EPS Scholarships for PhD Research from Autumn 2019

Heriot-Watt University has now created additional Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and James Watt Scholarships (JWS) in the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences for 2019.


All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2019. Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype). These scholarships are only open to UK/EU applicants. DTP Studentships are only available for students who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC

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 approx. £14,777 and full fees will be paid, for 3.5 years.

Further Information

Synopses and email addresses

DTP2019/01: Phase boundary mapping for the discovery of improved thermoelectrics

Thermoelectrics convert waste heat into electricity and are considered an important component of a sustainable energy future. This project aims to improve the performance of thermoelectric materials based on abundant elements via modification of the defect chemistry by careful mapping of the phase diagram.

Supervisor: Dr Jan-Willem Bos, j.w.g.bos@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/02: Velocity Map Imaging of the Dynamics of Gas-Liquid Surface Reactions

Cutting edge experimental tools will be used to study the dynamics of atmospherically relevant chemical reactions at the gas-liquid interface. Computational techniques will be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions that occur at the liquid surface.

Supervisor: Dr Stuart Greaves,s.j.greaves@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/03: Computational Modelling of Transition Metal-Main Group (TM-MG) Heterobimetallic Complexes for Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis

Computational modelling will be used to understand the synthesis, reactivity and bonding in TM-MG heterobimetallic complexes. The insight gained will be used to design novel catalysts that exploit the presence of both an electron-rich TM and a Lewis acidic MG metal in the same complex.

Supervisor: Prof. Stuart Macgregor, s.a.macgregor@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/04: Probing ionic liquid surfaces using reactive-atom projectiles

The structure of the extreme outer layers of technologically important ionic liquids and their mixtures will be probed using reactive-atom scattering. This novel method is based on the laser-spectroscopic detection of gas-phase products of reactions between selected atomic projectiles and specific functional groups exposed at the liquid surface.

Supervisor: Prof. Ken McKendrick, k.g.mckendrick@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/05: Development of Polymeric Nanocarriers in Continuous Flow for the Controlled Release of Agrochemicals


This research project will focus on the implementation of continuous flow technologies for the synthesis of monodisperse polymeric nanocarriers of controlled size and shape. The bespoke nanocarriers will be loaded with bioactive compounds (herbicides and pesticides) for increased agricultural productivity whilst mitigating adverse environmental impact.

Supervisors: Dr Filipe Vilela and Dr Valeria Arrighi, f.vilela@hw.ac.uk and v.arrighi@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/01 Dynamics of Inelastic and Reactive Scattering

You will study the dynamics of inelastic energy transfer and reactive scattering relevant to atmospheric chemistry, combustion or astrochemistry using state-of-the-art experimental methods, to determine the underlying mechanisms and improve our understanding of collisions involving attractive forces and multiple pathways.

Supervisor: Prof Matthew Costen, m.l.costen@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/02: Spectroscopy & Dynamics of Atmospherically Relevant Molecules in the Time and Frequency Domains

What happens when a molecule in the atmosphere absorbs a UV photon? Where does the energy go? Which reaction pathways will dominate?

You will use time resolved and frequency resolved techniques to unravel the complex interplay between initial chemical structure, the dynamical timescales of structural change, and the ultimate photochemical function of a molecule.

Supervisor: Dr Stuart Greaves & Dr Dave Townsend, s.j.greaves@hw.ac.uk & d.townsend@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/03: Imaging collisions of OH radicals with liquid surfaces

Collisions of OH radicals with selected liquid surfaces will be studied using a novel combination of molecular beams and laser-based imaging techniques. The results will provide unique new insight into reaction mechanisms at the gas-liquid interface and have real-world relevance to the uptake of OH radicals at the surfaces of atmospheric aerosol particles.

