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Electronic & Electrical Engineering Research studentships

Fully-funded postgraduate research opportunities

PhD Studentships in EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind & Marine Energy

Ten four-year PhD studentships for entry October 2017 are on offer within the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind & Marine Energy.

This Centre will help the UK meet its ambitious renewable energy targets and through support from its key UK and global business and industry partners, develop the new generation of high-skilled professionals needed to lead the vibrant renewable energy sector. It is a partnership between Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities.

PhD High-Density Configurable Automotive Charging and Energy Storage Converter

Vehicle electrification is increasing rapidly. Mainstream automotive, motorsport, and off-highway vehicles are moving towards electric vehicles (EV) for a variety of environmental, legislative and performance driven reasons. The rise of electric vehicles, and new applications such as autonomous vehicles, are creating new power electronics related challenges.

The purpose of this project is to investigate the practicality of designing a single power electronic converter that demonstrates state-of-the-art power density alongside multi-source input capability and bi-directional power flow. This project will focus on the power electronics related improvements required to meet EV charging standards worldwide. Challenges include high-power rapid-charging, bi-directional power flow for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) functionality, and packaging and cost challenges inherent to on-vehicle electric technologies. These challenges, although primarily associated with automotive applications, are equally relevant across the power electronics industry, including emerging markets such as more-electric aircraft, renewable powertrains and DC SMART grids.

EVs have the potential to be significantly cheaper to purchase and run than traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and this will drive sector growth and enable new products to develop. The barriers to entry into the established automotive sector have significantly reduced and new entrants ranging from those developed by Apple & Google, through to those from new companies buoyed by the success of Tesla and BYD, are showing interest. This is a very exciting time to be involved in this evolving industry.

Supply Design Ltd (SDL) is a specialist power electronics company developing high-performance power technology for emerging more-electric industries such as Wave Energy, Aviation and Automotive. SDL has spent several years developing its own 3-phase AC to DC conversion technology. The system includes galvanic isolation, is highly efficient, provides a high power density and is entirely micro-processor controlled. There is significant interest in the technology from the automotive industry at the tier 1 level to increase efficiency and save weight. While the basic conversion strategy is native 3-phase, possibilities exist to extend operation to include reduced power single-phase compatibility. Likewise, bi-directional operation is also possible with some modification. The starting point will be SDL’s existing intellectual property (IP) but will not be limited to this.

Fees & stipend

  • For UK/EU candidates, the studentship covers tuition fees and provides a stipend at the EPSRC rate of £14,553 (tax free) per annum, which rises annually in line with inflation.
  • International candidates are eligible for a fees-only studentship.  

Candidates

Candidates must hold a 1st class BEng honours degree or MSc with Distinction, in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, Physics, or a related and relevant mathematical/computational degree, and/or must have appropriate industrial experience to demonstrate their ability to carry out high-quality independent research. They should be able to demonstrate an interest in learning and applying skills related to power electronics, DSP, control and simulation.

How to apply

This PhD will commence on 1st October 2017. Email a copy of your CV and a covering letter highlighting your interests and suitability for the project to Dr Neville McNeill at neville.mcneill@strath.ac.uk.

The application deadline is 30th June 2017.

PhD Development of a new branch of power systems metrology, to support the quantification of ancillary service provision such as power quality improvement and provision of inertia

Applications are invited for this exciting 4-year PhD position offered in partnership between the University of Strathclyde and The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Teddington, London

The position will be primarily based at the Technology and Innovation Centre, George Street, Glasgow, but the successful candidate will also become part of the new “Postgraduate Institute” at NPL, and be co-supervised by NPL.

The control loops of typical converters used in renewables mean that they essentially behave as controlled current sources – they aim to produce sinusoidal balanced currents that feed into the national electricity grid. However, loads (and some of the renewable devices) which are connected to the grid often demand unbalanced currents, and currents which contain high levels of harmonics because they are non-linear, and contain power electronic circuits. This creates a mismatch. At present, the remaining synchronous generators and linear loads are the dominant devices which are maintaining the power quality of the electrical network.

Every year, more synchronous generators are retired as coal power stations are taken off-line, and replaced with renewable sources like wind and solar. Likewise linear loads like heaters and incandescent bulbs are being replaced by non-linear devices like induction cookers and non-linear fluorescent and LED lighting. Not only is power quality therefore under threat, but also the system inertia is reducing as the rotating generators are retired.

It is possible to reprogram converters to provide power-quality mitigation services, and also to provide inertial support. However, for a manufacturer or operator to be persuaded to do this, would probably require a visible and tangible benefit to be realised, in the form of a realisable financial revenue. Likewise, any synchronous generator connected to the grid, really ought to receive a quantifiable financial revenue for the power quality and inertial services provided. The whole problem area actually goes beyond the concepts of power quality and inertia, and encompasses a fundamental stability issue, whereby if not enough of the installed capacity of generators are behaving in a “grid friendly” manner, the entire network can very quickly become completely unstable.

