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Heriot-Watt University and Loughborough University are jointly offering a unique 4-year PhD training programme, drawing on their considerable expertise in postgraduate teaching and research supervision in the fields of sensors, system design, embedded software and systems, applications engineering and systems services. 

Embedded Intelligence is characterised as the ability of a product, process or service to reflect on its own operational performance, usage load, or in relation to the end-user or environment in terms of satisfactory experience. This self-reflection, facilitated by information collected by sensors and processed locally or remotely, must be considered from the design stage such as to enhance the product lifetime and performance, increase quality of process or service delivery, or ensure customer satisfaction and market acceptance. 

The Centre graduates will follow a bespoke and strategic individualised industry-informed programme of training over a period of four years, comprising

  • A focused, deeper technical training and experience in an embedded intelligence thematic area central to their doctoral studies coupled with group and individual industry-led projects in their first year.
  • Translational training in essential underpinning knowledge for embedded systems and technology;
  • Transferable skills to fulfil expectations of their future leadership roles in the industry, in society and as entrepreneurs. 

This EPSRC/industry sponsored Centre is the first of its kind in Europe and addresses high priority areas such as autonomous complex manufactured products and systems, functional materials with high performance systems, data-to-knowledge solutions (e.g. digital healthcare and digitally connected citizens), and engineering for industry, life and health. This Centre will deliver well-trained, commercially aware, experienced graduates who shall alleviate the shortage of skilled professionals in the following thematic areas:

  • Device design, specification of sensors and measurement devices (power scavenging, processing, wire & wireless communications, design for low power, condition monitoring);
  • Packaging & integration technologies (reliability and robustness, physical and soft integration of devices, sub-components and wider system environment);
  • Software (low level, embedded, system level, database integration, service oriented architectures, services design);
  • Manufacturing solutions (design for manufacture of embedded systems, design for market acceptance, advanced and hybrid manufacturing processes for embedding, process consolidation technologies, biomimetics and cradle-to-cradle for sustainability production);
  • Applications engineering (design and implementation of embedded technologies for in-time, in-line products, processes and supply chains; product and process design for embedded intelligence);
  • System Services: (i) Service Foundations (e.g., data and process integration and semantic enhanced service discovery); (ii) Service Composition (e.g. composability analyses, dynamic and adaptive processes,); (iii) Service Management and Monitoring (e.g. self: -configuring, -adapting, -healing, -optimising and -protecting) and (iv) Service Design and Development (e.g. governance across supply chains).

Intel predicts that the integration of embedded processors with sensors, intelligence, wireless connectivity and other components with high level operating systems, middleware and system integration services for industries including medical, manufacturing, transportation, retail, communication, consumer electronics and energy will take a development direction that makes intelligent designs become a part of all of our lifestyles. The worldwide value of the Embedded Systems market is forecast to be worth €1.5 trillion in revenue by 2015 with the automotive, industrial, communications, healthcare sectors featuring prominently as users. The Embedded Systems is recognized by the UK Technology Strategy Board as one of the strongest sectors with high capability in and high market potential. Numerous government reports highlight the requirement for highly trained and skilled employees to ensure the adoption and implementation of these technologies within new areas. In that respect the CDT-EI has partnered with over 18 Companies and Research Institutes to provide research placements and sponsorships to Ph.D. candidates wishing to apply to this Centre.

Why study with us?

Centre graduates will be at the forefront of the latest developments in Embedded Intelligence and be supported by over 40 academic members of staff at Heriot-Watt and Loughborough specialized in this field. They will be part of a 20-strong cohort of students recruited every year, the majority of which will be working at industrially critical research problems for major companies as well as for SMEs, world-leaders in their fields. 

They will benefit from the EPSR acclaimed "Transition Zone" ethos of work, a unique Training and Development programme comprising:

  1. Leadership, enterprise, innovation management, personal development, impact and social responsibility to facilitate the transition both into the doctoral Centre and also the eventual exit as an employable, high value graduate.
  2. Cohort-forming and personal research roadmapping: with the special feature of a "Foresight" module (a specialist, industrial, international as well as student-led peer-to-peer seminars, briefings) and a directed Reading Club;
  3. Industry-led projects and on-demand industry training packages: group and individual projects with our core industry partners in early years of the programme as well as personalised on-the-floor training activities.
  4. Technical Foundation: comprising core and elective modules that will make them conversant on all aspects of embedded intelligence. 

Applications and contacting us

For details of project and more information about how to apply, see the CDT EI website.

For general enquiries please contact K.E.Brown@hw.ac.uk

For applications, please use the postgraduate application portal : https://myhwu.hw.ac.uk.

On the first screen (Application Type) you should choose "option C", which is PG Research. You should then choose "Electrical PhD" as your programme selection and mention your interest in the "Embedded Intelligence CDT" in your research proposal.

You should upload a CV, previous degree certificates and transcripts as well as references if you have them. If you do not have copies of your references, you should ask your referees to send their reference to pgr.eps@hw.ac.uk. You should also provide a research proposal or a personal statement.