Dr Safak Dogan
Senior Lecturer and Programme Director, Institute for Digital Technologies
Safak is a leading international researcher and an established academic teaching professional specialised in digital media, machine intelligence, and privacy protection technologies applied in a variety of domains that matter to human lives.
Safak joined Loughborough University (LU) London as a Senior Lecturer in October 2014, a year before LU's London campus was officially inaugurated. Including his academic studies, his research, innovation, and related enterprising career spans 25+ years, which is enriched by more than a decade-long Higher Education teaching experience to date.
From start, he was involved in taking a lead role in helping to create a brand-new research, teaching, and enterprise environment, namely the Institute for Digital Technologies (IDT). As a senior member of the faculty, he also actively contributed to the general LU London setup across disciplines and institutes housed in a unique multi-disciplinary setting. He considers himself a founding member of the IDT in particular, with key involvements in the London School in general, both of which have successfully grown to become leading establishments in years.
Safak was the first Chief Programme Director of IDT for the initial years, who led the process of creating thirteen MSc programmes and their curriculum, including those needed revising and adapting based on the feedback received from the student cohort as well as by monitoring external competitors and evolving industry needs and interests. At the same time, he initiated the London School's master's level Dissertation programme development and its coordination, involving all faculty members, school-wide students, and related curriculum activities. Since then, he has co-led and managed this major activity with a colleague from another discipline at the School (2015-23).
For over two decades, Safak has engaged in both generation of research grant bids and conducting his research on those that align with his research expertise and interest areas. As such, he was the Technical Manager for several large-scale multi-national collaborative EC funded research projects that were coordinated by the team he has been a part of: CLOUDSCREENS (2014-18), ROMEO IP (2011-14), VISNET I & II NoEs (2003-09). Currently, he is the LU Principal Investigator (PI) for a five-university consortium Happier Feet research project funded by the EPSRC (2021-23) in digital health and care domain, while he was also the LU PI for the RegNet industry research project funded by the Innovate UK (2020-21), with a consortium of two universities and an SME industry partner to enable AI use in regulatory sectors. For further details on those, please see below.
Safak currently leads and teaches on the MSc modules that he has developed: Cloud Applications and Services; Digital Practices for Customer Engagement; and Digital Media Audiences and Markets taught across the IDT MSc programmes. The Cloud related module is also included in the MSc Data Science programme offered by the Computer Science department on the LU's East Midlands campus. His teaching portfolio also includes former MSc modules: Cloud Technologies and Systems; Introduction to Digital Technologies; and Mobile Networks and Clouds, as well as BSc modules: Advanced Digital Signal Processing and Media Processing.
He is the Programme Director for the following MSc programmes in LU London:
- MSc Digital Creative Media (10/2018 – Present)
- MSc Internet Technologies with Business Management (10/2016 – 09/2018)
- MSc Internet Media Clouds with Business (10/2014 – 09/2016)
- MSc Internet Technologies with Business (10/2014 – 09/2016)
Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, University of Surrey, 2013
PhD in Multimedia Communication Systems, University of Surrey, UK, 2001
MSc in Satellite Communications Engineering, University of Surrey, UK, 1996
BSc (First Class - Hons) in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, 1995
Prior to his appointment at LU London, Safak worked at the University of Surrey for thirteen years, initially as a Research Fellow (2001-08), then progressing onto a Senior Research Fellow (2008-12), and subsequently a Lecturer (2012-14).
Current research and collaborations
"Human First" is Safak's motto for positioning his research from a general perspective, where he aspires to link his approaches and activities to meaningful causes with integrity and drive to conduct his research for the benefit and positive impact for human lives.
In pursuit of this, his research has flourished and evolved into three distinct yet inter-related strands over the years: 1) Digital media processing, immersive & interactive technologies, and media quality – for better experiences to all. 2) Applied machine learning & neural networks in digital signal processing, cybersecurity reinforcement, and health data analytics – for better communications, understanding, and protection. 3) Cybersecurity/privacy protection tools & solutions applied in digital health, care, and wellbeing – for better care and privacy preservation. As such, he has been involved in several research projects and collaborations, sampled as follows.