To enable financial payments to be made to “grid friendly” devices, the “grid friendly” operation has to be quantified in some way, and metered over finite time intervals. This goes way beyond a simple metering of kWh and kVAR. There is an initial challenge to even define new measurands and units, which could be used to quantify “grid friendliness”. For example, would be the measurands, and what would their units be, to quantify the “mopping up” of voltage harmonics on the grid? The same question can be asked for unbalance, and for the determination of real-time provision of inertia and voltage stability.

Once the measurands and units have been proposed, the next challenge is to determine practical and realisable methods to carry out the measurements in real-time. What algorithms, filters, and processing is required? What special transducer requirements are there? What accuracy can be achieved? How would a metering device be calibrated and tested for conformity? Most of the above questions are entirely technical, but the project will also include a financial and market aspect. How would a value be placed on these measurands and the service they represent, in the context of modern privatised electricity markets, for example?

The 42-month PhD position is open to UK and eligible EU applicants only. To be eligible, the candidates must adhere to the following regulations:

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students.
  • EU students are only eligible for the RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD. If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

The position is fully-funded for EU and UK nationals, with an annual stipend of ~£14,296 (tax free), rising annually with inflation. For non-EU students, the candidate will need to supply additional tuition fee funding of ~£13000 per annum for 4 years. It is available to start immediately or up until October 2017.

Candidates must hold a 1st class honours degree or MSc with Distinction, in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, Physics, or a related and relevant mathematical/computational degree. They should be able to demonstrate an interest in learning and applying skills related to power networks, power quality, power system measurements, digital signal processing, power-converter control strategies, and power system markets for ancillary services.

How to apply

We are seeking a high quality student for this position now.

Email a copy of your CV and a covering letter highlighting your interests and suitability for the project to Dr Andrew Roscoe at andrew.j.roscoe@strath.ac.uk.

Submission deadline is 2 May 2017.

Student eligibility

Candidates are required to hold a 1st class honours degree or MSc with Distinction, in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, Physics, or a related and relevant mathematical/computational degree, and/or appropriate industrial experience to demonstrate their ability to carry out high-quality independent research.

To be eligible for this scheme the prospective student must show a relevant connection with the UK, usually established by residence (see below for details). The student must also have a relevant 1st-class or upper-second-class first degree in a relevant discipline.

Eligibility for RCUK studentships:

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Deadline

At this time applications are invited before 1st May 2017. This PhD is available for entry immediately, and we are seeking a high quality student for this position now. Potential applicants are invited to send their CV and a covering letter highlighting their interests and suitability for the project to Dr. Andrew Roscoe at andrew.j.roscoe@strath.ac.uk.

PhD Early Detection of low-level sub-and-supra-harmonic oscillations in electrical power networks due to the interactions of converter-connected power sources

Applications are invited for this exciting EPSRC industrial CASE studentship co-supervised by the University of Strathclyde and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL)

The control loops of typical converters used in renewables can interact during high-penetration and/or weak grid conditions to establish sub-and-super-synchronous power oscillations in the power network leading to blackout. These convertors and other grid sources/loads form a dynamic system which is of such complexity that it is impossible to fully model the whole network at the required fidelity to exactly predict problems.

To deal this in the real world, a measurement-based warning of impending stability issues needs to be developed, with enough time and confidence to enable mitigating action to be taken. The difficulty is that the oscillations may appear at almost indistinguishable levels, but then rise rapidly as devices move into mutually unstable states. To be useful, the detection must be during the early stage when the signature is extremely faint.

The project’s focus is on countries expected within 15-20 years to make up more than 50% of their total power sources from converter-based renewables covering the national electricity demand for at least one hour a year. The urgency increases as penetration increases beyond 50% and moves towards 100%. The greatest urgency of all is for countries which will see 100% in the near future. By 2025, 8 countries are expected to reach this.

Early warning signals for instabilities in multi-dimensional dynamic systems are highly appropriate and will form an original contribution coupled with a metrological approach to applied industrial measurements. It uses the principles of traceability and uncertainty calculation to distil often vast quantities of data into real-time parameters with an associated probabilistic confidence level. The project also allows an exploration of emerging AI techniques such as anomaly detection and classifiers.

The 42-month PhD position is open to UK & eligible EU applicants only.

To be eligible, the candidates must adhere to the following regulations:

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students.
  • EU students are only eligible for the RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD. If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode. 
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend. 

As an EPSRC industrial CASE studentship ,the position will provide an annual stipend of £14,296 (tax free), rises annually with inflation. It is available to start immediately or up until October 2017.

Candidates must hold a 1st class honours degree or MSc with Distinction, in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, Physics, or a related and relevant mathematical/computational degree, and/or appropriate industrial experience to demonstrate their ability to carry out high-quality independent research. They should be able to demonstrate an interest in learning and applying skills related to power networks, power quality, power system measurements, digital signal processing, classification and AI techniques, and power-converter control strategies.

