Postgraduate research opportunities

Process optimisation strategies for multiple COSI techniques

A 48-month full time, fully funded EngD in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics and supported by MBDA (

Number of places



Home fee, Travel costs, Stipend


1 February 2020


28 February 2020


48 months


To be considered for the project, candidates must:

  • Possess, or expect to obtain, a first class or upper second (2:1) Masters degree (MPhys, MEng, or MSc – Merit or above) in a relevant engineering, physics or maths related subject. Candidates with a BSc or BEng at 1st class classification and with additional research experience will also be considered.
  • Be a UK or eligible EU national and adhere to Research Council (RCUK) eligibility criteria
  • Candidates will have an aptitude and interest in computational imaging techniques, such as super-resolution and sparse image reconstruction.
  • The candidate will need to be comfortable in a self-led research project, but able to collaborate with a team of scientists and engineers when required.
  • Relevant degree subjects: physics, electronic and electrical engineering, maths
  • Non-native English speakers must ensure they meet the English language requirements. Please check the CDT website at: for English language requirements and advice.

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.

Project Details

MBDA is expanding its research into Computational Optical Sensing and Imaging (COSI).  One area of interest is Structured Imaging using, for example, Ladar (Laser Detecting and Ranging) to map a scene in real-time.  The image of the scene is formed from thousands of pulses, with each pulse being directed to a particular point within the scene.  Within this context, several topics are of particular interest, including the following examples:


MBDA is also interested in augmenting current sensors using COSI techniques.  One example would be to replace a high grade lens with a lower grade lens and correct the optical aberrations using deconvolution.  Within this context, MBDA is particularly interested in the degree to which Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based techniques can complement or supplant more traditional techniques that rely upon a forward model of the image formation process.


A potential limitation when using AI techniques is their reliance on large quantities of training data, however, it seems likely that AI techniques could be used to characterise a sensor and thereby form part of the image reconstruction process.  In the example above, AI techniques could be used to characterise the spatially variant Point Spread Functions associated with a low grade lens, which would then be used in a traditional deconvolution process.  The aim of this element of the research would be to outline:


The research will provide a balance between theoretical analysis, algorithm development and programming.  MBDA will provide access to expertise, models and data as necessary.


The project is expected to contribute to the fields of structured imaging, compressed sensing and computational imaging.

Funding Details

The EngD is funded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics and MBDA. EngD students will receive at least £20,777 per annum and have fees paid for the duration of the 4-year programme.


EngD students will also receive additional funding of up to £4,000 to attend conferences. Travel to CDT skills courses will also be paid.


The primary supervisor will be Dr Carmine Clemente, a Strathclyde Chancellor’s Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Signal & Image Processing within the Institute for Sensors, Signals and Communications.

How to apply

Candidates interested in applying should first email Dr Clemente ( ), or tel: +44 (0)141 548 2074 for an informal discussion.


Formal applications are submitted via the Heriot-Watt website .


Under level of study, please select ‘Postgraduate Research’, then choose ‘Applied Photonics, EngD’ as your programme selection.


Please submit the following supporting documents. We cannot progress applications until they are complete.  A complete application should include the following:

  • An up-to-date CV
  • Previous degree certificates and transcripts (if your transcript is in a language other than English, please submit an English version. you can obtain these from your university)
  • Two academic references – The CDT Applied Photonics programme requires two academic references and it is your responsibility to ensure that both are received by the CDT. These can be emailed directly to .  It is also possible for you to request and upload one academic reference via the online recruitment system.   References should be on headed paper please. Employer references are also accepted from applicants applying from a relevant industry background.
  • English language evidence (if applicable). Please check the CDT website at:  for English language requirements and advice.
  • Under the field ‘Research project information’ please list your projects of interest and your order of preference. Please note you are not required to submit a project proposal when applying to our CDT.


Following review of the application submissions, selected candidates will be invited for a stage 1 academic interview and if successful a stage 2 industry interview. Application submission deadline is 28 February 2020. The project will start on 1 September 2020.