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James Watt Scholarships (Autumn 2016)

Heriot-Watt University has now created additional Doctoral Training Partnerships and James Watt Scholarships in the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences for 2016.The James Watt scholarships will provide full fees and stipend for 3 years from Autumn 2016, whilst the DTPs provide full fees and stipend for 3.5 years.These scholarships are described below.


All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2016.Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype).

Level of Award

For James Watt Scholarship students, the annual stipend will be £15k and full fees will be paid, for 3 years, whilst for DTP Scholarship students, the annual stipend will be £14,057 and full fees will be paid, for 3.5 years

Further Information

Synopses and email addresses

Leading to a PhD in Chemistry

JWS2016/01 New Probes of Inelastic and Reactive Scattering at the Gas-Liquid Interface

New spectroscopic probe techniques will be developed to measure the dynamics of the scattering of gas-phase molecules at the surfaces of liquids.

Supervisor: Dr M. L. Costen, email:


JWS2016/02 Cationic processes; imaging the dynamics of ionic reactions

State-of-the-art vacuum based experimental techniques are used to unravel the dynamics of the reactions of selected cationic species with both atmospherically relevant gas phase species and interfaces.

Supervisor: Dr S. J. Greaves, email:


JWS2016/03 Computational Modelling of C-H Activation and Functionalisation Catalysis in Solution

This project will focus on the role of solvent, counter-ion and reaction additives in promoting C-H bond activation; techniques will include density functional theory, hybrid QM/MM calculations and molecular dynamics.

Supervisor: Prof. S. A. Macgregor, email:


DTP2016/01 Imaging the Dynamics of Inelastic and Reactive Scattering of Gas-Phase Radicals

The dynamics of inelastic and reactive scattering of small free radicals, of importance in combustion, the atmosphere and other environments, will be studied using crossed molecular beams combined with velocity-map imaging.

Supervisor: Dr M. L. Costen, email:


DTP2016/02 Probing liquid surfaces using reactive-atom scattering.

The scattering of gas-phase atoms and other reactive projectiles will be developed as a probe of the composition and structure of liquid surfaces of relevance to the atmosphere and other technological applications. Supervisor Prof. K . G. McKendrick, email:


DTP2016/03 Dynamic Multi-Component Assembly of Nano-Cages in Solution

The research project will investigate the constitutional dynamic chemistry of hydroxamic acids resulting in assembly of multiple (organic and/or metal) components into dynamic libraries of ordered nano-cage structures with applicability in drug delivery, porous materials and supramolecular catalysis.


Supervisor: Dr G. O. Lloyd, email:


DTP2016/04 Applying Tethered N-Heterocyclic Stannylene Ligands in Catalysis

Building on new tethered ligands that have recently been synthesised in the group, this project in main group and organometallic chemistry will look to exploit the unconventional donor properties of N-heterocyclic stannylenes in catalysis allowing the student to learn many synthetic and analytical skills including multinuclear NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography.

Supervisor: Dr S. Mansell, email:


DTP2016/05 Understanding Spontaneous Dipole Alignment in Molecular Solids

Spontaneous dipole alignment in molecular solids is a novel phenomenon recently observed which gives rise to intense electric fields within molecular solids which can be probed by IR spectroscopy and electrostatic potential measurements. Molecular dynamics simulations will be employed in an attempt to understand the origins of these fields during film growth processes.

Supervisor: Prof. M. McCoustra, email:

Leading to a PhD in Physics

JWS2016/04 Quantum information science

This theoretical project is related to our work in the UK Quantum Technology Hub on Quantum Communications. The exact topic of the project will be determined through discussions with the applicant.

Supervisor: Prof. Erika Andersson, email:


JWS2016/05 Ultrashort pulsed laser welding of optical materials to metals and ceramics

The scientific study and engineering development of direct laser bonding processes using ultrashort pulsed lasers, for joining optical components (glasses, ceramics) to mechanical supporting structures (typically metals).

Supervisor: Prof. Duncan P Hand, email:


JWS2016/06 LAkHsMI: Large Scale Hydrodynamic Imagining in the Ocean From An Artificial Lateral Line

LAkHsMI is an EU collaboration involving IPaQS and ISSS at Heriot Watt University to develop a new bio-inspired technology to make continuous measurements of hydrodynamics for applications including environmental monitoring and damage detection in marine renewable energy. The PhD will research novel signal processing techniques for imaging hydrodymanic activities in the water column at a variety of resolutions and ranges based upon modelling and novel data inputs.

Supervisor: Dr William MacPherson, email:


JWS2016/07 Quantum Communications: Quantum digital signatures and quantum amplifiers

This 4-year project is open to EU citizens and will investigate new aspects of quantum communication including quantum key distribution, quantum digital signatures, and quantum amplifiers. The project will work closely with the EPSRC Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Communications, of which Heriot-Watt is a leading partner.

