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Research centre

Centre for Defence and Security Research

Aircraft carrier lit up at night in dock

Our multi-disciplinary research responds to the breadth of defence and security requirements, delivering leading edge capability to both government and to our industrial partners.


The Centre for Defence and Security Research gathers together a wide range of expertise from across Southampton’s world-class research community.

We work across disciplines to meet complex national defence and security challenges through direct engagement with government and in collaboration with industrial partners. Our research spans digital, physical and biological systems.

Southampton is a leading academic supplier into UK defence through various research frameworks, as well as addressing security and policing requirements. Through our PhD programmes we support the training and development of future leaders in defence and security. 

Our academic staff from across the University’s faculties, schools and departments bring experience in diverse fields to bear on challenges in defence and national security. 

Particular areas of expertise include: 

  • autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning 
  • maritime, aerospace and space systems engineering 
  • sensing and communications 
  • cyber security 
  • human factors 
  • psychology 
  • defence medicine and life sciences 
  • acoustics, noise and vibration 
  • advanced materials 
  • optoelectronics 
  • mathematics and statistics 
  • operational research 

We have industry partnerships with a number of UK defence companies, including: 

  • BAE Systems 
  • Thales 
  • Airbus 
  • Rolls Royce 
  • Boeing 
  • Northrop Grumman 
  • AWE 
  • Roke 
  • QinetiQ 
  • Leonardo 

The University of Southampton is registered into many of the defence and Security supplier frameworks, including:

  • RCloud (Dstl research cloud) 
  • DASA (defence and security accelerator) 
  • Progeny (maritime research framework) 
  • ASTRID (operational research and technology futures) 
  • WSRF (weapons sector framework) 
  • CW-ITP (UK/FR complex weapons innovation and technology partnership) 
  • Serapis Lot 1 (ISTAR) 
  • DE&S Ships NDP (naval design partnering) 
  • Home Office ACE (accelerated capability environment) 

Research highlights

Expanding the use of satellite data to provide real-world benefits

The University is leading research into remote sensing to improve food security, population mapping and disaster response.

People, projects and publications


Professor Adam Sobey

Professor of Data-Centric Engineering

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Adam

Dr Claire Clarkin

Assoc Prof in Develpmtl & Skeltl Biology
Connect with Claire

Dr Erisa Karafili

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Formal Methods techniques applied to Security problemsAttributing and Investigating Cyber AttacksThreat Models for IoT devices and Hybrid systemsSecure Data Sharing/Re-UsingApplying Argumentation and Knowledge Representation for Cyber Security

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Erisa

Professor James Scanlan

Professor of Design
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Professor Joerg Fliege

Professor of Operational Research

Research interests

  • Nonlinear Optimization
  • Discrete Optimization
  • Operational Research

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Joerg

Professor Jordan Cheer BMus (Tonmeister), MSc, PhD, CEng, MIMechE, FHEA


Research interests

  • Active Noise Control
  • Active Vibration Control
  • Smart Structures for Noise and Vibration Control

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Jordan

Dr Katie Plant

Associate Professor
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Professor Philippa Reed


Research interests

  • Fatigue processes in additively manufactured high performance alloys
  • High temperature oxidation and creep fatigue processes in nickel based turbine disc and blade alloys
  • Fatigue mitigation and prediction approaches in turbine blades

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Philippa

Professor Robert Wood

Professor of Surface Engand Tribology

Research interests

  • the application of lubrication, wear and friction science
  • current and next generation critical machine components (bearings, transmissions, turbines, pumps)
  • renewable energy systems
Connect with Robert

Related research institutes, centres and groups

Related research institutes, centres and groups