285 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years. 

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or a related discipline.
  • Excellent hardware design skills (e.g., FPGA or ASIC)
  • Good programming skills (e.g., Python, C/C++)
  • Basic knowledge of networking
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Knowledge of programmable network devices (e.g., using NetFPGA or programming in P4)
  • Basic knowledge of memory subsystems

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Prof Noa Zilberman (

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria. Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote 21ENGSSCI_NZ in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline: noon on 22 January 2021 (In line with the January admissions deadline, set by the University)

Start date: October 2021