Supervisor: Prof. Gerald S Buller, email:


JWS2016/08 Creation and application of ultra-high rate photonic quantum bytes

The project offers an excellent entry point into quantum technology, training a range of skills from photonic engineering to applications in quantum foundations, communication, computation and metrology. Photonics is a very mature quantum technology, leading to short development paths which leaves more time for practical implementations.

Supervisor: Dr Alessandro Fedrizzi, email:


JWS2016/09 Quantum technologies with an ideal source of indistinguishable single photons

This project will exploit recent advances in the efficient generation of indistinguishable single photons to implement novel quantum networking and quantum optics schemes for the first time.

Supervisor: Prof. Brian D Gerardot, email:


JWS2016/10 Wide-mode-spacing broadband optical parametric oscillator frequency combs

Heriot-Watt is part of a UK consortium investigating the development of a high-resolution spectrograph (HIRES) for theEuropean Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This PhD project will continue a programme developing OPO frequency combs for astronomy / metrology.It aims to extend the tunability and mode-spacing of OPO frequency combs, so they are suitable for the E-ELT: 400nm < λ < 2.4um and mode spacings >10 GHz. There may be the opportunity to validate the final frequency comb on a telescope. Supervisors: Dr Robert Thomson & Prof. Derryck Reid, email: & email:


JWS2016/11 Strongly correlated quantum gases

This theoretical project will study the topological properties of strongly interacting ultracold quantum gases which are subject to synthetic gauge fields.

Supervisor: Prof. Patrik Öhberg, email:


DTP2016/06 Quantum information science

The exact topic for this theoretical project will be determined in discussion with suitable candidates, but could be related to quantum measurements or quantum communication (including secure quantum signatures).

Supervisor: Prof. Erika Andersson, email:

DTP2016/07 Laser post-processing of metal additively manufactured parts

Additively manufactured (‘3D printed’) metal parts can take significant post-build finishing effort to remove the necessary supports and clean up any remaining marks; in this project laser machining and polishing processes will be developed to simplify these processes.

Supervisor: Prof. Duncan P Hand, email:

DTP2016/08 Ultra-compact solid-state laser systems

The research challenge is to design, develop and demonstrate highly efficient compact diode-pumped solid-state laser sources by incorporating modern laser-based manufacturing techniques.

Supervisor: Prof. Daniel M J Esser, email:


DTP2016/09 Depth imaging using single-photons

A EPSRC CASE studentship examining aspects of sparse photon imaging with piosecond time-resolved single photon detection.

Supervisor: Prof. Gerald S Buller, email:


DTP2016/10 Creation and application of ultra-high rate photonic quantum bytes

The project offers an excellent entry point into quantum technology, training a range of skills from photonic engineering to applications in quantum foundations, communication, computation and metrology. Photonics is a very mature quantum technology, leading to short development paths which leaves more time for practical implementations.

Supervisor: Dr Alessandro Fedrizzi, email:

DTP2016/11 Additive manufacturing (3D printing) of metals (Renishaw industrial CASE studentship)

We are interested in all aspects of the additive manufacture of metals (both powder and wire) from fundamental multiphysics process modelling through to optical diagnostic techniques for process understanding and control.

Supervisor: Andrew MooreProf. Andrew Moore, email:

DTP2016/12 Measuring stress-induced birefringence at THz frequencies

State-of-the-art GHz/THz imaging and spectroscopy techniques will be used to measure sub-surface stress distributions in ceramic thermal barrier coatings in a project supported by EPSRC, Rolls Royce and Renishaw.

Supervisor: Andrew MooreProf. Andrew Moore, email:


DTP2016/13 An artificial atom in a two-dimensional semiconductor

The goals of project are to identify and characterize the nature of the 2D quantum emitters, develop ways to coherently optically control and manipulate the quantum emitter spins and emitted photons, and find strategies to realize fully functional integrated devices suitable for future quantum technologies.

Supervisor: Prof. Brian D Gerardot, email:

DTP2016/14 Filming light at a trillion frames per second.

This project aims at developing a new and emerging technology, single-photon sensitive SPAD array cameras, that will allow us to observe the world in a fundamental and new way.

Supervisor: Prof. Daniele Faccio,


DTP2016/15 Fluids, superfluids and artificial black holes made of light.

This project, at the interface between laser physics, superfluid physics and quantum physics will investigate new systems in which to observe photon fluid dynamics and will then apply these concepts to a variety of problems. Most notably, we have a long-standing interest in so-called “analogue gravity”, i.e. the creation of hydrodynamical analogues for curved spacetimes that can then be used to mimic and study objects such as (artificial) rotating black holes or (artificial) gravitational waves.

Supervisor: Prof. Daniele Faccio, email:

DTP2016/16 2D materials and meta-materials in the quantum regime.