Supervisor: Prof Ken McKendrick, k.g.mckendrick@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/04: Injectable polymer-bound catalysts for targeted chemotherapy

Polymer-bound palladium nanoparticles have the potential to catalyse the reaction from harmless circulating prodrug to potent chemotherapeutic at the tumour site, thereby circumventing systemic side effects. This project aims at harnessing this potential for clinical use, by developing synthetic injectable hydrogels to act as carriers for palladium catalysts.

Supervisor: Dr Ferry Melchels, f.melchels@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/05: Assessment of nanomaterial toxicity using alternative, non-rodent models

The PhD will employ complex 3D in vitro or zebrafish embryo models to assess the toxicity of nanomaterials of varied physico-chemical properties to investigate impacts on the lung, immune system or intestine.

Supervisor: Dr Helinor Johnston, Prof Vicki Stone; h.johnston@hw.ac.uk & v.stone@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/06: Quantum Networking

The Edinburgh Mostly Quantum Lab (EMQL) offers a PhD position in photonic quantum networking, with a focus on multi-party quantum communications with large entangled cluster states. This PhD will be carried out under the umbrella of the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Communications, an EPSRC funded £20M consortium of university and industry partners.

Supervisor: Dr. Alessandro Fedrizzi, a.fedrizzi@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/07: Industrial CASE PhD Studentship - Process fundamentals for the additive manufacture (3D printing) of metals.

Project Description (one or two sentences): This studentship is jointly funded by EPSRC and Renishaw. The aim of this project is to improve the fundamental understanding of laser-powder bed interactions during the powder bed fusion (PBF) process for the additive manufacture (3D printing) of metals. This improved understanding will inform process optimization and effectiveness (in terms of quality and productivity).

Supervisor: Prof. A. J. Moore, a.moore@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/08: Finite element (FE) modelling of the additive manufacture (3D printing) of metals.

Multiphysics modelling, validated by experiments, is enabling us to understand the complex interactions between laser, metal powder and inert gas in the powder bed fusion (PBF) process for the additive manufacture (3D printing) of metals. The aim of this project is to extend the scope of our models to provide further insight for process planning, the production of metal vapour and spatter, and variations in laser absorption in to the powder bed.

Supervisor: Prof. A. J. Moore, a.moore@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/09: Designer two-dimensional heterostructures for quantum photonics

Two-dimensional semiconductors, which can be easily combined to create entirely new materials, offer completely unique opportunities to design the electronic and optical properties of individual particles at the quantum level. This project aims to design, fabricate, and characterize novel quantum devices based on the two-dimensional semiconductor platform with a particular goal of engineering a coherent spin-photon interface.

Supervisor Prof. Brian Gerardot; b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/10: Semiconductor devices for quantum networking

The goal of this project is to develop the key components of a quantum repeater based on individual electronic and nuclear spins, interfaced with photons close to telecom wavelength. The device will be based on silicon carbide, a semiconductor widely used by the microelectronic industry.

Supervisor: Dr Cristian Bonato; c.bonato@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/11: Photoelectron Circular Dichroism as a Chiral Probe

Intense femtosecond laser pulses and charged particle imaging techniques will be used to investigate the phenomenon of photoelectron circular dichroism in chiral molecules.

Supervisor: Dr Dave Townsend; d.townsend@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/12: Time-Resolved Photoelectron Spectroscopy using Hollow-Core Photonic Crystal Fibres.

Recent advances in hollow-core photonic crystal fibre technology now permit widely tuneable generation of femtosecond light pulses in the ultraviolet spectral region. This approach will be combined with time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy to study the ultrafast dynamics of non-radiative energy redistribution within the excited states of small, biologically relevant molecules.

Supervisor: Dr Dave Townsend; d.townsend@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/07: Miniature femtosecond laser frequency combs for astrophotonics and quantum metrology

This project concerns the development and application of Yb-based femtosecond lasers operating at pulse repetition rates in the few-GHz range, and their stabilisation as full "frequency combs" using novel nonlinear supercontinuum devices. Applications will be developed in tandem with our partners at NPL (quantum timekeeping) and in collaboration with the astronomy community (astrocombs for spectrograph calibration).

