May 02

PhD Opportunity: Three fully funded studentships in the domain of Internet of things and Data Science in humanitarian settings

We are pleased to announce three full-time PhD research posts in the areas of the Internet of Things/wireless sensing and data science based at Cogent Labs, Coventry University (Coventry, UK).

Cogent Labs is a world-leading applied research group at Coventry University, dedicated to analysis and development of sensing-based sociotechnical systems. It has a dual focus: robust, deployable pervasive sensing systems for real-life applications at scale; and effective packages for empowering users to maximise the benefits of those systems.

The posts are associated with the EPSRC research project – HELP-Refugee (Humanitarian Energy For Displaced Populations In Refugee Camp And Informal Settlements).

The three-year HELP-Refugee project aims to increase access to affordable, safe and sustainable energy for displaced communities throughout the world. Research into energy access, provision and demand within self-settlements and refugee camps in Africa and Asia will be used to aid future decision-making in the procurement and provision of critical energy products and services. By producing evidence-based ‘design for displacement’ protocols, we will empower humanitarian agencies with the knowledge required to develop and improve the wellbeing of inhabitants, securing intelligent energy solutions for lighting, cooking, heating, water and sanitation. More information about HELP-Refugee is available here:

Three fully-funded PhD positions are available, in complementing topics. These are:

Long-lived Networked Sensors in Real-Life Deployments (

This project will focus on investigating sensors and server failure modes in wireless networked sensor systems. You will develop both theoretical and practical solutions for preserving network life. These solutions will account for the application level data needs and the viability of the deployed network as an informational decision-enabling tool in specific real-life settings.

Data Mining for Mixed Methods Energy Datasets-Dealing with Uncertainty and Calibrating the “Human Sensor” (

The project will look at the challenges and opportunities of inferring knowledge from and/or making decisions based on diverse datasets such as those obtained from energy systems and questionnaires

Demand management and Adaptive User-Drive Energy Distribution in Renewable Micro-grids (

The aims of the proposed PhD programme are to inform the development of wireless devices and tools to support integrated community-based micro-grids and micro-generation /distribution control; map the current gaps in education and technology that make them inaccessible or difficult to apply in the context of displaced populations and refugee camps. The project will include the development of prototype micro-grid management and control systems—based around wireless sensing and actuation—which are fit for purpose in functional deployed micro-grids.

Key Details:

Eligibility: UK/EU/International students with the required entry requirements

Award Details: £15000 bursary plus tuition fees

Closing Date: 19th June 2018

Start date: September 2018

To apply please visit the relevant application webpages above.

Please feel free to circulate this email to colleagues who may be interested in this post. If you have any queries, please Prof. Elena Gaura ( or Dr. Ross Wilkins (

Apr 18

Grassroots to Global: Development from Below

Registration is now open for the conference “Grassroots to Global: Development from Below”, organised by the Global Development Research Group at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) at Coventry University. This one-day conference is open to attendance by academics, practitioners, policy-makers and others from across disciplines, focusing on development practice at grassroots level and implications for global development discourse

The second keynote at the conference will be delivered by Prof Heaven Crawley, Professor of International Migration at CTPSR, Coventry University. Prof Crawley will be speaking about her recent work on the HELP project in Rwanda, examining the provision of energy within refugee camps and informal settlements.

Apr 13

Just a Few Thieving Issues

Project member Vijay Bhopal, has published a blog ( on the deployment of Solar streetlights in rural Odisha, India. Vijay discusses how Scene was able to reduce the issue of battery theft through making the local community “champions” of individual batteries by storing them within their own homes.

Feb 23

Research methods: Sensing, Monitoring and the Internet of Things

1st Nepal National Summer School on Research methods: Sensing, Monitoring and the Internet of Things, held at Softwarica College, Nepal. 

March 28th—March 30th 2018, Softwarica College, Dillibazar, Kathmandu Nepal


Update 22/03/2018:

Registration for the summer school has now closed. The summer school received a total of 43 applications of which 34 have been registered to attend. The attendees represent 13 institutes: Cloud Himalaya, The Crazy Studio, Deerwalk Institute of Technology, DWIT, Foodmandu Pvt.Ltd, Green Cube technologies, Innovation Web Groups, IOE, Jain University, Nepal College of Information Technology, Softwarica College of IT and E-commerce, Sunway College, Yellow Nepal Pvt. Ltd.

A final agenda can be found here

We wish to thank Softwarica College of IT and E-commerce for helping to organise the event, and we look forward to meeting all attendees on March 28th.

Original post:

The Sensing, Monitoring and the Internet of Things Summer School offers the opportunity to improve your existing knowledge base or gather new skills in some of today’s most exciting scientific topics, with high relevance to both engineering and computer science disciplines. The summer school will combine lectures with hands-on tutorials covering:

1) research methods and research communication skills (written and oral communication),

2) fundamental IoT concepts and sensing applications, and,

3) practical IoT development.

The summer school aims to provide participants with a solid understanding of core research skills and IoT principles, to enable them to kick-start their research in this and related fields.