How to apply

This PhD is available for entry immediately, and we are seeking a high quality student for this position now. Email a copy of your CV and a covering letter highlighting your interests and suitability for the project to Dr Andrew Roscoe at andrew.j.roscoe@strath.ac.uk. Submission deadline is 2nd May 2017.
PhD Plasma closing switches for pulsed power applications: plasma multi-channelling in environmentally friendly gases

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD position to work on an exciting project within the power sector. Plasma closing switching is a critical part of high voltage pulsed power systems. Such systems are used in multiple practical applications including the generation of high power impulses for acceleration of particle beams, for the development of powerful UHF signals, for hydrogen power generation and for a range of environmental technological processes.

In order to optimise and to expand practical applications of the pulsed power systems, it is important to develop plasma switches with minimum inductance and a low (nanosecond and sub-nanosecond) variation in time to breakdown.  To achieve the required operational parameters, multi-channelling plasma closing switches with higher energy transfer through multiple plasma channels can be used. Such plasma switches will have lower electrode erosion rates and higher operational power which will help to achieve advanced operational performance and to expand their practical applications. Another important aspect which will be investigated in this PhD project is the use of environmentally friendly gases in the plasma closing switches due to tightened environmental regulations.

This project will be conducted within the High Voltage Technologies (HVT) Research Group of the Department’s Institute for Energy & Environment.  HVT is the UK’s leading group in the field of pulsed power, plasma switching and pulsed power technologies. A multi-disciplinary group, it currently consists of 9 members of academic and teaching staff, 4 Research Assistants and 30 PhD students.  The group has modern research facilities and provides a stimulating and supportive environment within which to undertake PhD study.  

The 42-month PhD position is open to UK & EU applicants only.  To be eligible, EU applicants must have been living in the UK for the last 3 years. The position is fully funded, covering tuition fees and a generous annual stipend.

Applicants should have a First or Second class Honours degree (minimum 2.1) or an MSc degree in Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, or a related area. They should be able to demonstrate an interest in one or more of the following areas:

  • High Voltage Engineering
  • Pulsed Power Technology
  • Gas-filled Plasma Closing Switches

The research programme will include both experimental work and computational analysis of transient electrical processes in the pulsed power systems. Applicants are expected to demonstrate enthusiasm, resourcefulness and a mature approach in learning and postgraduate study.

How to apply

Email a full CV, your academic transcript, two references and covering letter outlining your suitability and desire to pursue the position to Ms Maureen Cooper at the HVT Research Group: m.cooper@strath.ac.uk.  

PhD Studentships in EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Power Networks & Smart Grids

Eleven four-year PhD studentships for entry October 2017 are on offer within the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Power Networks & Smart Grids.

This Centre delivers a unique training and research programme, designed to produce highly-skilled engineers who will help realise the future low carbon smart grid. It was established by Strathclyde University and Imperial College, London.

PhD Nuclear Reactor Data Analytics: Improving the understanding of the existing and future health of the graphite cores in the UK

The nuclear power stations in the UK are reaching the latter stages of their operational lifetimes. As the reactors age, there is an increasing need to gather and process condition monitoring data which provides an indication of both current and future health of the reactor cores. A key indicator of the health of the power plant is the state of the graphite bricks that comprise the reactor cores.  In the older stations, these components have entered a phase known as stress reversal, which may lead to the formation of new types of defect within the core.

This PhD position will sit alongside existing research funded by EDF Energy examining both online condition monitoring data and offline inspection data to provide automated decision support.  The field of study will be the application of machine learning and data analytic techniques from data gathered from multiple different sources from operational nuclear plants within the UK, supplemented by relevant engineering knowledge, to improve the understanding of the existing and future health of the graphite cores in the UK. 

This position is part-funded by EDF Energy and will require the student to interface both with the academic team at Strathclyde, but also with EDF Energy engineers from the engineering centre at Barnwood and from the AGR stations around the UK.

The position is open to UK and EU applicants only.  It is a 36-month PhD studentship, which will provide full tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,296.

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours (minimum 2.1) in electrical engineering, computer science, applied physics, or a related area. You will have an interest in one or more of the following areas:

  • Condition Monitoring
  • Diagnostic Prognostics systems for engineering applications
  • Data analytics/machine learning techniques for engineering applications
Enthusiasm, creativity, resourcefulness with a mature approach to learning are essential, as will be your ability to work with others as part of a team, engaging with a range of stakeholders from industry to academia.

How to apply

Email a full CV and covering letter outlining your suitability and desire to pursue the position to Dr Graeme West graeme.west@strath.ac.uk.  For any additional enquiries, or further information please contact Dr West on +44 (0) 141 548 3542.

PhD Novel biomimetic acoustic sensors inspired by insect hearing

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD position to work on an exciting inter-disciplinary project. The project aims to investigate the hearing organs of various insects, and use this biological knowledge to inspire the development of novel acoustic sensors with biomimetic properties. 