Supervisor: Prof. Derryck Reid; D.T.Reid@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/13: 3D printing of micro-scale graded shape memory components for in-vivo actuated medical devices

Micro-robots for medicine require highly controlled actuation at a micro-scale to provide controlled motion, testing of tissue compliance, biopsy, etc, and this is a prospect offered by functionally-graded shape memory alloys (SMAs). This project is focused on developing a laser-based 3D printing process to manufacture mm-scale SMA components that are functionally graded at a scale of 10's of microns. Supervisor: Prof. Duncan Hand, D.P.Hand@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/14: Theoretical PhD project on quantum communication and quantum information

This PhD project will be on some aspect of quantum communication or quantum measurements. The exact topic is to be decided in discussion with the applicant; topics that we currently work on in this research group include quantum oblivious transfer and optimal quantum state elimination measurements. There are also excellent opportunities to collaborate with experimentalists at Heriot-Watt and elsewhere to realise the protocols we come up with.

Supervisor: Prof. Erika Andersson, e.andersson@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/15: Quantum-Enhanced Imaging in Extreme Environments

Single-Photon and photon-pair correlated imaging has opened up a number of exciting possibilities for three-dimensional imaging in extreme environments such as imaging through obscurants (eg fog, smoke), and underwater. This PhD project will examine imaging in number of scenarios and will work with the EPSRC Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging.

Supervisor: Prof. Gerald Buller, G.S.Buller@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/16: Next Generation Components for Quantum Communication

Quantum Communications has the potential to provide verifiably secure communications, guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics. This PhD will examine aspects of quantum communications, including quantum amplifiers and quantum random number generators. This PhD project will work closely with the EPSRC Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Communications.

Supervisor: Prof. Gerald Buller, G.S.Buller@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/17: Quantum Image Teleportation with Entangled Light Sources

Quantum entanglement enables secure communication and the teleportation of information across a quantum network. Until now, quantum teleportation has only been achieved for low-dimensional systems, and as a result, it has never been achieved for images. In this PhD project, we will implement the first high-dimensional teleportation protocol suitable for teleporting the information contained in images.

Supervisor: Dr Jonathan Leach, j.leach@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/18: Ultrafast lasers for surgical applications

New technologies aimed at enabling the practical use ultrafast picosecond/femtosecond lasers in modern surgical procedures will be investigated. This can include modelling of laser/tissue interactions in the ultrafast regime, novel beam delivery technologies and developing complementary optical monitoring and sensing technologies.

Supervisor: Dr Jon Shephard, j.d.shephard@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/19: Laser controlled nanoparticle deposition

Jetting of nanoparticle inks is a key additive manufacturing technology enabling direct writing of multi-material multi-functional components. The ability of lasers to enhance the ink curing process in real time will be studied along with the use of lasers to tailor surface properties and control deposition.

Supervisor: Dr Jon Shephard, j.d.shephard@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/20: New optical components and devices from micro-structured fibres

A range of hollow core micro-structured fibres have been developed over the past 10 years with promising and unique optical properties. This project will investigate ways to vastly increase the application of such fibres using novel post processing techniques (such as laser micro-machining) in order to realise a new class of optical devices and components.

Supervisor: Dr Jon Shephard, j.d.shephard@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/21: Ultra-nonlinear epsilon-near-zero flat optics

Design and characterization of different artificial materials for the design of ultra-fast tuneable photonics devices. Giant epsilon-near-zero nonlinearities are targeted to allow subwavelength manipulation of light in both classic and quantum regime.

Supervisor: Dr. Marcello Ferrera; M.Ferrera@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/22: Index-near-zero-embedded optical resonators

Optical cavities (nanoantennas, micro-ring resonators, Fabry-Perot nanocavities, etc.) immersed in an index-near-zero environment will be modelled, fabricated, and characterized. The devices are predicted to show superior performance in terms of energy efficiency, optical nonlinearities, and coupling properties.

