Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Continuous Authentication to Mitigate UAV Cyber Attacks

This is a doctoral Cotutelle project in ‘Continuous Authentication to Mitigate UAV Cyber Attacks’ between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (UK).

Deakin Project Supervisor

Deakin School or Institute


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom)

Research topic

This is a doctoral cotutelle project between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom). The successful PhD Student will be awarded a scholarship from Deakin University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and Coventry University. The PhD Student will graduate with two testamurs, one from Deakin University and one from Coventry University, each of which recognises that the program was carried out as part of a jointly supervised doctoral program. The program is for a duration of 4 years and scheduled to commence in 2023.

The PhD Student is anticipated to up to 12 months of the total period of the program at Coventry University, with the remainder of the program based at Deakin University.

Zero Trust Architectures (ZTAs) are built upon the notions of least privilege, granular access control and strict access control policy enforcement. UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) -based software platforms engage with UAV systems (comprising ground controllers and a central cloud) based upon specific use cases. For instance, a UAV/UAS (unmanned aircraft system) deployed to engage with remote patients and to collect/transport pathology samples would adhere to predefined rules that ascertain authentication of users to a UAV and for subsequent granting of UAV data and service access. Long term assurance of authenticity of assets to UAS and vice versa expose the system to identity-based cyber threats.

Project aim

In this project, it is intended to model cyber threats and to study their effects against the heterogeneity of UAV/UAS software and hardware architectures. Subsequently, the project would comprise the design of fail-safe authentication schemes that operate even when a UAV/UAS is disconnected from a ground controller or the cloud via definition, as well as validation and evaluation of proposed continuous authentication protocols.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Saturday 27 May 2023

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.


This scholarship is supported by Deakin University, is available over 3 years and includes:

  • Stipend of $33,500 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • Full Tuition Fee Waiver for up to 4 years
  • Funding to support travel of PhD Student between Deakin University and Coventry University

International students only:  Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry university, including:
    • English language proficiency requirements (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
    • have achieved 80% or equivalent in the research component of their previous study or an equivalent level of academic attainment, taking into account previous study, relevant work experience, research publications and other research experience
    • meet all other minimum entry requirements according to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Admission, Selection and Enrolment Procedure.
  • be enrolling full time
  • be able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia)
  • have experience in:
    • Digital Systems
    • Linux
    • Open Source Software
    • Programming Experience (Python, C/C++)
    • (Preferable) Open-source development boards e.g Raspberry pi

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page and Coventry’s research entry criteria page for further information.

How to apply

Applicants  should firstly contact Associate Professor Zubair Baig to discuss the project. After discussing your application with the Deakin Supervisor, you will be required to submit an Expression of interest directly with the relevant Faculty.


If successful, you will be invited by Deakin University to lodge a formal HDR application.

The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the 'Making an Application' page.  Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Associate Professor Zubair Baig;

Associate Professor Zubair Baig
+61 3 5227 9535