Robust Video Tracking in Difficult Environments


The project is to contribute to a major Ministry of Defence (MOD) research programme intended to develop generation after next technologies for applications in defence and security, and this project will be co-funded by Thales.

The project will be concerned with developing automated tracking systems for airborne objects in challenging environments. The project will allow the student to acquire expertise in image processing, sensing with electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) cameras, video tracking, and sensor data fusion.

 The main objectives of this project are: 

  • Development of algorithms for tracking a moving airborne object, handing tracking from one sensor to another and allowing rapid reacquisition of dropped tracks.
  • Methods developed should be able to cope with practical constraints, such as the impact of motion and latency between physically separated sensors.
  • Evaluation of tracking algorithms that include sensor distortions, weather effects, sensor misalignments, and lost or corrupted data streams with missing pixels.
  • Investigation of the feasibility of object classification from the extracted track information.

The plan is to recruit a PhD candidate to undertake this project and be part of a new MOD/EPSRC Energy Transfer Technology Skills and Training (S&T) Hub. The main aim of the S&T Hub is to train the next generation of leaders in energy transfer technologies relevant for defence and other related applications. The Hub is supported by MOD, Dstl, and UK companies working in the defence and security sector. 

Each student funded by the Hub will have an industrial partner and have opportunities to work with and train alongside experts from industry. The Hub offers individual’s training for both a research and an industrial career path.

The student will be based at the University of Liverpool but will be part of cohort of 12 PhD students across a number of UK institutions. The Skills and Training Hub will run online and face-to-face activities to facilitate cohort building and group learning exercises throughout the PhD programme. The duration of the PhD is 4 years, and the start date is 1st October 2023.

The PhD student will be physically located in Signal Processing at the University of Liverpool, which is a research community - a large, social and creative research group that works together solving tough research problems. The group leads an existing EPSRC CDT in Distributed Algorithms and has very strong connections to UK industry and UK government research programmes.

The industrial partner, Thales, is a major international company operating in the Digital Identity and Security, Defence and Security, Aeronautics, Space and Ground Transportation sectors. Globally, it employs over 7700 employees, has a footprint in 68 countries and achieved sales of > €17bn in 2022.


PhD Candidates must hold a minimum of an upper Second Class UK Honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant science or engineering discipline.

Candidates must be UK Nationals and be willing to apply for and able to obtain Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance.


Open to UK applicants

Funding information

Funded studentship

Funding Notes (max 100 words):

This is a MOD/EPSTC Energy Transfer Technology Skills and Training Hub project. The duration of the PhD is 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees and a stipend set at the UKRI rate (£18,622 in 2023/2024), and funds will be available for conference attendance and training, for students to travel to industrial partners and to do longer placements with the industrial partner. The funding is for home students and applicants must be UK Nationals.