Supervisor: Dr. Marcello Ferrera; M.Ferrera@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/08: New insights into the ultrafast optical physics of quantum-confined semiconductors

You will develop new techniques for the ultrafast optical characterisation of semiconductor materials under realistic laser/amplifier operating conditions, generating new knowledge essential for the development of novel ultrafast semiconductor lasers and amplifiers.

Supervisor: Dr. Maria Ana Cataluna m.cataluna@hw.ac.uk



JWS2019/09: Extreme physics of ultrafast semiconductor lasers

You will explore the limits of ultrashort pulse generation in electrically-pumped semiconductor lasers and develop novel techniques to push their characteristics further (e.g. optical power, pulse duration), enabling the development of the next generation of ultrafast semiconductor lasers.

Supervisor: Dr. Maria Ana Cataluna m.cataluna@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/23: Quantum Communication beyond Qubits

High-dimensional entanglement in the temporal and spatial photonic degrees of freedom will be used to surpass the distance and noise limitations of state-of-the-art quantum communication systems.

Supervisor: Dr. Mehul Malik, m.malik@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/24: Quantum Information Processing with Complex Scattering Media

Control over the scattering process inside multi-mode fibers will be used for designing quantum logic gates and multi-port beam splitters for generating and manipulating high-dimensional quantum states of light.

Supervisor: Dr. Mehul Malik, m.malik@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/25: Quasi-phase-matching parametric interactions in tapered waveguides

The project is devoted to explore different nonlinear interactions in novel microstructures to develop new vast classical and quantum applications. We aim to offer new platforms that can be developed into novel practical optical devices in the near future. Our particular interest is to harness four-wave mixing parametric interactions in structures such as periodically-tapered waveguides to efficiently generate photons at any on-demand frequencies

Supervisor: Dr. Mohammed F. Saleh, m.saleh@hw.ac.uk


DTP2019/26: 3D laser beam shaping

Combining 2D beam shaping elements (including refractive and diffractive elements) with bespoke focussing optics to shape a laser beam though the entire focal volume rather than in a single focal plane.supervisor: Dr Richard Carter, r.m.carter@hw.ac.uk
DTP2019/27: Flat optics for system integration
Flat optics has provided new opportunities for the development of ultrathin devices with unusual functionalities, which are ideal for device miniaturization and system integration. This project will concentrate on the simultaneous control of phase and polarisation at subwavelength scales and develop novel devices for new applications (e.g., quantum entanglement, optical tweezers).
Supervisor: Dr Xianzhong Chen, x.chen@hw.ac.uk

DTP2019/28: Developing new concepts and novel optical devices
The candidate will explore the novel optical properties of various nanostructures based on metals (e.g., gold and silver) and dielectrics (e.g., amorphous silicon, titanium dioxide). Based on their optical properties, the nanostructures will be used for producing novel photonic devices such as ultrathin optical devices with unusual functionalities.
Supervisor: Dr Xianzhong Chen, x.chen@hw.ac.uk



DTP2019/29: Quantum Phase Transitions Driven by Quantum Fields

Quantum phase transitions describe dramatic changes in the properties of a quantum many-body system. An example is a ferromagnet that becomes a paramagnet as the strength of an applied magnetic field is increased beyond a threshold value and the spins in the magnet align to it.
Whereas such an applied magnetic field is usually modeled as a classical field, you will investigate in this project how this scenario changes if it is a quantum field.
Supervisor: Michael Hartmann, email: m.j.hartmann@hw.ac.uk



JWS2019/10: Advanced computational methods for improved cancer monitoring and personalised treatment

This project consists of investigating advanced image processing methods (2D/3D segmentation, image restoration, object detection…) to extract information about tumours and surrounding tissues in order to complement information provided by local measurements (e.g., pH/O2 readings, biopsis…).
Supervisor: Prof. Stephen McLaughlin, S.McLaughlin@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/11: Approximate Bayesian methods for scalable inference

This project consists of investigating new approximate Bayesian methods for fast and robust estimation in high dimensional problem. The methods to be developed will be applied to imaging and sensing problems in low-illumination settings.

