EPS Scholarships 2021

EPS Scholarships for PhD Research from Autumn 2021

Heriot-Watt University has now created scholarship opportunities in the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences for 2021-22.

Requirements

All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2021. Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or via Microsoft Teams). Most of these scholarships are only open to UK/EU applicants and for students who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/guidance-on-epsrc-studentships/eligibility/ For some projects, applications may be accepted for exceptional overseas applicants.

Level of Award

There are a number of scholarships available. Generally these offer an annual stipend payment of approx. £15,000 per year and cover fees for between 3 and 3.5 years

 

Further Information

 

EPS2021/01: Bioelectric devices for quality assessment in human islet transplant surgery

Pancreatic Islet transplantation may lead to insulin independence in patients with Type 1 diabetes, but outcomes are associated with islet numbers and viability. Objective assessment would enable more pancreases to be used, better isolation and maintenance protocols developed, and more transplants. As healthy islets respond to glucose challenge with a robust electrical signal, we will develop a device using this feature to assess rapidly the viability of islets in collaboration with clinical and industrial collaborators.

Supervisor: Dr Euan Robert Brown , email: Euan.R.Brown@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/02: Tracking of ultrasound microbubbles beyond the diffraction limit for microvessel mapping.

 

The project will develop image analysis methodology for ultrasound images aiming to provide super-resolution mapping of the vascular bed 10 times better resolution than current methods.

Ultrasound imaging uses microbubbles as efficient sound scatterers to derive information on blood flow. This project will investigate a revolutionary method whereby images of maps of microvessels are formed by tracking individual microbubbles that are available in the blood stream. The work involves sophisticated image analysis using statistical models. The aim is to produce a new technology that enables the visualisation of a number of diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease) with near microscopic accuracy.

Supervisor: Dr Vassilis Sboros

Email: V.Sboros@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/03: Super-resolution ultrasound microbubble tracking.

The project will develop signal based methodology for ultrasound images aiming to provide novel beamforming and tracking methods for application in vascular imaging.

A revolutionary ultrasound imaging approach will be developed using adaptive sensing methods, first applied in radar, astronomy and optical microscopy, aiming to produce a diagnostic imaging tool that provides images from inside the human body with microscopic accuracy. The technique is based on adaptive array beamforming methodologies. The study design includes experiments in both laboratory and simulation environments. The final target is to generate a prototype tool for use in preclinical disease models.

Supervisor: Dr Vassilis Sboros, email V.Sboros@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/04: Deep Eutectic Solvent and Supercritical Fluid Extraction of High Value Chemicals from Agri-Food Waste

Green waste from agricultural production (e.g. potato haulms, tomato vines) are a rich source of bioactive secondary metabolites with exploitation potential. However, extracting them is difficult due to the complex structure of the plant matrix. In collaboration with the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (Prof. Derek Stewart), the student will explore the suitability of two emerging extraction methods, deep eutectic solvents and supercritical fluid extraction for recovering high value chemicals from plant waste.

Supervisor: Prof. Stephen Robert Euston , email: S.R.Euston@h w.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/05: By-PATH: By-products to protein and algae to Hydrogen

Horizon Proteins Ltd. (HP) will work with Heriot-Watt University's (HWU) Institute for Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering (IB3) on a joint PhD project to investigate pot ale and spent wash (the key liquid by-products from malt and grain whisky production, respectively). The project will use the residual carbohydrate fraction from deproteinated pot ale as a feedstock for algal H2 generation via algal strain selection, culture conditions and process and feedstock optimisation. H2 is an emerging transport fuel and with its use also been suggested for thermal energy in distilleries, it is clear that this project could have immense environmental and commercial benefits.

Supervisor: Prof. Nik Willoughby, email: N.A.Willoughby@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/06: Microfluidic sample preparation for circulating nucleic acid based bloodstream infection identification

Pathogens causing bloodstream infections shed nucleic acids which can be isolated, and utilised to produce fast, robust diagnostic data, without the need for conventional blood culture. However, the pre-analytical step is a bottleneck restricting their clinical implementation. The clinical microfluidic group is seeking a talented individual to develop clinically and industrially-relevant novel micro or mesoscale fluidic technology for a radical and sustainable new approach to bloodstream pathogen identification, instantly preserving biomarker integrity and reducing the time to result in critical situations.

