Professor Elhadj Benkhelifa

Professor Of Computer Science

Digital, Tech, Innovation & Business

Elhadj Benkhelifa  is passionate academic and researcher with almost 20 years of experience and demonstrable leadership skills at an international level. His research focuses on the development of solutions to support the next generation digital transformation’s technologies and paradigms.

Elhadj is currently a full Professor of Computer Science and Digital Innovations at Staffordshire University, where he is also the Head of Professoriate leading a large body of all Associate and Full Professors across the whole University with the mission to contribute, influence, shape and enable the collective advancement of the University’s strategies and develop excellence in T&L, research and enterprise. He is also a member of the University Research Ethics Committee. Elhadj is the Founding Director of the Smart Systems, AI and Cybersecurity Research Centre (SSAICS), responsible for growing the research portfolio in the Digital, Technologies and Art (DTA); leading 15 Staff and 23 PhD students the SSAICS research centre is established to be the hub for interdisciplinary research in ‘digital’ across the University. Between 2014 and 2016, he was the Director of the Mobile Fusion Applied Research Centre (MF-ARC), leading more than 18 Staff and 45 PhD students.

Prior to Joining Staffordshire University in 2010, he was lead researcher on an EPSRC project at Cranfield University, which was on biomimetic design optimisation of MEMS. Prior to that Elhadj was a lecturer at University of the West of Enlgland, UWE and University of Bristol. Under the supervision of Prof. Antony Pipe, Elhadj obtained his PhD from UWE, Bristol Robotics Lab, in Artificial-Life (Bio Inspired Evolvable and Self-Healing Systems). Between 2003 and 2004, he was a Software developer at ATE communications Ltd in Nottinghamshire, where he developed a Linux based DVR (digital video recorder)

Elhadj’s research interests cover Cloud computing in its centralised and decentralised forms (Fog/Edge computing, Cloudlet, Blockchain etc), Data (Governance, Semantics, analytics, Social Networks), Artificial Intelligence & Artificial Life (bio-inspired computing), Digital Transformation and Emerging Technologies, IoT and Cybersecurity. Elhadj has a led a number of successful consortia on a number of national and transnational projects. Interdisciplinary research is Elhadj’s current focus, applying innovative advanced computing and digital solution in areas of high impact. Elhadj supervised many PhD projects and published extensively in journals and conferences (150+). He has co-edited around 20 conference proceedings and journal special issues. Elhadj is a co-founder of some pioneering international conferences, including FMEC, SDS, IOTSMS and SNAMS, and has delivered close to 40 keynote talks around the world.

Elhadj is a reviewer of national (EPSRC) and international grant proposals. He is often invited by international institutions as an external assessor for promotions to Associate and Full Professor Ranks. Elhadj has been an external examiner of a number of PhD Vivas in the UK and outside and is currently an external examiner for computer science courses for both Under & Post Graduate levels and had acted as an external moderators of new courses from international institutions. Elhadj is a Visiting Professor to the Universities of Suffolk, UK; Lyon3, France; and Paris 8, France.

Since early days, Elhadj has been a strong advocate for open access to research, that in 2005 he co-founded IBScientific Publishing group, to enable scientists mainly from low-income countries to publish their research through open access and peer-review process.

Elhadj is a Director at Yotta Laboratories Ltd, and a co-founder of He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the West Midland Cyber Resilience Centre, and member of the Staffordshire Police Evidence Based Practice Board. In April 2022, He was elected/appointed as the Chair of the IEEE UK&I Section’s Education & STEM office. Elhadj is a Senior Member of IEEE, A Member of ACM, Fellow of UK HEA and a Prince2 Practitioner

Professional memberships and activities

  • Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Certified PRINCE2 Practitioner (APMG* and QMS** Registered) [P2R/899634]
  • Member of the Evidence based Practice, Staffordshire Police
  • Member of the Advisory Board, West Midland Cyber Resilience Centre

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, related to Bio Inspired Evolvable and Self-Healing Systems. Bristol Robotics Lab, UWE. UK
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Research Supervision, Staffordshire University, UK
  • MA in Education ‘Student Voice: dissertation based’, Staffordshire University, UK
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education, Staffordshire University, UK
  • BSc (Hons) Computer Science, University of Bristol, UK

Research interests

  • Cloud/Edge Computing
  • Bio-Inspired Computing
  • Smart Systems
  • Cybersecurity
  • Software Engineering methods
  • Data Governance
  • Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life
  • Digital Transformation
  • Semantic technologies

REF 2021

The Research Excellence Framework (often called the ‘REF’) is the system for assessing the quality of research in higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. The REF is carried out every six or seven years. The first REF took place in 2014, replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The REF assesses the activities of research-active academic staff, and it is focused on three elements:

  • outputs (publications and practice-based outputs),
  • impact (the demonstrable benefit of research to society) and;
  • environment (the structures and strategy that support research

In REF2021 I have contributed to the Engineering Unit of Assessment UoA12. In addition to the fantastic University’s overall results, 87% of outputs submitted to UoA12 was recognised as internationally excellent (3*) or world leading (4*). This is a testimony which places our research among high quality research with some important impact.

SSAICS Research Centre

Enterprise and commercial interests

Most of my research is applied, therefore my projects are usually in partnership with businesses. I have advised and supported a number of companies in the UK and abroad with solutions to address some of their challenges.

I have been involved in a number of impact driven projects, with industrial partners including (Selected):

  1. Intelligent IoT Systems for LPG leakage detection
  2. Malware Propagation in cloud and edge cloud computing
  3. Cloud based Forensic Investigation Gateway
  4. Cloud Native Microservice based Semantic Annotation solution for large scale web content
  5. Conversational AI for awareness and behavioural capture & change in cybersecurity
  6. Using semantic technologies (Knowledge Graph) for fake news detection in Social Media data.
  7. Using AI to detect the severity level of respiratory conditions (Covid-19)
  8. Virtual Infrastructure Testing as a Service
  9. Cloud based software development life cycle
  10. Capturing Security Requirement Engineering
  11. Data Fusion and analytics approach for public health data

I have co-developed four open source software, which can be found on Github


I have 16 years of experience in teaching in HE, in the UK and abroad. Over this time, I have taught different subjects in computer science for different levels, including, undergraduate, Masters and PhD levels as well as to professionals

I have also supervised 8 PhD projects to completion and currently supervising 7 more PhD students. Over the years I have supervised close to 100 Final and MSc Projects


Please check Google Scholar for list of publications

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021