James Watt PhD Scholarships

The HWUM James Watt Scholarships offer a life-changing opportunity for potential PhD students to work on most pressing global challenges from an Asian perspective. 

Deadline: 31 May 2023

Study in: Malaysia 

Course starts in September/October 2023

The global challenges humanity faces today require a global approach to address them. For 200 years, Heriot-Watt University has been the home for innovators and future shapers who made the world a better place through research and education.  

Promoting a thriving, flourishing research community within the globally connected University having campuses in UK, Dubai and Malaysia, we are committed to provide practical and sustainable solutions. We would like to invite you join our community of research leaders and help us make a difference and create a positive impact.   

The HWUM James Watt PhD Scholarships aim at attracting qualified students who wish to contribute towards the sustainable world development and address two key topics in Malaysia, including:  

  1. Achieving net-zero emissions through sustainable solutions that create positive social, economic, technological, and environmental impacts 

  2. Achieving digital transformation through Robotics and AI technologies 

Join us for #TogetherWeCan change the world. 

We would like to provide appointed PhD students at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia with full tuition fees and a generous stipend, offering them with great potential the opportunity to work within their chosen research field with the support of an excellent supervisory team consisting of at least one supervisor from the Malaysia campus and one supervisor from the Edinburgh campus. 

It should be noted that these prestigious scholarships are extremely competitive with high eligibility requirements, and involve participation in a competition for very limited places.  

The start date for funded places is in September/October 2023


Successful candidates will receive the following financial support for up to 36 months: 

  • Full funding for tuition fees
  • A stipend of RM36,000 per annum to assist with living costs
  • A consumables/professional services fund of RM5,000 per annum.
  • A programme of workshops and events delivered by Heriot-Watt’s Research Futures Academy.


  • Applications are accepted from talented candidates from Malaysia and worldwide. 
  • Candidates must hold a first class undergraduate degree or equivalent. 
  • Candidates with a standalone Master’s qualification must have achieved a distinction.  
  • Prior to applying, candidates must have made contact with a supervisor at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia who has agreed to supervise them in their selected research project. Please review the page ‘James Watt PhD Scholarships – Research Projects (with Supervisor's Contact)’ for more information. 


You should submit your application for admission to study at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia through our online admissions system, which will require you to provide:

  1. Degree transcripts for undergraduate and Masters study
  2. CV with two referees and their contacts (at least one should be an academic referee)
  3. A personal statement (min 1 page and not more than 2 pages), which must outline your academic and research achievements to date, clearly indicating the research project that you are applying for.  

Candidates must select the option for ‘’James Watt PhD Scholarship Scheme” in the funding section within the online application form.

Review and Selection

Applications will be reviewed by a three-stage process: 

  1. Supervisors will review all the applications and select a shortlist of the very best candidates.  
  2. Director of Research & Enterprise (DoRE) will review the shortlist and work with HWUM Selection Committee to schedule any interviews. 
  3. First-choice candidates will be nominated from the interview to submit a full proposal (min 1500 words) prepared in consultation with supervisor. (DoRE will make the final decision based on the proposal and other documents.) 

The Deadline

The HWUM JWS application deadline for the 2023 entry is 31st May 2023. Candidates who apply by the deadline and are awarded a scholarship will be notified in July 2023.  

Find out more

If you have any questions regarding the scheme please contact MyScholarship@hw.ac.uk 

James Watt PhD Scholarships – Research Projects


Project Title 

Supervisor (s) 


Emotional Sensing for Improving Interactions with Social Robots In-the-Wild (Emobot) 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. John See  



The Impact of PET Reinforced Concrete Composites in Contributing Towards NetZero 

Prof. Satesh Narayana  



Solar Energy System Enabling and ‘Disruptive’ Solutions towards Net-Zero Carbon,  Energy Transition 2050: Malaysia and UK Context 

 Assoc. Prof. Ir. Dr. Yun Ii Go (y.go@hw.ac.uk)/ Prof. Dennis Wong  


Machine Learning for Optimisation of a Vibration Energy Harvester 

Ir. Dr. Hoo Choon Lih 



Development and Optimisation of Variable Injection Rate Shaping 1D Model towards Improvement of Diesel Engine Thermal Efficiency 

Dr. Mohd Fareez Edzuan Abdullah (M.Abdullah@hw.ac.uk)/Ir. Dr. Hoo Choon Lih  


Semiconductor Quantum Dots for CO2 Photoreduction 

Assoc. Prof. Ir. Dr. Yap Tze Chuen/  Dr. Wong Voon Loong (v.wong@hw.ac.uk


Real-time Optimized Hand-Gesture Recognition Based on a Novel Hybrid Visible Light Communication System and Machine Learning for Human-Computer Interaction 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Florence Choong Chiao Mei (f.choong@hw.ac.uk)  


Sustainability Performance in Buildings via Human-Centric Solutions 

Dr. Goh Cheng Siew (C.Goh@hw.ac.uk) / Prof. Dennis Wong  

Please refer link for details of project.