The focus of this project is the development of new micro-scale acoustic sensors, which is a growing area of research that seeks to produce innovative designs for use in a huge variety of applications including mobile phones, and portable and wearable computing. This engineering development and innovation will take inspiration from the micro-sized hearing organs found in many insects. A large number of insect ears are known to have interesting properties currently not exploited in industrial or commercial sensor products. Such properties will then expand and enhance the function of artificial acoustic sensors. 

The project will involve working in an inter-disciplinary team, combining experimental and theoretical investigations of different insect ears with the development of new artificial acoustic sensors. Each student will focus on a specific aspect of the project, relating to their own degree experience (i.e. from biology, engineering, physics, mathematics). However, this project will allow the PhD student to gain training and experience in the tools and techniques used in the other disciplines, extending their skill set and experience base. 

The tools and techniques to be utilised within the project include the very latest equipment to undertake microscopy, vibrational measurements, and design and create new sensors. The project team also includes several postdoctoral research staff with high levels of experience in this area, who will provide help to the PhD student. Finally, there will be lots of opportunities for all students to travel internationally, both to conferences and to visit other laboratories.

This project is open to UK and EU applicants only. It is fully funded, covering tuition fees and offering an annual tax-fee stipend of £14,200.

Applicants should have a first or second class Honours degree (minimum 2.1) or an MSc degree in an engineering, biology, physics, mathematics or related discipline. They must be able to demonstrate enthusiasm, resourcefulness and a mature approach in learning.

The successful candidate will be based within the department’s Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE).

How to apply

Initial enquiries and expressions of interest should be directed to the project’s academic supervisor, Dr James Windmill james.windmill@strath.ac.uk

Complete an online application, providing supporting documentation (degree qualifications, two academic references and a CV).

EngD New concepts for compact LIDAR systems with Thales UK

LIDAR (Light Detection & Ranging) systems are emerging as critical elements for sensors in applications as diverse as autonomous vehicles to wind turbine management. Novel technology approaches are needed to create systems to deliver substantial improvements in performance, size, weight, power and cost, leading to new applications. Research and engineering of LIDAR systems can be very rewarding, due to its many facets, encompassing signal processing, lasers, optics, electronics, and modelling.

This 4 year EngD project is offered by the Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics, in partnership with Thales UK.

The project aims to research the next generation of LIDAR systems. Starting from a survey of the state-of-the-art, the project will identify key areas of investigation, with particular emphasis in real areas of interest to Thales in markets such as defence, security, space and energy. The researcher will create system models to predict the performance and then design, build and test a real system in the lab and conduct field trials. Novel application of signal processing techniques, such as clutter suppression, point cloud classification, tracking and geo-referenceing will be developed. Opportunities to work with a number of groups in Thales both in the UK and France will be provided.

The EngD programme is open to UK and EU applicants only. It is not available to non-EU nationals, as the structure of the programme (with work placements outwith the university) does not comply with the regulations set by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for obtaining the necessary visa.

Applicants should have a Physics/ Electronics degree background, preferably with some knowledge of signal processing or lasers (eg final year project).

EPSRC Funding is available as follows:

  • For UK nationals, full funding of fees and stipend is provided.
  • For non-UK nationals of European Union countries:
    • In general, only fees are paid, however for a small number of exceptional candidates, stipends may also be available for some projects.  
    • Full fees and stipend may also be available for candidates who meet the EPSRC criteria for having recently resided in the UK

How to apply

Expressions of interest and enquiries should be directed to the project’s academic supervisor, Professor Stephen Marshall, stephen.marshall@strath.ac.uk.

Complete an online application form, submitting your CV and all supporting documents, and under planned programme of study, select the option Applied Photonics EngD. An initial review will be conducted, with successful candidates invited for academic and sponsor interviews.

EngD Photonic sensors for future power grid applications

The electricity transmission and distribution networks are undergoing significant transformation because of the massive deployment of renewable energy sources, disrupting the conventional ways the networks are protected, controlled and maintained. While grid reinforcement will be essential to cope with these new demands, a “smarter” way of dealing with the problem will be to combine grid reinforcement with methods to increase network visibility that can be used to introduce novel, more advanced power system control and protection methodologies.

This EngD project aims to develop new photonic sensors and interrogation platforms based on the generic technologies owned by Synaptec – a spin-out company from the Department. In the area of sensor development, the project will focus on contactless voltage and current sensors based on hybrid, fibre Bragg grating (FBG)/piezoelectric transducers that can be integrated with power cables, splices or connectors. Furthermore, the project will propose and demonstrate FBG based dc voltage and current sensors and will propose and investigate methods to meet stringent metrological standards. In the area of photonic sensor interrogation, the project will focus on the development of reliable techniques for high-performance interrogation of a large number of FBG based sensors over extended distances, including, among other things, the investigation of interferometric interrogation platforms integrated onto a photonic chip, aspects of redundancy within the photonic networks, and photonic signal amplification for long-reach applications. The general goal will be to push the boundaries of these technologies by addressing a range of engineering problems to ensure wider industry acceptance.

