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PhD Research Opportunities

As the result of recent expansion of research activities, we welcome applications for doing PhD research in the areas of information systems (e.g. enterprise/strategic/Internet based information systems), human computer interaction, computer supported collaborative work, e-business, and e-learning. The list below suggests some possible topics as examples only. For more information, you can contact any member in the AIS Laboratory or Prof. Kecheng Liu .

For financial assistant see http://www.rdg.ac.uk/Studentships/

Topic 1: Requirements Engineering

Requirement elicitation, analysis and representation involve many complex and rich processes of cognition and reasoning (i.e. induction, deduction and abduction). Signs are extensively used in the linguistic and many other forms. Inclusion of organisational and human considerations will enhance those traditional approaches to information systems. Organisational semiotics and other socially informed approaches offer one a framework to construct or seek an effective method for requirement engineering.

Topic 2: Design Recovery of Legacy Systems Re-engineering

This project is a follow-up of an EPSRC funded project AMBOLS. AMBOLS focuses on requirements recovery from legacy systems, using techniques mainly based on organisational semiotics. The proposed work aims at extending the existing research to include the use of industrial standard methods (e.g. the Unified Process) in combination with organisational semiotics. Empirical case studies in industry may be used for testing and validation.

Topic 3: Support for Semiotic Approach to Information Systems Engineering

As part of the research programme of Semiotic Enterprise Design for IT Applications (SEDITA) funded by EPSRC, this project focuses on the design and implementation of an integrated environment for supporting organisational analysis, information modelling and systems engineering. The research will involve understanding and enhancing organisational semiotic methods and techniques such as problem articulation, semantic analysis and norm analysis before the design and implementation of the appropriate analytical tools.

Topic 4: Co-design of Business and IT Systems

Organisations are information systems within which information is used for decision-making and business process support. Such systems may often involve deployment of IT such as Internet technology, distributed systems and mobile computing. This project investigates how business and IT systems can be co-designed to fit one another, and to enable the IT systems evolving as the business changes.

Topic 5: Quality of E-Commerce Systems

The increasing use of e-commerce systems has called a need for measuring the quality of such systems. The proper measurement will enable the research community and industry to assess the quality, and will provide a framework of reference for design and development of e-commerce systems. The proposed PhD project will examine organisational semiotics and other approaches, such as activity analysis, business process redesign, and alignment of business and IT strategies. The comparison between theories and approaches will result a sound theoretical basis which enables to develop a framework for assessing the quality of e-commerce systems. The deliverables will include a set of factors, which map to a set of metrics for measurement.

Topic 6. Strategic Information Systems in Banking

In a banking organisation, there are normally many operational information systems to support business regarding Customer, Cheque Clearing, Sales and Marketing, Loans, Cards, Investment, General Ledger, etc. The primary users are clerks, supervisors, financial analysts and managers. A strategic information system (SIS) to be mainly used by the executives and top financial analysts should have the following features: " have access to all the systems within the backing corporation so information from those systems, after processing, can be used as input to the SIS. " have a complete coverage, covering almost all aspects in banking. " information in the SIS will be highly aggregated. " high analytical processing power, using mathematical models and business knowledge. " user friendly interface and multimedia presentation. " access to other data sources, such as financial information on the internet. Research issues involved: access to multi-databases, data modelling suitable for SIS, multimedia interface, etc. The student will be encouraged to define and alter the scope of the project, as long as the project leads to methods and software system suitable for top managers in aiding their strategic analysis and decision-making.

Topic 7. Citizen-Centric Intelligent Portal for Lifetime Healthcare

A lifetime healthcare will improve citizens' health quality. An effective management of citizens' lifetime healthcare, as an information intensive system, involves different stakeholders, such as citizens, medical and healthcare professionals, and administrative staff. The information required by these stakeholders can be extracted from specialist databases that are local to the users, as well as commonly shared central data sources. With the presence of the Internet, the citizens' lifetime healthcare can be aided through a Citizen-Centric Portal approach. A portal is a personalised gateway to provide ubiquitous access to information. No such a system is available that allows citizens, as well as healthcare professionals, to view information and perform "self-service", although there are separate information systems for medical and healthcare professionals. These special purpose systems, e.g. GP, hospital and healthcare, are often not integrated. With only these legacy systems, it is difficult to provide a holist picture of a citizen's health and meet the modern needs of the citizens.

The technical approach adopted in the research will be a citizen-centric information portal to enable collection, storage, processing and usage of information in a collaborative manner throughout the citizens' lifetime. The portal provides information according to different types of requirements. For instance, a citizen can have access to his/her medical records, appointments with the GP or hospital, general medical knowledge by personal interests, teaching oneself to prevent being affected by viruses, and also training on physical exercise through a single gateway. A GP can access to historical data of the patients, calendar for patients' appointments, communication with consultants, the patient medical records (including treatment, progress monitoring, diagnosis, and feedback). The same principles are applied to consultants and administrative staff. The portal will support their day-to-day activities and information they need. Possible theory and technologies relevant for this project will be, for example, semiotics, process modelling, and intelligent agent-based systems.

On-going and completed PhD projects

This will give you an idea of our research expertise and interests, so you can pick up a new project along this line or build up yours on a completed one for further extension. "Strategic Information Infrastructure", "Agent-Based Systems for E-Commerce" (completed 2002), "EDI design and application using Normbase" (completed 1998), "Knowledge Sharing Between Information Systems" (completed 2000), "Mobile Intelligent in Electronic Commerce" (completed 2001), "Capturing Temporal and Intentional Information In Information Systems", "Enabling Transition for Requirements Description to Specification through Integration of PAM and SSM", "Normative Approach to Information Systems Modelling", "Facilitating learning in knowledge intensive organisations", "An OO approach to systems migration", "Mobile communication for e-commerce", "Specification of Multiple Complex Systems using an Interface-centric Communicative Paradigm", "Requirements engineering for ASP", "Process modelling in Police Organisations", "Semiotics and agents for E-Business", "Distributed multimedia systems engineering".

Funding bodies

ORS: http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/ors/
EPSRC: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/
British Council: http://www.britcoun.org/ (continue to type in "USA", "China", "Spain", etc. for a specific region)

Apply for a PhD

Go to our IRC site for background information and application form. To speed up the process, we recommend when you fill in your application form you indicate "Computer Science Department, the AIS Laboratory".

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