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PhD Studentship (ESRC South Coast DTP) - Cyber-risk assessment on corporate privacy data exposure, firm's short-term/long-term reputation and operations cost optimization

Southampton Business School

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £14553
Annual stipend of £14553 (2017/18 RCUK rate) plus payment of programme fees
Closing Date:   Wednesday 31 January 2018
Reference:  SCDTP890417TR

Cyber-risk assessment on corporate privacy data exposure, firm’s short-term/long-term reputation and operations cost optimization

A fully funded studentship awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) commencing in 2018/19 Academic Year.

Supervisory Team:

Dr. Tiejun Ma (Southampton Business School) (, Prof. Huifu Xu (Mathematics)

This project aims to develop a cyber-risk assessment/optimisation solution to tackle challenges of cyber data breach, the associated damage of firm’s reputation in short-term/long-term and constraints of resources available for security defense. The project will explore the latest risk assessment/management techniques suitable for such a cyber-security challenge and will integrate the state-of-the-art quantitative techniques and optimisation models together to provide new insights and answers to this global challenge with latest data analytics techniques, and risk management approaches.

Research questions:

This project aims to tackle the cyber-risk management challenges of multiple cyber-security risks enterprise firms often faced, particularly on data privacy risks with time-varying priorities. Moreover, most firms would have incomplete information about possible security risks, lack of knowledge how they should invest into their cyber security management, and with budget/resource constraints. When there is a data breach, it will not only substantially increase the company’s security operation costs but would also damage firm’s reputation in short-term and long-term.  Therefore, this project will address the research question of how to improve the cyber risk management to minimize the data exposure risk when facing multiple security risks, minimize the costs of security operation and mitigate the reputation risks simultaneously. This is essentially an intelligent data analytics challenged combined with multiple objectives optimization problem with inputs of firms’ risk attitudes, which we would hope to adopt robust risk optimisation models and advanced forecasting methods to provide suitable cyber-risk management solutions for firms with multi-dimensional requirements.

Skills required of the PhD student:

Critical thinking/risk management/data analytics/ mathematics/ communication/academic writing.


South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £14553 (2017/18 RCUK rate), plus payment of all programme fees.  Other funding available for SCDTP funded students can be found on the SCDTP website (

Funding is provided for 3 years full-time PhD study (pro-rata for part-time students).  Applications for 1+3 funding for students completing a Master's year prior to the commencement of PhD study are also welcome (details available at

Application Procedure

The full application procedure, the funding application form, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at:

For further information about this project, please contact the lead supervisor detailed above.  For questions relating to the application procedure, or for more information about the SCDTP, please visit the SCDTP website or contact us at

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position



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