The project will be carried out in close collaboration with Strathclyde and Synaptec’s R&D teams and will offer an outstanding opportunity for the EngD student to engage with the major power system operators and equipment manufacturers.

The project is open to UK and EU applicants only. It will provide full tuition fees and a stipend of around £19,121 p.a.

Applicants should hold a first or second class Honours degree (minimum 2.1) or MSc with Distinction in Electrical/Electronic/Mechanical Engineering, or Physics. Exposure to photonics and mechanical engineering as part of the undergraduate or postgraduate curriculum of the candidate would be of benefit to the project.

How to apply

This EngD project is available for entry from January 2017. Potential applicants are invited to email their CV and a covering letter highlighting their interests and suitability for the project to Dr Pawel Niewczas, p.niewczas@strath.ac.uk

Industrial PhDs with Raytheon System Ltd UK

Three fully funded industrial PhD research opportunities in partnership with Raytheon System Ltd UK are available in Aero-Electrical Power Systems within the department's Institute for Energy & Environment.

MEA Control Strategies

This post will involve integrated modelling and simulation of advanced power electronic conversion technologies and subsystems within a larger power system model of a More Electric Aircraft to explore and investigate the use of real-time situmation as a tool to de-risk the development of advanced system-level and subsystem-level control systems.  Qualification of any control system for use on aircraft is often safety-critical and therefore the design methodologies employed require a great deal of thought and testing.  This research will establish what techniques can take a design through to an air-worthy product as efficently as possible through the use of modelling and appropriate testing. 

MEA Power Electronics

Commercial airframers are adopting the More Electric Aircraft concept for the design of future aircraft to improve their operating efficiency and overall fuel burn. These systems will consume significantly greater levels of electrical power than current generation aircraft. This post will involve the investigation of state of the art power electronic conversion technologies suitable for MEA applications to explore and develop novel techniques for maximising power density. This research will aim to make commercial aircraft power systems lighter, safer, more efficient and cost effective.

MEA Thermal Systems for Power Electronics

Electrical power distribution systems on future More Electric Aircraft will integrate a significant number of power electronic conversion subsystems. Although very efficient, these power electronic converters still generate heat that must be dissipated. This post will investigate the state of the art in packaging and thermal management of power electronic converters targeting aviation. The research will look at new emerging materials and how to manufacture required shapes to miniaturise Power Converters for use in aircraft. Advanced cooling systems will be explored that are capable of dissipating 100's to 1,000's of watts whilst meeting the size and weight constraints associated with aviation product design.

The studentships are postgraduate full time appointments only. High calibre candidates with MATLAB or equivalent software experience and a strong interest in electrical power systems and power electronics design are sought with a background in electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, computer science, mechanical engineering or related disciplines.

Successful candidates will be joining a thriving and growing team of vibrant PhD students and leading postdoctoral experts in advanced aerospace electrical systems. Guidance will be provided from a dedicated and experienced academic team within the Department, and in particular from the Institute for Energy & Environment, as well as industrial mentorship from expert engineers from Raytheon UK.

Funding is open to UK and EU students only. It will cover full tuition fees and provide a stipend in line with UKRC rates.

How to apply

These posts are available for immediate start. Potential applicants are invited to email a detailed CV with contact information for two academic referees, and a covering letter highlighting their interests and suitability for the posts to Dr Stuart Galloway, stuart.galloway@strath.ac.uk

PhD Miniaturised 3D biomedical imaging: Development of light-sheet microscopes based on MEMS micro-optics

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD position to work on an exciting project within the biomedical domain. The aim of the project is the development of novel cost-effective, miniaturised biomedical imaging systems using MEMS technology. The miniaturisation of selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) is targeted for this. SPIM allows real-time 3D imaging of samples from cell scale to full model systems using rapid optical sectioning and real-time 3D imaging with very low light doses which avoids cell-damage.

The project will develop new techniques to miniaturise SPIM systems, looking at increasing imaging depth and imaging potential in thick biological samples. This miniaturisation will be based on optical Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) technology, micro-optics and 3D-printing, with the student receiving support and gaining experience on all technological parts of this. A dual-view SPIM in a 3D-printed package, including optical fibre coupling of light sources and cameras, will provide imaging systems which will generate wider and affordable access to state-of-the-art biomedical imaging techniques, which will be the long-term goal of this project.

