Project code



School of Computing

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded 3-year PhD.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Technology, and will be supervised by Dr Janka Chlebikova. This is a joint project with Dauphine University, Paris.

The work on this project will involve:

  • Theoretical research in the specified area, including formulation and verification of new approaches
  • An opportunity to undertake a research visit (2–4 months) in Dauphine University, Paris

The problem of anonymisation of data has received significant attention over the past decade. To find good methods to protect data privacy becomes important task attracting lots of research interest.

Graph data can be used to represent networks, e.g. social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn, but also spreading of infectious diseases. The representation is based on graphs, where vertices correspond to the entities and edges reflect relationships between entities. Since graph data in the networks may be sensitive, sharing such type of data requires the use of various anonymisation techniques.

To achieve that, the idea is to preserve significant structural properties of the networks while ensuring anonymity of its entities. It means, a simple modification of the network’s properties is allowed to create several indistinguishable entities. Several anonymisation techniques have already been explored: generalisation group’s records following certain criteria in order to hide individual records, data perturbation, or k-anonymisation where each entity is considered anonymous if it is indistinguishable from at least (k-1) others.

Some of these models were also studied from an algorithmic point of view, as anonymisation by using clustering methods. Also the computation complexity of k-anonymisation have been studied including various heuristics to modify graphs using allowed vertex/edge operations.

The purpose of the PhD is to study anonymisation models represented on graph data transformed to the problems from graph theory, mainly from an algorithmic point of view. 

This is a joint project with Dauphine University, Paris. During the PhD there is an opportunity to undertake a research visit (2–4 months) in the partner institution.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

Entry Requirements

You'll need an upper second class honours degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

  • Good background in theoretical computer science, with a specialisation in combinatorial optimisation
  • Good background in discrete mathematics, especially in graph theory

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Janka Chlebikova at to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

How to apply

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Computing PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

October start

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February start

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If you want to be considered for this self-funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code COMP4500220 when applying.