Supervisor: Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas , email: m.kersaudy-kerhoas@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/07: Improved sample processing techniques for waterborne pathogen detection

Sample processing is a critical step in disease diagnostics, concentrating and isolating the pathogen of interest from complex matrices to facilitate downstream detection processes. This project works with waterborne pathogens, specifically Cryptosporidium, to tackle the challenges involved in the concentration of this pathogen from large volume water samples, as required in the approved testing protocols. This PhD is in collaboration with Biopoint, Australia, and offers the opportunity to spend 9 months in Australia working with the industrial partner.

Supervisor: Dr Helen Bridle, email: h.l.bridle@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/08: Primary school engineers: tackling stereotypes and inspiring the next generation

 

There have been numerous initiatives to attract young people into engineering, a sector which suffers from a lack of diversity and a huge skills shortage. However, there has been little success and research suggests it is important to start early. This project will explore what activities and approaches are most successful in introducing engineering to 3-7 year olds, as well as consider the roles and attitudes of families and teachers. The student will work closely with local schools and in collaboration with wider partners, linking with Dr Bridle's Engagement Champions project.

Supervisor: Dr Helen Bridle, email: h.l.bridle@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/09: PhD Position in Computational Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis.

A range of projects are available reflecting the ongoing interests of the group and can be tailored to the interests and experience of the candidate. Projects include: (i) transition metal-catalysed C-H functionalisation reactions; (ii) understanding the electronic structure of heterobimetallic complexes as a basis for their use in catalysis (iii) the molecular organometallic chemistry of sigma-alkane complexes in the solid state. All projects involve close collaboration with experimental groups.

Supervisor: Professor Stuart A. Macgregor, email: s.a.macgregor@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/10: Surface-Hopping Dynamics of Electronically Excited Processes in Photochemistry and Scattering

This project will involve simulation of electronically excited molecules undergoing various processes including quenching through collision, reactive photochemistry, internal conversion and intersystem crossing. Of particular interest will be contrasting approaches for unimolecular and bimolecular processes. This work will tie into our ongoing work in theoretical photochemistry and collaboration with leading experimental groups in both molecular scattering and ultrafast photochemistry, funded in part through a major EPSRC Programme Grant (https://molecularscattering.com/).

Supervisor: Prof. Martin J. Paterson, email: m.j.paterson@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/11: Inelastic and Reactive Scattering Dynamics of NO and OH

The NO and OH radicals are important in a wide range of environments, including planetary atmospheres, combustion and technological plasmas. You will use state-of-the-art crossed molecular beam scattering methods, with velocity-map ion-imaging detection, to probe the dynamics of the inelastic and reactive scattering of NO and OH in unprecedented detail. In collaboration with theoreticians, you will determine the specific scattering mechanisms involved, and hence the underlying potential energy surfaces describing the molecular interactions. This work is part of a large collaboration funded through a major EPSRC Programme Grant (https://molecularscattering.com/).

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

 

EPS2021/12: Dynamics of Atmospherically Relevant Gas-Liquid Surface Reactions I: Velocity-Map Imaging Probes

You will study chemical reactions at the gas-liquid interface in unprecedented detail, using high-resolution laser-based techniques coupled with velocity-map imaging (VMI) methods. This imaging technique allows us to take 'pictures' of the fate of products of a chemical reaction, which will enable us to develop an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms involved with reactants such as Cl radicals. In combination with computational techniques, you will be able to unravel the intricate multichannel dynamics that occur at atmospherically relevant gas-liquid interfaces with unprecedented resolution. This work is part of a large collaboration funded through a major EPSRC Programme Grant (https://molecularscattering.com/).

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

 

EPS2021/13: Dynamics of Atmospherically Relevant Gas-Liquid Surface Reactions II: Real-Space Imaging and Advanced Laser Absorption Probes

You will develop and exploit novel, laser-based techniques to probe the scattering of key reactive molecules, such as the OH radical, at liquid surfaces. Sequences of laser-induced fluorescence real-space images will reveal the survival probability and speed and angular distributions of the scattered OH. This will provide unprecedented mechanistic insight on reactions at different liquid and related surfaces chosen to mimic atmospheric aerosol surfaces. It will be complemented by additional novel laser-absorption methods that probe the products of these reactions directly. This work is part of a large collaboration funded through a major EPSRC Programme Grant (https://molecularscattering.com/).