The project will be conducted within the Centre for Microsystems & Photonics (CMP), within the Institute of Sensors, Signals & Communications in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering. CMP has over 25 years’ experience of international research in the design, fabrication and testing of MEMS, microsensors, microfluidics, optoelectronics and photonic sensors and systems. A multidisciplinary team, the Centre contributes to theoretical and practical developments in the fields of fibre-optic and guided wave optic sensors, fibre lasers, gas sensing spectroscopies, together with lab-on-a-chip, and microfluidic technologies for biological and clinical applications. Collaboration and knowledge transfer work are integral components of the research activities, through engagement with industry partners including Rolls-Royce, M Squared, Thales, AMS Biotechnology and AstraZeneca.

The project will benefit and contribute to a wider programme of research on miniaturised biomedical imaging systems, sponsored by a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) for Development Research Fellowship which has active collaborative partners in developing countries, specifically India, as well as the United States (Stanford University) and Japan (University of Tokyo). The student will be expected to integrate and contribute to these collaborative involvements, including spending time at the collaborators’ laboratories. 

Highly specialised research training in optics, bio-photonics, MEMS and microsystems next to transferable skills training through an accredited Certificate in Researcher Professional Development will be provided. The student will have access to new state-of-the-art laboratories in the University of Strathclyde’s Technology & Innovation Centre in Glasgow City Centre, including access to metrology clean room facilities. Financial support is available for presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences, along with support to travel to international collaborator’s sites. 

The 36 month PhD position is open to UK & EU applicants only. The position is fully funded, covering tuition fees and providing an annual tax-free stipend of £14,500.

Eligibility

Applicants should have a First or 2.1 Honours degree in Physics, Electrical Engineering or a related discipline.  They must be dedicated and have an enthusiasm for experimental research, including good communication and interpersonal skills.

How to apply

Initial enquiries should be directed to Dr Ralf Bauer, Centre for Microsystems & Photonics, on email at: ralf.bauer@strath.ac.uk. Further information on the admission process will then be provided. Closing Date for Submissions: 30 April 2017.

PhD: Next Generation High Power Ultrasonic Devices for Consumer Products

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD position to work on an exciting industrially focused project. The project aims to develop high power ultrasonic systems (HPUS) incorporating novel ultrasonic based transduction technologies.

High power ultrasonic systems operate over a diverse landscape and with a wide range of transducers and system capabilities: for example, cleaning, welding and sonochemistry. Moreover, medical applications of high power ultrasound are also undergoing a significant period of development and acceptance for therapeutic and surgical applications. For this PhD research project, HPUS techniques will be applied to the consumer product domain where ultrasonic devices are becoming increasingly more common. The key research areas will include: calibration/characterisation of HPUS systems; control of the generated cavitation field; new transducer designs incorporating advanced piezoelectric materials; system miniaturisation; and the application of high intensity focussed ultrasound (HIFU) technology to provide control of the HPUS performance. Throughout the research programme, finite element modelling will be used to support system development and understanding, and a range of prototype devices will be fabricated, characterised and evaluated.

The project will involve working in an inter-disciplinary team environment in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering’s Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE), utilising the laboratory infrastructure in the Strathclyde’s new Technology Innovation Centre. CUE has a broad portfolio of research projects, which will provide an exciting and innovative environment for the successful student to grow their PhD research activities. Importantly, there are excellent opportunities for training and experience in a wide range of tools and techniques, extending their skill set and experience base.

The CUE laboratories provide high quality equipment to support the project, including transducer fabrication, materials characterisation, ultrasonic array instrumentation and automation. In addition, there are several CUE postdoctoral research staff with high levels of experience in relevant technologies, who will provide support to the PhD student. There will be opportunities for students to travel internationally, both to conferences and for a secondment period with the industrial partner.

Eligibility

This project is open to UK and EU applicants only. It is fully funded for 3.5 years, covering tuition fees and offering an annual tax-fee stipend; starting at ~£14,200.

Applicants should have a first or second class Honours degree (minimum 2.1) or an MSc degree in an engineering, physics, materials science, mathematics or related discipline. They must be able to demonstrate enthusiasm, resourcefulness and a mature approach in learning. The successful candidate will be based within the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering.

How to apply

Initial enquiries and expressions of interest should be directed to the CUE Director, Prof Tony Gachagan (a.gachagan@strath.ac.uk) or project supervisor Dr Richard O'Leary (richard.o-leary@strath.ac.uk)

Complete an online application, providing supporting documentation (degree qualifications, two academic references and a CV).

Closing date for submissions: 5 May 2017

EngD Integrated Photonics for Satellite Laser Communication & Sensing Applications

Photonics is expected to play a key role in space applications, as fiber-optics penetrates into satellite payloads and photonic systems become integral functional parts of telecommunication, on-board signal distribution or sensing equipment. The demand for high data rates, reduced mass/volume, lower power consumption, immunity to EMI and transmission band availability in satellite applications are the main driving forces for introducing photonic technologies for communications and remote sensing.