Supervisor: Dr Yoann Altmann, Y.Altmann@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/12: Laser machining of ceramics for medical ultrasound applications

This project will focus on the ultrashort pulsed laser singulation of complex 3D ultrasound arrays for medical device applications, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and other partners.

Supervisor: Prof. Duncan Hand, D.P.Hand@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/13: Physical Layer Technologies for Future Generation (5G+) Wireless Communications

The aim of this PhD project is to develop novel physical layer technologies non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA)/ Full-Duplex transceiver designs into the next generation mobile networks to achieve significantly enhanced spectrum efficiencies.
Supervisor: Prof. Mathini Sellathurai, M.Sellathurai@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/14: Development of low-carbon aviation fuels through the integration of CO2 and biomass utilisation

The aim of this project is the production of low-carbon jet fuels through the integration of novel technologies, including CO2 and biomass utilisation and co-electrolysis to produce a jet fuel that has lower environmental impact than conventional fuels. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions.
Supervisor: Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer, M.Maroto-Valer@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/15: Sustainable Cold Chain from Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Regasification Sites

Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is a major global energy solution that uses up to 3 % of the energy stored in the gas when regasified. Typically, an LNG site wastes 20-30 MW of cold and this project will deal with the Sustainable Cold Chain from Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Regasification Sites. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions.
Supervisor: Dr John Andresen, J.Andresen@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/16: Understanding CO2 storage in geological formations

Geological storage can help to mitigate CO2 emissions provided that long-term safe storage is ensured. Hence, this project aims to improve our understanding of the interactions between CO2-brine and cement/fault-related host rocks to assess the possible risk of CO2 leakage. Detailed experimental investigations will include batch and core flood studies coupled with micro CT and numerical simulations. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions.
Supervisor: Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer, M.Maroto-Valer@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/17: Development of novel sorbent materials for integrated energy-efficient industrial CO2 capture

Industrial processes account for 25% of total EU CO2 emissions, and moreover, they are already operating at or close to the theoretical limits of efficiency. Therefore, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the only technology that can deliver the required emission reductions (EU 2050 targets). The aim of the project is to develop improved, versatile and novel advanced materials to reduce cost and accelerate deployment of industrial CO2 capture. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions.
Supervisor: Dr Susana Garcia, S.Garcia@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/18: Hydrodynamics of Particle-Laden Flows

Particle-laden flows are important in a wide variety of engineering, industrial, and environmental applications: e.g., fluidised bed reactors, pharmaceutical manufacturing, clean particle technologies or volcanic ashes. This researcher will develop new numerical tools for these flows.
Supervisor: Dr Kokou Dadzie, K.Dadzie@hw.ac.uk


JWS2019/19: Investigating the Hydrodynamics of Particle-Laden Flow

The project will investigated particle-particle and particle-fluid interactions in fluid-solid systems. It will concentrate on the development of new constitutive equations which could be employed in large scale modelling of processes where particle-laden flow are employed.
Supervisor: Professor Raffaella Ocone, R.Ocone@hw.ac.uk


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 'Study Option'

You will need to select 'Edinburgh' and 'Postgraduate Research'. 'Programme' presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD, Bio-science & Bio-Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select October 2018 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)


(b) in 'Research Project Information'

You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the potential supervisor's name.


This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.


Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.

2. Applications

Applications must be made through the Heriot-Watt on-line application system, https://www.hw.ac.uk/study/apply/uk/postgraduate.htm

3. Closing Date

All applications must be received by Friday 8th February 2019. All successful candidates must commence studies by 1st December 2019 at the very latest.