To complete a core system beta with the objective to obtain an integrated system that offers SME market an affordable, superior offer for website and digital platform development

Qualification: MPhil

Department: Informatics

Application deadline: Open until filled

Start date: As soon as possible


This project is a fully-funded one-year industrial MPhil available from the University of Leicester (Department of Engineering) to undertake applied research and development on behalf of a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) in Leicester and Leicestershire. The company is a digital agency. The Industrial MPhil research will complete a core system beta with the objective to obtain an integrated system that offers SME market an affordable, superior offer for website and digital platform development. The industrial MPhil is funded by the Leicester Innovation Hub (through European Regional Development Fund monies), and the sponsoring SME.


Dr Stephan Reiff-Marganiec (Department of Informatics)

Project reference: LIH099

Project background

PDC is a digital agency that has been trading since 1999 and generates revenue by developing bespoke marketing websites & digital platforms. Typical customers are agencies looking for subcontractors and large companies who have the budget to afford bespoke design work. Many of PDC's customers work in R&D & several are active in the low carbon vehicles sector.

Project goals

The project will consist in 'the development of a core system beta', for example:

  • Development of core integration and configuration management platform.
  • Migration of initial existing components in line with recommendations from D9, developing a methodology and internal standards for migration and component development.
  • Integration Testing of Core System Beta ensuring that functionality works as expected, fixing immediate issues as needed.
  • The successful completion of this R&D research project will provide the company an affordable, superior alternative by automating 

    and 'modularising' their digital products and reducing the need for costly bespoke work.



  • 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 must have a Bachelor's degree of at least a UK 2:1 in computer science or a related discipline.
  • You must have experience in software programming, especially web applications.
  • University English language requirements apply.

Required skills

  • Skills in programming languages (PHP, Python and Java) are essential
  • Data analysis skills and statistical skills
  • Software testing
  • Software System Design
  • Research and network development
  • Ability to build strong working relationships with core stakeholders (for example academics, sponsoring SME)
  • Business engagement/development skills and aptitude
  • Effective English oral and written skills in order to communicate effectively
  • You must be a a self-starter who is able to work as part of a team

Desirable skills

  • Desirable: Experience of component based software or Software Product Lines

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Dr Stephan Reiff-Marganiec

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: LIH099 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.



The Leicester Innovation Hub is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 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).