Postgraduate research opportunities Neuromorphic photonic-electronic integrated circuits for fast and efficient SPIKE-based information PROcessing (SPIKEPRO)


Key facts

  • Opens: Monday 18 December 2023
  • Deadline: Sunday 30 June 2024
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 42 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend


This PhD project will investigate neuromorphic (brain-like) photonic-electronic systems for new high-speed and efficient neuromorphic computing and AI technologies. The programme will investigate artificial photonic and electronic spiking neurons, their connectivity into compact chip-scale spiking neural networks. These will be used in spike-based photonic-electronic processing functionalities in real-world applications (e.g. high-speed radar signal processing, high-speed data classification).
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To enter our PhD programme applicants require an upper-second or first class BSc Honours degree, or a Masters qualification of equal or higher standard, in Physics, Engineering or a related discipline. Full funding, covering fees and stipend, is available for applicants who are UK Nationals (meeting residency requirements) or have settled status (meeting residency requirements), pre-settled status or otherwise have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

The human brain is exceptional at performing highly complex tasks fast and efficiently. Hence, neuromorphic (brain-like) information processing is receiving increasing research interest for use in novel computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) hardware. To date, neuromorphic computing systems have been mainly supported by traditional digital electronics. However, photonic (light-enabled) technologies for neuromorphic computing are attracting growing interest due to their inherent unique and superior properties. These include very high speeds, energy-efficiency, reduced sensitivity to interference and high parallelism, among others.

This PhD project will design, develop and investigate novel (brain-like) photonic-electronic systems for future high-speed and energy-efficient light-enabled neuromorphic computing and AI technologies. These systems will use ultrafast neural-like optical and electrical spikes (rather than traditional digital signals) to process information and will enable multi-modal (both photonic and electronic) operation. Specifically, this programme will develop and analyse experimentally novel artificial photonic and electronic spiking neurons and processors as well as their connectivity to form photonic-electronic spiking neural networks (SNNs), based upon key-enabling opto-electronic devices (e.g. semiconductor lasers, resonant tunnelling diodes). These will be implemented with compact photonic-electronic integrated circuits. Importantly, this programme will also focus on the development of efficient algorithms for the training and operation of the developed spike-based neuromorphic photonic-electronic processing platforms. Additionally, technology demonstrators aiming at demonstrating high-speed, efficient operation of spike-based photonic-electronic systems in real-world applications (e.g. radar signal processing) will be also the object of the research in this PhD programme.

This highly inter-disciplinary project merging together different disciplines (e.g. photonics, neuromorphic computing, machine learning and AI) will thus develop a first generation of functional high-speed, energy-efficient neuromorphic photonic-electronic processing platforms for strategic applications (e.g. high-speed radar signal classification, pattern recognition, time-series data processing, etc.).

This PhD Studentship will be part of an EU-funded Pathfinder Open project (‘SpikePRO’) formed by a consortium of international partners, including TU\e (Netherlands), TU Ilmenau (Germany), UCL (UK) and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (Belgium). Therefore, this PhD Studentship will also benefit from strong international collaboration with the project partners, and will offer opportunities for joint research work activities, travel to conference and project meetings and/or research visits to project partner sites.

Further information

Institute of Photonics: The Institute of Photonics (IoP), part of the Department of Physics, is a centre of excellence in applications-oriented research at the University of Strathclyde.  The Institute’s key objective is to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial applications and development in the area of photonics. The IoP is located in the £100M Technology and Innovation Centre on Strathclyde’s Glasgow city centre campus, at the heart of Glasgow’s Innovation District, where it is co-located with the UK’s first Fraunhofer Research Centre. Researchers at the IoP are active in a broad range of photonics fields under the areas of Photonic Devices, Advanced Lasers and Neurophotonics.

Strathclyde Physics is a member of SUPA, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance.

The University of Strathclyde has, in recent years, been the recipient of the following awards: The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2019, 2021 & 2023; Times Higher Education University of the Year 2012 & 2019; Daily Mail University of the Year 2024 Runner-Up; Daily Mail Scottish University of the Year 2024; Triple E European Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2023.

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Funding details

The funding covers the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.
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Dr Hurtado

Dr Antonio Hurtado

Institute of Photonics

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Dr Porte Parera

Dr Javier Porte Parera

Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow
Institute of Photonics

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Applicants should send an up-to-date CV to in the first instance.

Number of places: 1

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Contact us

For further details, contact