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Professor Arosha Bandara

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Professor of Software Engineering at the Open University whose research addresses the practical problems associated with building and maintaining self-managing (adaptive) systems by combining rigorous formal techniques with concrete implementations and applications of those techniques. I completed my PhD at Imperial College London, UK in 2005, prior to which I worked as a senior software engineer at Sapient Corporation, USA.

During my career I have published over 80 peer-reviewed papers which include 4 that won Best Paper awards.  My teaching spans across undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, specialising in software engineering and cyber security.  I am also an investigator on externally funded research projects (totalling >£6M) and was a member of the team that won th IET Innovation Award in Cyber Security (in 2017). 

Between Jan 2018 - Mar 2021, I was Head of the OU's School of Computing & Communications.

Research interests

My research interests include:

  • Adaptive systems 
  • Analysis and refinement of policies for adaptive systems
  • Software engineering for adaptive systems
  • Adaptive security and privacy 

My research vision focusses on novel engineering approaches for adaptive software systems that allow ubiquitous digital technologies to be integrated into the ‘smart systems’ that enhance many aspects of our lives, from social interactions and education, to agriculture, health, policing and sustainable living. To be effective, these systems must be able to adapt and continue work in dynamic environments. My research ensures that the software at the heart of ‘smart systems’ can continuously satisfy dynamic requirements like performance, security, privacy and usability.

Some recent projects relevant to this research agenda include:

Teaching interests

I am interested in computer science education, and led the development of a massive open online course called Introduction to Cyber Security, which is delivered via Futurelearn. I also teach Software Engineering as part of the MSc in Computing programme.

Additionally, I have worked on studying the efficacy of visual programming approaches to teaching entry-level computer science.  I was part of the team that developed Sense, a unique ubiquitous computing experimentation kit that allows novice students to build computer programs that interact with the physical world and online information sources

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
CRC: Software Engineering and DesignGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology


Externally funded projects

Drone Identity
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Jul 201930 Jun 2020EC (European Commission): FP (inc. Horizon Europe, H2020, ERC)

This EngageKTN project is investigating forensic-readiness requirements of unmanned aerial systems, to help identify causes of safety and security related air traffic incidents. Unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) are increasingly creating challenges for managing the safety of aircraft that share the airspace with them. The collection and use of forensic data associated with drones and surrounding physical contexts is key to effective incident investigations. The research is focusing on the architecture and concept of operations for European unmanned traffic management, and the ability to preserve such vital information as evidence for forensic investigations. The team of the project include Dr. Yijun Yu (PI), Mr. Danny Barthaud (Research Software Engineer), and Prof. Bashar Nuseibeh, Prof. Blaine Price, Prof. Andrea Zisman, Prof. Arosha Bandara at The Open University, and Dr. Anthony P. Rushton, Dr. David L. Bush, and Dr. George S. Koudis at NATS. The project URL is at

Citizen Forensics
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Sep 201831 Aug 2022EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The Citizen Forensics project reframes key challenges that underlie modern policing in a socio-technical world; a world instrumented with mobile and ubiquitous computing technologies, in which many citizens and communities live, work and play, but which must also manage threats to their wellbeing and their rights. The project aims to support a new engagement between authorities (such as the police) and communities of citizens in order to better investigate (and in the long term reduce) potential or actual threats to citizen security, safety, and privacy. This includes both empowering the police by opening up new ways of citizens providing data in ways that protect privacy and anonymity, and empowering citizens by using these new technologies to also hold the police to account. We will be harnessing many of the so-called Internet of Things, Smart City and Smart Home technologies to encourage and allow citizens to help the police collect and analyse disparate data to improve public safety at both local and ultimately national levels. This multidisciplinary investigation draws upon expertise in computing, policing, psychology and organisational theory. For more information, see

SAUSE: Secure, Adaptive, Usable Software Engineering
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Apr 201831 Mar 2023EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

In the last decade, the role of software engineering has changed rapidly and radically. Globalisation and mobility of people and services, pervasive computing, and ubiquitous connectivity through the Internet have disrupted traditional software engineering boundaries and practices. People and services are no longer bound by physical locations. Computational devices are no longer bound to the devices that host them. Communication, in its broadest sense, is no longer bounded in time or place. The Software Engineering & Design (SEAD) group at the Open University (OU) is leading software engineering research in this new reality that requires a paradigm shift in the way software is developed and used. This platform grant will grow and sustain strategic, multi-disciplinary, crosscutting research activities that underpin the advances in software engineering required to build the pervasive and ubiquitous computing systems that will be tightly woven into the fabric of a complex and changing socio-technical world. In addition to sustaining and growing the SEAD group at the OU and supporting its continued collaboration with the Social Psychology research group at the University of Exeter, the SAUSE platform will also enable the group to have lasting impact across several application domains such as healthcare, aviation, policing, and sustainability. The grant will allow the team to enhance the existing partner networks in these areas and to develop impact pathways for their research, going beyond the scope and lifetime of individual research projects.

STRETCH: Socio-Technical Resilience for Enhancing Targeted Community Healthcare
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Apr 201728 Feb 2021EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The aim of this project will be to build a dynamic and resilient socio-technical system that sustains care for people with chronic illnesses in old age. Its principle novelty will be the integration of human and technical resources into a single system that will have resilient care at its heart. Resilience will mean both social resilience and technical resilience. To deliver social resilience we will explore how technology can help to harness existing social support as well as building wider social capital around older people. To deliver technical resilience we will design systems that integrate existing technological capacity in novel configurations as well as integrating new sensing / Internet of Things capability. However, the key innovation will be that the integrated socio-technical system will allow for the interchange between human assets and technological assets in the delivery of a resilient care architecture for older people. The system will not seek to replace human resource with a technology derived alternative, but to harness the capacities of all elements of the system in a way that serves the needs of the older person. Sometimes the system will respond to need through mobilising human resources, at other times the same need could be met through technological capability. In that sense, the system will have the needs of the older person at its core.