Innovative sensor-cloud studentship

City University of London

24 June 2022

This studentship aims to address one of the key technical challenges surrounding the ‘storm overflow of raw sewers into UK waters’ faced by the UK water companies.

  • Qualification Type: PhD
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Title of project: Innovative Sensor-Cloud for Sewer Monitoring and Management

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the Department of Engineering. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work in the Institute of Sensors and Instrumentation.

The focus of this PhD project is to create a sensor-cloud through the integration of a cloud platform and cloud computing with a specialist sensor network, developed for enhanced sewer condition monitoring.

This project aims to address one of the key technical challenges surrounding the ‘storm overflow of raw sewers into UK waters’ faced by the UK water companies.

The year 2020 alone has seen the release of raw sewage into rivers more than 400,000 times, leading to 84% of UK waters in England failing to meet the environmental and ecological requirements.

The innovative solution proposed in this project to address the above challenge is to establish an optical fibre sensor network, integrated with cloud technology for better sewer monitoring and management.

Sensor-clouds are considered as a combination of wireless sensor networks and cloud computing. In this project, however, the wireless sensor network will be replaced by optical fibre sensor network as conventional sensors have shown major limitations and cannot survive for weeks in highly humid and acidic sewer environment in the way that optical fibre sensors can.

Building upon the expertise of the research group at City in the development of specialist optical fibre sensors, the PhD student is expected to establish a custom-oriented cloud platform, both for ease of handling of big data generated from the optical fibre sensor network and for processing the data in an efficient manner, to support better sewer management and decision making.

This project will be undertaken in close collaboration with water companies both in the UK and in Australia.


The candidate should have an upper second-class BSc/BEng/MEng (or equivalent, or higher) degree in Computer Science or Electrical and Computer Engineering. They should also demonstrate aptitude for original research.

The successful candidate should be able to code comfortably in Python. In addition, candidates are preferred who possess skills in any of the following: (i) MQTT (or other lightweight IoT data transmission protocols); (ii) SQL (database operations); (iii) Cloud message brokers (cloudMQTT, HiveMQ or similar); and (iv) General experience in setting up cloud environments for data transmission/storage/visualisation would be favoured.

A doctoral candidate is expected to meet the following pre-requisites for their PhD:

  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of their research area
  • Achieve and demonstrate significant depth in at least a few chosen sub-areas relevant to their primary research area
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct independent research, including a critical assessment of their own and others’ research
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20 April 2023