On the other hand, the advent of monolithic and hybrid integration technologies have revolutionised modern terrestrial networks through the development of new generation of small, fast and low-cost components that exploit different or combination of semiconductor material systems, such as InP, silicon and LN.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics aims to meet industry’s needs for highly skilled engineers in the photonics-electronics interface.  Established in 2001, it is a partnership between Business and four leading Scottish universities, aimed at developing photonics-enabled products and services spanning a range of industrial sectors, through research engagement and commercialisation activities.

Although admissions to the centre are managed by the University of Heriot Watt, Edinburgh, the successful candidate will be embedded in the sponsoring company and have full student access rights to the project’s University partner (Strathclyde, Glasgow, St Andrews or Heriot Watt).

Integrated photonics has the potential to disrupt the space photonics R&D roadmap, through the development and commercialisation of miniaturised, cost-effective and high-performance components, suitable for realising key functions such as generation amplification, routing and reception of light signals within a satellite, UAV or aerial platform.

This four-year EngD project is offered by the Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics in partnership with Gooch & Housego. It will focus 

on the design of integrated systems for communications and sensing with the view to fabricate photonic chips and develop prototype modules applicable to satellite laser communications.

The EngD programme is open to UK and EU applicants only. Applicants should have a Physics/ Electronics degree background, preferably with some knowledge of signal processing or lasers (eg final year project).

EPSRC Funding is available as follows:

UK nationals: full funding of fees and stipend is provided

non-UK nationals of European Union countries:

  • in general, only fees are paid, however for a small number of exceptional candidates, stipends may also be available for some projects  
  • full fees and stipend may also be available for candidates who meet the EPSRC criteria for having recently resided in the UK

How to apply

Enquiries should be directed to the project’s academic supervisors Professor Walter Johnstone (w.johnstone@strath.ac.uk) or Dr Craig Michie (c.michie@strath.ac.uk).

You'll need to complete an online application form and submit your CV and all supporting documents, and under planned programme of study, select the option, Applied Photonics EngD. An initial review will be conducted, with successful candidates invited for academic and sponsor interviews.
PhD Data science-enabled telerehabilitation

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD scholarship in the cross-disciplinary area of data processing for healthcare. The scholarship is funded by the University’s strategic partner CAPITA (http://www.capita.com/) and Faculty of Engineering. The successful candidate will work closely with research teams from Departments of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), and Biomedical Engineering (BME), and CAPITA.

The project will develop a tele-rehabilitation platform for supporting health professionals in the early, as well as later stages, of rehabilitation by providing quantifiable rehabilitation assessment through kinematics assessment. The main goal of the project is to build a data analytics tool that will, as input, take motion parameters from the sensor system and provide accurate assessment of the patient’s condition. The system will facilitate early detection of balance/mobility problems in the elderly, and both short-term and long-term care by translating the findings of the technology into realistic goals around the patient’s care. The proposed platform will use emerging digital technologies to enable delivery of healthcare remotely by: (a) giving early warning to health professionals on the current patient’s condition; (b) flagging up urgency of medical/clinical intervention; (c) assisting in assessing early mobilisation of the patients; and (d) providing visual feedback to patients.

The work will build on recent scientific discoveries in the area of predictive analytics, signal information processing, stroke rehabilitation, and computer vision. The clinical trial, designed in collaboration with end-users, will be used to demonstrate benefits of the proposed measures compared to the traditional rehabilitation practice.

The project will be supervised by a multi-disciplinary team with complementary expertise in signal processing and computer vision (V. Stankovic), physiotherapy and stroke rehabilitation (A. Kerr), machine learning and data science (L. Stankovic), and clinical movement analysis, biomechanics and functional analysis (P. Rowe).

In addition to the University of Strathclyde’s Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development, which includes various transferrable skills training, the student will be integrated into ongoing EU project SENSIBILE and have the opportunity to conduct research at world-leading groups in the area, in Japan, Australia, China and Canada.

Funding is available for UK and EU nationals only. It is fully funded for 3 years, covering tuition fees and offering an annual tax-free stipend starting at £14,200. The project start date is September/October 2017.

Candidates must hold an MEng or MSc degree in Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science or Mathematics. They must possess good programming understanding and skills, notably in C / C== or Python. Only exceptional candidates with BSc/BEng degrees will be considered.

How to Apply

Initial enquiries and expressions of interest should be directed to: Dr V Stankovic at vladimir.stankovic@strath.ac.uk or Dr A Kerr at a.kerr@strath.ac.uk

Defined postgraduate research projects

PhD Design and development of novel, gas-filled plasma closing switches for pulsed power applications

Applications are invited for postgraduate research leading to a PhD in the High Voltage Technologies Research Group within the Institute for Energy & Environment.

This project will involve the design and development of novel, gas-filled, plasma closing switches for pulsed power applications. Plasma closing switches (spark gaps) find many applications in the field of pulsed power and are capable of operating at high voltages (>1 MV), high currents (1 MA), and can breakdown in the nanosecond and sub-nanosecond regimes. Demand for systems requiring these switching capabilities is driven by the needs of commercial and military applications (pulsed-laser drivers, high-power microwave generators, UWB radar).