Supervisor: Prof Kenneth G. McKendrick, email: k.g.mckendrick@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/14: Reactive-Atom Scattering as a Novel Probe of Ionic-Liquid Surfaces

Ionic liquids have a unique combination of physical properties. Among their wealth of potential applications are processes, such as multiphase catalysis, where their surfaces are of primary interest. You will develop new methods to probe their composition and structure, building on our recent demonstration that reactive-atom scattering coupled with laser-induced fluorescence has high surface selectivity and chemical specificity. This work is part of an EPSRC-funded project, in which the collaborators will provide expertise in chemical synthesis, complementary measurements, and industrially relevant applications.

Supervisor: Prof Kenneth G. McKendrick, email: k.g.mckendrick@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/15: Cheap and Clean: Zero Waste Catalytic Generation of Bio-based Fine Chemicals via Hydrogen Mediated Pathways

The project involves the development of a step change integrated approach to replace current inefficient and non-selective catalytic hydrogenation technologies in the productions of fine chemicals.

Hydrogenation is a core process in industrial chemistry, accounting for 30-40% of (fine and bulk)
chemical manufacture. Commercial hydrogenation is typically operated under excess of pressurised gaseous H2 in order to maximise product yield. This is a significant obstacle to the realisation of viable industrial processes. Although hydrogen is the most abundant element, it does not occur naturally in gaseous form. Current hydrogen production relies on fossil fuel technologies, notably methane steam reforming and coal gasification. Issues of sustainable production and safe handling are drivers for alternative sources of hydrogen and/or hydrogen donors. This project provides a novel solution that tackles the issue of H2 generation and utilisation by the use of a tandem catalytic technology that can be utilised in hydrogenation where two valuable products are synthesised. The project tackles three major issues in current catalytic hydrogenation processes, namely, (i) hydrogen generation and
utilisation, (ii) non-renewables feedstocks and (iii) sustainable production via the development of a process that meets the principles of green chemistry for sustainable production.

Supervisor: Dr. Fernando Cárdenas-Lizana, email: f.cardenaslizana@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

 

EPS2021/16: Biodegradable polymer platform for co-delivery of antibiotics with controlled release

This project aims to develop biodegradable polymer materials for co-delivery of antimicrobials to treat the increasing number of multidrug-resistant infections, tackling the global issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Pilot studies have shown that the materials being developed are responsive to bacterial degradation and can enhance antibiotic action. We will examine the efficacy of these polymers in the delivery and antibacterial activity of various combination of inorganic and organic antibiotics to reference and multidrug-resistant bacterial strains. We will also study the degradation behaviour of these polymer materials in presence of bacteria or enzymes and establish the drug release profile. The student will learn about materials synthesis and characterisations, antimicrobial compounds and antimicrobial activity assays. This project will highlight the importance of cross-disciplinary research in design and development of agents for use in biomedicine.

Supervisors: Dr. Humphrey Yiu and Prof. David Smith, email: h.h.yiu@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/17: Compressible Turbulence Models from Transformed Navier-Stokes Equation Perspectives

Description: High speed flow aerodynamics in aerospace engineering relies on the fundamental understanding of compressible gas dynamics. While various turbulence models exist in incompressible flows, compressible turbulence flow problems remain one of the unresolved fluid mechanic problems. Effects of density variation play an important role in compressible turbulence. However, these effect interpretations and modelling are still not well understood. This project involves constructing new compressible turbulence flow theory using continuum flow equations beyond the classical Navier-Stokes conventional model. It consists of a theoretical development, numerical implementations and testing.

Supervisor name: Dr. S Kokou Dadzie (Associate Professor)

Supervisor HWU email address: k.dadzie@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP* or JWS

Subject areas: Fluid Dynamics; Mechanical Engineering; Applied Mathematics;

 

EPS2021/18: Particle-laden flows: aerosols

Description: Air quality control relies on the simulation of aerosol dynamics. This research project is to develop new theoretical models and simulation tools for these particle-laden flows.

Supervisor name: Dr. S Kokou Dadzie (Associate Professor)

Supervisor HWU email address: k.dadzie@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS or DTP*

Subject areas: Fluid Dynamics; Mechanical Engineering; Applied Mathematics; Environmental Engineering

 

EPS2021/19: Particle-laden flows: aerosols

Air quality control relies on the simulation of aerosol dynamics. This research project is to develop new theoretical models and simulation tools for these particle-laden flows.