This project is strictly experimental and will involve using lasers and light to modulate, control and probe the properties of a range of 2D materials that are available at our facility.

Supervisor: Prof. Daniele Faccio, email:

Leading to a PhD in Chemical Engineering

JWS2016/12 Carbon dioxide Capture, Storage and utilization (CCS) technologies

Development of CCS technologies, with possible options including novel materials for CO2 capture; long term fate of CO2 storage (experimental and modelling studies) and CO2 utilization (e.g. enhanced oil recovery or solar fuels).

Supervisor: Prof. Mercedes Maroto-Valer, email:

Leading to a PhD in Electrical Engineering

JWS2016/13 Chlorophyll to grow metals onto non conductive surfaces

We are looking at a student with a material science or engineering background interested in using nature best light harvesting complexes to grow metals into non conductive surfaces. In collaboration with Loughborough University, the applications of your research will impact on 3D printing, electronics and prosthetics.

Supervisor: Prof. Marc Desmulliez, email:

JWS2016/14 Radio frequency and antenna engineering for space applications

The Microwave and Antenna Engineering Group at Heriot-Watt is working closely with national and international agencies (ESA, NASA, RAL Space) as well as Europe’s leading enterprises to deliver R&D at the forefront of space technologies (see also Opportunities are available for collaborative PhD projects with aforementioned organisations across a range of topics that include; atmospheric propagation at Q-band, active and passive RF payload components, mm-wave electronics, antenna engineering as well as satellite communication system design.

Supervisor: Prof. George Goussetis, email:

JWS2016/15 Transceiver Designs for Large Scale Antenna Systems at Millimeter-Wave Frequencies.


We are seeking to recruit a highly motivated student willing to work on a research project entitled “Large Scale Antenna Systems Made Practical: Advanced Signal Processing for Compact Deployments [LSAS-SP]” sponsored by UK research council, Bell-Labs, NJ, USA and QinetiQ, UK. See for details. The PhD thesis will explore signal processing techniques for efficient analogue/digital beamforming, precoding and receiver designs for Large Scale Antenna Systems at mm-wave frequencies.

Supervisor: Dr Mathini Sellaturai, email:

JWS2016/16 Smart Interfaces for Converged Wireless and Optical Networks

For the end-to-end design and performance evaluation of converged wireless and optical networks, methods for seamless physical interconnection of a variety of technologies are indispensable. This project aims to design novel agile, programmable, and scalable interfaces interconnecting different wireless and optical technologies at the transport layer.

Supervisor: Dr Cheng-Xiang Wang, email:

JWS2016/17 Analysis of Raman spectra using hyperspectral imaging methods

Raman spectroscopy is a powerful technique for light/matter interaction analysis which can be used in chemistry to detect, identify and quantify specific molecules. Although produced by different acquisition systems, Raman spectra and reflectance spectra recorded by passive hyperspectral sensors for remote sensing applications (e.g., earth and space observation) present many similarities. The aim of this project is to develop new computational tools for Raman spectroscopy, inspired by models and methods dedicated to hyperspectral image analysis (e.g., classification, source separation, non-stationary processes).

Supervisor: Prof Stephen McLaughlin, email:

JWS2016/18 RF signal processing for the networked battlespace

In this project you will research new algorithms and sensors for RF signal detection in hostile environments from a network of mixed quality sensors. You will particularly focus on the signal processing algorithms to detect, identify and locate the source of various RF signals in difficult environments with high levels of background noise and strong fading channels.

Supervisors: Dr Mathini Sellaturai, email: and Prof. George Goussetis, email:

JWS2016/19 Compressive Sensing for Interferometry: new imaging techniques for transformational science

The transformational science envisaged for the next decades in astronomy requires that future telescopes, such as the flagship Square Kilometer Array (SKA), achieve unprecedented dynamic ranges and angular resolutions on wide frequency bands. In this context, interferometric imaging techniques literally and urgently need to be re-invented. The project will leverage the theory of compressive sampling to help defining new sensing and reconstruction approaches for ultra-high resolution wide-band imaging. Fast reconstruction algorithms capable of handling Big Data will be studied and adapted to multi-core computing architectures.

Supervisor: Dr Yves Wiaux, email:

How to Apply

1. Important Information before you Apply

When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:

(a) in “Planned Programme of Study” (Checklist Item 6):

Planned Programme of Study presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, …… as appropriate.

Supervisor provides a free text box. Enter supervisor’s name.


(b) in “Background Information” (Checklist Item 9):

Proposed Area of Research provides a free text box. Enter Title and Reference number (JWS2016/xx or DTP2016/xx) of the Scholarship for which you are applying.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

2. Applications

Applications must be made through the Heriot-Watt on-line application system,

3. Closing Date

All applications must be received by Thursday 31st March 2016. All successful candidates must commence studies by Tuesday 1st December 2016 at the very latest.