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Software Engineering - Research

The Lero Graduate School in Software Engineering (LGSSE), the main education initiative of Lero - the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, offers a four-year PhD program provided jointly by the four leading Irish Universities involved in Lero (DCU, TCD, UCD and UL).

Research Focus and Agenda
Lero’s research focus is on Evolving Critical Systems (ECS). These systems change over time (“evolving”), are strategically important to their users or owners (“critical”), and are often significantly – although not necessarily exclusively – software intensive (“systems”). ECS increasingly characterises a large proportion of software systems in development and use today, from business-critical systems (such as airline websites), to safety-critical systems (such as an automotive braking control system), to product critical systems (such as the core modules of a large software product). All such systems must exhibit predictability and reliability, while operating in environments that demand flexibility in face of long term evolutionary changes and more immediate and dynamic adaptation needs.

Our research in Lero addresses this dichotomy by investigating engineering approaches for developing software that is flexible and reliable, in both its construction and its use. In a world that is increasingly populated with software intensive technologies, Lero offers a uniquely holistic research treatment of software throughout its lifetime. The historical boundary between design-time and run-time research in software engineering is blurring due to increased dynamic adaptation.

Lero’s research programme envisages that future software engineering techniques will operate seamlessly throughout design- and run-time. Lero has considerable expertise in both design-time and run-time research as demonstrated in Lero’s four research Hub Areas.
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One of Lero’s strategic goals is to work with industry partners to identify and solve industry problems, generating new SW-based products & services thus ensuring that Lero’s research is firmly connected to the real world. Without the involvement of our industry partners, we wouldn’t have the same insights into the evolving challenges of the software engineering community or the opportunity to test our ideas in live business and industry environments.

We were delighted to have the support of 29 companies for our new SFI Research Centre proposal and look forward to working with them and with others that join us in the coming years. Our industry partners are very diverse, coming from a range of sectors: telecommunications, financial services, medical devices, computer systems and natural resources. Some are large multinationals and some are small SMEs and we work with their people in many countries around the world. The Research Centre budget (2015 – 2020) of € 41 Million includes contributions from our industry partners of €13.7 Million.

In 2014, we worked with approximately 40 companies in a wide range of projects funded by Irish funding agencies (SFI, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Research Council), by European agencies (European Commission FP7, the European Space Agency) and directly by industry partners themselves.

There are many ways in which companies work with Lero, supported by a wide range of Irish and international funding programmes. Whether we are dealing with a major research challenge being addressed by an international team of collaborators or a smaller challenge being faced by a single company, Lero can bring the relevant expertise to bear.
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Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements include any of the following:

1. At least a 2.1 honours computer / engineering-related bachelors degree;

2. At least a 2.1 honours (bachelor's degree in a non-computing (preferably a numerate) related subject, together with at least five years of software-related work experience;

3. A computer / engineering-related masters degree;

4. A masters degree in another domain, together with at least five years of software-related work experience.

What are the English language requirements?

The TOEFL score required is a minimum of 550 and IELTS is 6.5. If you have a score close to this we can review your application and there is a possibility you can be accepted on the course if you attend classes in the language centre. Also if we request it you will need to provide a letter from your University informing us that you have the required english language skills.


T129/T130: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time.

Further enquiries

Lero - the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre
Tierney Building
University of Limerick

Tel: +353 61 213028
Fax: +353 61 213036
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