Funded research projects
Happier Feet – Disrupting the Vicious Cycle of Healthcare Decline in Diabetic Foot Ulceration through Active Prevention: The Future of Self-Managed Care. LU Principal Investigator. Funded by EPSRC UK (EP/W00366X/1), 2021-23
RegNet – Privacy-Preserving Data Access Network for Regulated Sectors. LU Principal Investigator. Funded by Innovate UK (Application number 45079; Project number 106159), 2020-21
CLOUDSCREENS – Support of Cloud Services for Multimedia Delivery and Consumption: A Marie-Curie Initial Training Network. Technical Co-Manager. Funded by EC ICT FP7 Marie Curie programme (Grant number 608028), 2014-18
ROMEO Integrating Project – Remote Collaborative Real-Time Multimedia Experience over the Future Internet. Technical Manager. Funded by EC FP7 programme (Grant number 287896), 2011-14
VISNET I & II Network of Excellences (Networked Audiovisual Media Technologies). Technical Manager. Funded by EC IST FP6 programme (Grant numbers IST-2003-506946 & IST-1-038398), 2003-09
University of Manchester, University of Exeter, University of Strathclyde, and University of Southampton, through the Happier Feet EPSRC project
BT, Ogilvy Health, and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, through guest lectures and/or collaborative dissertation projects
Current PhD / research supervisions
Haohan Shi: Neuro-symbolic signal processing in scalable artificial intelligent systems, Loughborough University London, 10/2021 – exp. completion 09/2024 (Principal Supervisor)
Ziyu Mu: XAI for interpretability, transparency, and traceability of autonomous driving technologies, Loughborough University London, 10/2022 – exp. completion 09/2025 (Co-Supervisor)
Zohaib Shahid: Design and development of privacy preserving machine learning techniques by utilising fully homomorphic encryption, Loughborough University London, 10/2022 – exp. completion 09/2025 (Co-Supervisor)
Completed PhD / research supervisions
Dr Omattage M.H. Pathmaperuma: User activity detection using encrypted in-app data, Loughborough University London, 01/2018 – 01/2022 (Co-Supervisor)
Dr Chathura V.P. Galkandage: Perception inspired stereoscopic image and video quality assessment, University of Surrey, 07/2013 – 08/2017 (Principal Supervisor)
Dr Nasser Haddad: The effect of adding extra views and depth maps to 3D video on the perceived quality, University of Surrey, 10/2011 – 09/2015 (Co-Supervisor)
Dr Ubong Ukommi: Adaptation techniques for improved quality of wireless multimedia communications, University of Surrey, 01/2008 – 05/2013 (Co-Supervisor)
Dr Gokce Nur: Advanced adaptation techniques for improved video perception, University of Surrey, 01/2007 – 05/2011 (Co-Supervisor)
Dr Chaminda T.E.R. Hewage: Perceptual quality driven 3-D video over networks, University of Surrey, 10/2005 – 11/2008 (Co-Supervisor)
Safak also supervised a Research Associate on the RegNet research project (2020-21) at LU London and 10+ junior Research Fellows in several EC funded projects at University of Surrey (2006-14)
Areas of research expertise
- Digital media processing, immersive & interactive technologies, and media quality: Video compression, processing, communications & networking; 3D visual content quality metric building & evaluation to enhance quality of user experience; content adaptation for the needs of the prevailing context (user, environment, network, signal, device related); advanced techniques such as immersive media systems.
- Applied machine learning & neural networks in digital signal processing, cybersecurity reinforcement, and health data analytics: Deep neural networks (e.g., Generative Adversarial Networks: GANs), and/or other machine learning techniques are applied to predicting and recovering lost speech frames via intelligent voice/audio signal inpainting (where possible) over lossy communication lines or storage using historical data. Neural networks are also applied to detecting activity and recognition of users' mobile app usage patterns identifying the risk of posing a potential privacy leak, where the probability distribution of neural network's output layer is exploited to detect unknown data.
- Cybersecurity/privacy protection tools & solutions applied in digital health, care, and wellbeing: Privacy protection schemes are needed to keep user information secure while ensuring users are in full control of their data sharing. This is particularly important in health, care, and wellbeing settings, where the data is collected through a multitude of sensors, stored, processed, or communicated. Similarly, users' activities on their smartphones have potential for privacy leak if attention is not paid. This may lead to unwanted profiling of users against their consent. Hence in both settings, techniques for not only securing the data but also protecting the users' privacy should be of utmost priority.
Interests and activities
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) since 2013
Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (SMIEEE) since 2019; previously
Member of the IEEE (MIEEE) since 1999
Member of the EURASIP Technical Activities Committee – Visual Information Processing since 2018
Member and IDT representative of the LU London Enterprise Committee since 2019, and Staff Forum since 2020
External examiner for the MSc Computer Science programme at the York St John University since 2020
Both internal and external examiner at numerous PhD viva exams since 2009
Expert referee of digital technology research grant applications for UKRI and internationally since 2005, and peer reviewer for research publications in prestigious journals and international conferences since 2002
Invited member of the Technical Programme Committees of several international conferences and workshops since 2005