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Individual Research

School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews

Individual Research Component (IRC)

The main part of the EngD is a body of research, the Individual Research Component (IRC). Each RE has an Academic Supervisor and an Industry Supervisor, who, between them, work for the benefit of the RE. During the RE, the IRC undertakes activities of original research work, with the intention of producing novel solutions or results. The activities in the IRC are arranged as a set of Individual Research Projects (IRPs), each IRP being designed, managed and executed by the RE, under the supervision of the Industrial Supervisor and the Academic Supervisor. Effectively, each IRP, and the IRC as a whole, is a period of collaborative research between the RE, Industrial Supervisor and Academic Supervisor.

Industry Sponsor and Industrial Supervisor

The Industry Sponsor is the organisation or company that is the host for the RE, and provides funding for the RE during the EngD programme (though payments of the stipend are made from the University directly to the RE). The RE will typically spend much of the time during the IRC at the site of the Industry Sponsor, but this is very flexible and depends on the nature of the IRPs that make up the IRC and the type of research being undertaken. For example, it is quite possible that for some IRPs, the RE spends more time at the site of the Industry Sponsor, and for some IRPs, the RE spends more time at the University.

The Industrial Supervisor is the mentor and contact person appointed by the Industry Sponsor for the benefit of the RE. The Industry Supervisor will typically hold an EngD or PhD, or will have other mature research experience, with an established research track record. The Industry Supervisor will typically be based at the same site as the RE is hosted, and where the IRPs work is conducted.

Academic Supervisors

The Academic Supervisor will act as the mentor and contact person for the RE when the RE is at the University.

A list of research active academic staff, with links to their research profiles are and a set of keywords for their research interests are ready to act as Academic Supervisors.

Collaboration is key

Throughout the IRC, there will be close collaboration between the RE, Industrial Supervisor and Academic Supervisor. The RE will be responsible for coordinating activities between the Industrial Supervisor and Academic Supervisor, including setting up meetings, and producing documentation at appropriate times as the IRC progresses.

Individual Research Project (IRP)

The IRC is made up of a set of Individual Research Projects (IRPs). Each IRP should be carefully defined, with appropriate problems statements, research question(s), goals/objectives, design, execution, evaluation and critical analyses. The RE will be responsible for producing a suitable document set during the course of each IRP. Each RE will typically undertake 5-6 IRPs over the 4-year programme. However, it may be possible, depending on the nature of the work and the requirements of the Industry Sponsor, for the IRC to be undertaken much as a PhD research activity. This will be determined and approved on a case-by-case basis for each RE.


The final output of the IRC is a dissertation. This will typically be a portfolio dissertation, documenting the research conducted in the IRPs. However, it might also be a monograph, much in the nature of a PhD dissertation: this depends on the nature of the research, as explained above.