Postgraduate research opportunities

A framework for efficient design of multi-functional composite structures for light-weighting electrical power systems on aircraft

This is a four-year funded industry-funded interdisciplinary PhD project on the design and manufacture of electrical power systems integrated with composite materials. It is offered jointly by the Electronic and Electrical Engineering, and Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management departments.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


10 January 2020


30 January 2020


4 years


To be considered for the project, candidates must:

  • Possess an undergraduate MEng or postgraduate MSc degree in electrical or high voltage materials engineering, physics or mathematics. Exceptional candidates with a BSc/BEng qualification (1st or 2:1) may also be considered.
  • Have strong understanding of electrical power systems.
  • Have good understanding, skills and experience of engineering system modelling and simulation and practical laboratory skills.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, it is desirable for candidates to:

  • Demonstrate academic study and interest in relevant non-electrical engineering topics, such as Manufacturing and Materials Science.

Project Details

Applications are invited for a funded four-year PhD scholarship in aircraft electrical power systems.


The successful candidate will work as a member of the established aero-electrical research team within the Institute for Energy and Environment, alongside a wider team of specialists in electrical power systems. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the PhD, the project is collaborative with colleagues from the Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management.  The research will be conducted in close collaboration with an industrial partner, providing significant insight into the electrification of flight.


Electrical technologies have the potential to realise significant breakthroughs in efficiency and emissions from the aerospace sector. However, key challenges remain to be addressed.  Multifunctional (MF) composite materials are key to enabling the light-weighting and modularisation of future aircraft electrical power systems, improving environmental performance.   This PhD is one of a number of new and exciting opportunities that exist for doctoral study at the University of Strathclyde in direct collaboration with industry partners from the aerospace sector that will research the increasing electrification of aircraft, and the integration of new composite materials with electrical components.


This project will develop a design framework to guide the efficient design and manufacture of MF composites, with a focus on integrated electrical-thermal-structural systems, directly addressing the challenge of systems integration at high power levels, supporting early stage selection of MF composites for consistent and repeatable manufacture at scale.  To support the development of sustainable solutions, the MF composites will fit within the circular economy concept via utilisation of renewable sources of materials and consideration of end-of-life processing. Hence, this project will contribute to breakthroughs that will accelerate the realisation of commercial aircraft that are lighter, safer, more efficient and produce lower emissions.


As part of the project, the successful candidate will also benefit from the training delivered as part of the University of Strathclyde’s Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.

Funding Details

Funding is available for the successful candidate that will cover an annual tax free stipend and full tuition fees (if relevant connection with the UK) or part fees (other students). The stipend starts at £15,009.


Academic supervision will be led by Dr Catherine Jones and Dr Ian Whitfield, supported by an internationally recognised aero-electrical systems research team led by Dr Patrick Norman and Professor Graeme Burt.


How to apply

Candidates should email with reference “PhD-NMIS1” in the subject line, attaching a detailed CV with contact information for two academic referees, and a covering letter highlighting their suitability for the position, to Dr Catherine Jones (


The application deadline is 30 January 2020.


The project is available for a start from March 2020.


If you wish to discuss any details of the projects informally, please email Dr Catherine Jones quoting reference “PhD-composites” in the subject line.