The project is open to self-funded Home, EU, Rest of UK & International PhD students only. A partial scholarship of £2,000 will be provided.

Applicants should have a first or second class Honours degree (minimum 2.1) or an MSc degree in electrical engineering, physics or a relevant engineering discipline, and an interest in experimental research. They must be able to demonstrate enthusiasm, resourcefulness and a mature approach in learning.

How to apply

Email a full CV and covering letter, quoting the name of the project, to Ms M Cooper at maureen.cooper@strath.ac.uk.

PhD Fine and ultra-fine particles in air: electromagnetic and low temperature plasma decontamination

Air-borne fine and ultra-fine particles pose significant health and environmental risks. In recent years attention has started to be paid to particles of sizes less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) or even particles with size less than 1 micrometer (PM1). It is known that particles with dimensions less than 3 µ, can remain airborne for almost unlimited periods of time. Therefore, in the case of enclosed environments (public transport, houses, buildings) there is a significant probability that these particles can be inhaled, increasing the health risk they pose. The engineering challenge is to design an effective technology for removing of air-borne solid particles, liquid droplets or even microorganisms with sizes in this range from air. 

One of the promising technological approaches which can be used for air-cleaning and decontamination operations is based on ionisation and treatment of aerosols and suspended air-borne particulate matter with ultra-short, sub-microsecond plasma impulses. Such high tension (high power, high field) impulses generate electrons, ions and chemically active species, thus electric charge can be transferred to the air-borne particulate matter. An external electric field then can be used to control these charged fine and ultra-fine particles. Moreover, if microorganisms will be subjected to these plasma impulses, their membranes may be damaged by the induced and transferred charges and plasma generated chemically active species can disrupt normal operation of bio-membranes resulting in the death of (potentially pathogenic) microorganisms. Thus, this plasm a technology can be used for the efficient air cleaning and bio-decontamination operations. 

This project will focus on the development of the advanced impulsive non-thermal plasma systems for air cleaning and aerosol decontamination operations. The researcher will also study mechanisms of charge transfer to bio-membranes, induced electro-mechanical and thermal stresses using analytical and computer modelling methods (experience in modelling COMSOL will be an advantage). The project will progress through the design, development and experimental stages, and include analytical and computer modelling. 

Support will be provided by experienced members of staff at the High Voltage Technologies Group, conducting studies at the frontiers of low-temperature science and engineering (plasma for environmental, medical and agricultural applications). The researcher will work in close cooperation with electrical engineers, physicists and microbiologists which provides a unique opportunity to conduct multi-disciplinary plasma-based research project. 

The project is open to self-funded Home, EU, Rest of UK & International PhD students only.

Applicants should have a strong background in electrical engineering, physics or another relevant discipline, with particular expertise and understanding in electro-magnetism and/or bio-physics.

How to apply

Email a full CV and covering letter, quoting the name of the project, to Ms M Cooper at maureen.cooper@strath.ac.uk.

PhD Non-thermal transient plasma discharges for environmental applications

Low temperature atmospheric plasma produces significant oxidation and bactericidal effects. As a result, multiple practical applications based on non-thermal plasma discharges are now being developed, these applications and technologies include non-thermal plasma discharges for surface cleaning and decontamination, water treatment, bio-decontamination, wound treatment and sterilisation, and stimulation of plant growth. Based on the progress in the plasma technology new research fields have been established in recent years: plasma for environmental applications, plasma medicine and plasma agriculture. However, the exact mechanisms of the biological and chemical effects of low temperature atmospheric plasma discharges are still not fully known. 

The main objective of this project is to continue development and optimisation of non-thermal, plasma-based systems started at Strathclyde and investigation of the efficiency of transient non-thermal plasma discharges for different environmental applications. The research programme will be focused on plasma oxidation, biological effects of plasma and potentially on plasma stimulation of plants will be investigated. The originality of the proposed approach is in the use of very short, sub-microsecond impulsive non-thermal atmospheric air plasma discharges, which are capable of the efficient generation of chemically active species and in the efficient transfer of electric charge. 

Support will be provided by experienced members of staff at the High Voltage Technologies Group, conducting studies at the frontiers of low-temperature science and engineering (plasma for environmental, medical and agricultural applications). The candidate will work in close cooperation with electrical engineers, physicists and microbiologists which provides a unique opportunity to conduct multi-disciplinary plasma-based research project.

The project is open to self-funded Home, EU, Rest of UK & International PhD students only.

Applicants should have a strong background in the principles of electro-magnetism and electrical circuits. No previous practical experience in working with non-thermal plasma is required, however this research project will include both, analytical and experimental elements, therefore it is desirable for potential applicants to have laboratory experience. Experience in modelling using Matlab and COMSOL software will be an advantage.

How to Apply

Email a full CV and covering letter, quoting the name of the project, to Ms M Cooper at maureen.cooper@strath.ac.uk.