To Build an Innovative Service Designed To Securely Store and Monitor Electronic Awards in a Blockchain Technology

Qualification: MPhil

Department: School of Informatics

Application deadline: Open until filled

Start date: As soon as possible


This project is a fully-funded one-year industrial MPhil in the University of Leicester's Department of Informatics.


Professor Reiko Heckel (Department of Informatics) 

Project description

Project reference: LIH0169

You will undertake applied research and development on behalf of a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) in Leicester and Leicestershire. The industrial MPhil is funded by the Leicester Innovation Hub through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) monies and the sponsorship of the SME.

In this exciting project, the partners intend to build an innovative service designed to securely store and monitor electronic awards in a blockchain technology. Ultimately, the project will give learners access to their own electronic awards so that they may share them with their appropriate peer groups and potential employers.

You will:

  • Design and build a cryptographically secure blockchain.
  • Design and build a secure API to allow awards to be sent to the blockchain.
  • Design and build a useable website which will allow learners to access their awards and to further share them.

The MPhil programme will provide you the opportunity to work full time with the SME as an MPhil student. Your input over the duration of the project can be divided into different stages:

  1. Analytical assessment and scoping out.
  2. Development of proof of concept and system.
  3. Testing the system with Exam Track Ltd.
  4. Future investigation and writing of final report.



  • The University of Leicester pays a monthly stipend of £1,166.67 in arrears to the student, totalling £14,000. The funding will be strictly limited to twelve months.
  • The SME pays the University’s one-year full-time MPhil fees upfront before the project starts.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


  • You should have a Bachelor's degree of at least a UK 2.1 in Computer Science or a cognate discipline, with a significant element of Software Engineering and Coding Practice.
  • University English language requirements apply.

Required skills

  • Research and network development, testing, and data analysis skills. 
  • Experience in modelling of software artefacts and data modelling.
  • Experience in implementing prototype systems using Java or another Object-oriented language.
  • Basic knowledge of User-centred Design (UCD) approaches.
  • Ability to build strong working relationships with core stakeholders (academics and sponsoring SME).
  • Business engagement/development skills and aptitude.
  • Effective spoken English and written skills, in order to communicate effectively.
  • You must be a self-starter who is able to work as part of a team.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Dr Stephan Reiff-Marganiec

Professor Effie Law

Leicester Innovation Hub enquiries

Jenny Hollis

How to apply

How to apply

To apply please use the Apply button at the bottom of the page.

  • In the funding section of the application, please select 'Studentship' and in the dropdown menu, select 'ERDF MPhil project'.
  • In the 'Personal Statement' section, please indicate clearly why you are interested in undertaking this research project and why you are the best candidate to help deliver the project objectives.
  • In the 'Research Proposal Section' please state: 'Applying for MPhil Project Ref: LIH0? No proposal required'.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview with the academics and the sponsoring SME. Interviews are expected to be held within 14 days of the application deadline.



To qualify for fully-funded support from the SME, you and the University of Leicester academics must fulfil all ERDF and University MPhil degree eligibility criteria.

You must:

  • Be a UK or EU (European Union) national.
  • Have graduated within the last 3 years in a related discipline.
  • Adhere to project confidentiality.
  • Assign any arising IP from the project at the outset.
  • Base your MPhil degree thesis on the research outcomes of the project.
  • Work closely with the SME company to undertake the research project.
  • Deliver monthly progress reports and a comprehensive project report to the University and sponsoring SME in addition to the MPhil thesis.

Each SME project will be delivered by one full-time MPhil student over one year; the MPhil project will have a research focus and will be supervised by two University of Leicester academics (one day a week each; academics are required to complete timesheets).