Who would benefit most from the event:

The summer school is aimed at MSc and PhD students, as well as early career lecturers and researchers from universities that have a background in engineering, computer sciences and social sciences (using experimental methods and involved with data collection).

We welcome industry participation and we encourage IT entrepreneurs to register for the event (or parts of it).

This event provides a unique opportunity of learning from experienced researchers, based at Coventry University, UK and is sponsored by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, through the HELP project ( ).

Why attend:

During the course participants will:

  • Improve core skills in written and oral communication of research
  • Present and receive feedback on their current research topics and oral presentation skills
  • Understand the latest results, trends, activities and applications in the IoT domain.
  • Gain the hands-on skills required to implement and deploy an IoT system, using TinyOS and TelosB nodes.
  • Network with established researchers and make new contracts.


The summer school is a 3-day programme held at Softwarica College, Kathmandu and will feature a mix lectures and hands on tutorials. The taught program is as follows:

Day 1—Research communication skills

The day will start with a number of ice-breaker exercises follow by lectures, and tutorials to equip participants with an expanded skill set (and associated set of tools) for written and oral communication.

Day 2 (AM)—3MT

The 3MT session is a fast paced, exciting event where participants will have just three minutes to deliver to the group a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance

Feedback will be provided on an individual basis during lunch.

Day 2 (PM)—An Introduction to IoT

This session provides an introduction to sensing technologies and IoT. The session will provide an overview of IoT technology with a particular focus on IoT’s application to the HELP project ( ). Typical Sensing and monitoring systems architectures will also be presented.

Day 3—Hands-on with TinyOS

Day 3 of the course will provide participants with practical hands-on skills in developing Internet of Things systems with TinyOS. Through a series of hands-on group-based tutorials, participants will work in groups to create and demonstrate a fully-fledged IoT system.


Feb 07

Energy Supporter Objects – The Variety of Energy Technologies and Uses in Refugee Settings

Project members, Sarah and Anna have published a blog on the ‘missing link’ in humanitarian energy access. The blog particularly focuses on energy markets, products and services in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. Details can be found at here.

Jan 22

HELP project team attend the Energy for Displaced People conference

On the 15th-16th January, members of the HELP project team (Elena, Sarah, Vijay, Anh, and Phil) attended the Global Action Towards Universal Clean Energy Access Among Displaced People and Host Communities conference in Berlin.

The conference laid the foundation for next steps in the five working areas and for raising political awareness around the important role that energy plays in humanitarian assistance. These five working areas cut across the aims of the HELP project including data and evidencing, innovative finance, policy and advocacy, and capacity building.

The conference resulted in the120 delegates agreeing to collaborate to:

  • Improve energy practice and policy in humanitarian settings. This will result in reduced energy and associated environmental pressures in host countries, and improved resilience of communities and host countries.
  • Involve displaced people and host communities in the new Global Plan of Action to reflect their priorities and needs. This will require coordinated strategies and effective communication across all stakeholders for long-term sustainable energy access.
  • Bolster finance for sustainable infrastructure investments. This will include delivering innovative financing methods for the sector.
  • Utilise the skills and capacities of displaced people and ensure they have an active role for future energy interventions. This includes creating jobs where possible.
  • Harmonise and standardise high-quality, usable data and evidence across the sector for monitoring, learning and evaluation.

Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen (Practical Action), a HELP project team member, will be leading the Data, Evidence, Monitoring and Reporting work package from this initiative. The aim of which is to develop standardised processes for collection and reporting of disaggregated data on fuel use, energy practices and costs.


Nov 27

HELP Technical Kick-off and Research methods workshop

The first Research Methods Workshop (RM Workshop) has been held in Kigali, Rwanda from 20–22 November 2017. The RM Workshop was intended to kick-off the Humanitarian Energy for Displaced Populations in Refugee Camp and Informal Settlements (HELP) project and brought together key stakeholders from the HELP Project, the Renewable Energy for Refugees (RE4R) Project and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The purpose of the workshop was to design the research methods to be used throughout the project and discuss the project plans over the coming months.


The workshop discussions resulted in: 1) aligning the HELP and RE4R projects objectives and work, 2) a selection of potential energy interventions, 3) an understanding of how sensing can be used to measure impact, and 4) a refined survey to be deployed in the refugee and IDP communities.

The output of the workshop is captured in an ‘Interactive Timeline’, produced through open brainstorming on the output of the HELP Project; including publications, timelines of the project and policy timelines. This timeline will be updated an expanded as the project progresses.

In attendance were:

Coventry University:
Dr. Elena Gaura, Dr. Ross Wilkins

Chatham House:
Mr. Owen Grafham

Practical Action:
Mrs. Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen , Mr. Paolo Mele, Mrs. Anna Okello, Mr. Edoardo Santangelo, Mrs. Denyse Umubyeyi, Mr. Phillip Sandwell, Mr. Bipin Basnet, Mr. Jean Claude Nshimiyimana, Mr. Jean Damascene

The research leading to these results has received funding from the EPSRC Global Challenges Research Fund under grant agreement n° EP/P029531/1.
| The research presented in this website has undergone ethical approval at Coventry University reference: P61091.