Supervisor: Dr. S Kokou Dadzie, email: k.dadzie@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/20: Model development and simulation of novel processes for CO2 direct air capture from the atmosphere - PhD in Chemical Engineering

Short project description: mathematical/numerical modelling of cyclic adsorption-desorption processes for direct air capture of CO2. Process design and simulation.

Long description: The direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere is a technology that will become essential to combat climate change. This can be done using either liquid solvents or solid adsorbents, where the solid adsorbents seem to present a number of advantages compared to solvents. The solid sorbent materials used for direct air capture of CO2 are mostly reactive materials, such as amine enhanced silica or alumina. There are currently a handful of start-up companies worldwide, who pioneer direct air capture with the use of solid, chemical adsorbents.

Standard adsorption-desorption cycles for direct air capture have been developed and are commercialised, but the investigation of direct air capture processes is just in its infancy. This implies that there is much room to develop more efficient or fit-for-purpose adsorption processes. An established way to do this is through mathematical modelling and simulation. During the PhD, the candidate will develop these models and will use them to investigate innovative cycles, which may lead to better performance in terms of energy consumption and costs. Work is based at Heriot-Watt, but some visits to industrial/academic partners may be necessary. More information on the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions: https://rccs.hw.ac.uk

Contact: Dr. Mijndert van der Spek, email M.van_der_spek@hw.ac.uk

The subject areas: Chemical engineering; Energy; Environmental engineering; Applied mathematics

EPS2021/21: Production of solar fuels

Large-scale, economic photoconversion of CO2 into solar fuels represents a formidable scientific and technical challenge. Existing processes suffer low productivity due to a lack of appropriate reactor designs able to efficiently introduce light, reactants and a suitable photocatalyst into simultaneous contact, and to effect subsequent product separation and recycling of unreacted CO2. This project focuses on developing novel materials and photoreactors that can achieve efficient hydrocarbon conversion and separation from CO2 for solar fuel production. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (https://rccs.hw.ac.uk), an interdisciplinary world leading engineering centre, inspiring and delivering innovation for the wider deployment of technologies needed to meet necessary carbon targets.

Supervisor: Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer, email: M.Maroto-Valer@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/22: Sustainable Cold Chain from Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Regasification Sites

Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is doubling every ten years and is fast becoming a major global energy solution. However, when the LNG is returned from liquid to gas state up to 3 % of the energy stored in the gas is needed for regasification. 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 (https://rccs.hw.ac.uk), an interdisciplinary world leading engineering centre, inspiring and delivering innovation for the wider deployment of technologies needed to meet necessary carbon targets.

Supervisor: Dr John Andresen, email: j.andresen@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/23: Understanding reactive flow in porous media

The security of water, food and energy supplies depend on a thorough understanding of flow processes at the pore scale and scaling up at macroscopic scale. Following Prof Maroto-Valer's prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Award, we are building up a multidisciplinary team to conduct collaborative interdisciplinary research on the creation of relevant model systems representing porous media, carry out laboratory experiments on such models and conduct numerical modelling to validate experimental data. This will allow us to unlock engineering research challenges in reactive transport in porous networks, transforming technological and environmental engineering applications. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (https://rccs.hw.ac.uk), an interdisciplinary world leading engineering centre, inspiring and delivering innovation for the wider deployment of technologies needed to meet necessary carbon targets.

Supervisor: Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer, email: M.Maroto-Valer@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/24: Design of multifunctional Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs)-based materials for carbon capture and photocatalytic conversion

The project aims to design novel multifunctional materials that can capture carbon and convert it to a valuable chemical or fuel. The application of MOFs for photocatalytic CO2 reduction has been largely unexplored so far and has emerged recently as a means of addressing global energy demands and contributing to reduce current CO2 emissions. Recent work demonstrate that MOF-based materials hold great promise for applications in the field of CO2 capture and conversion applications, namely for CO2 photoreduction to fuels and chemicals. However, to address current challenges in using MOFs in photocatalytic systems, extensive research needs to be conducted. This project will investigate the photocatalytic mechanism of CO2 reduction over MOF-based materials and establish a correlation between composition-structure-performance of MOFs than can ultimately lead to the rational design and development of stable MOFs with the optimum characteristics for CO2 capture and conversion applications. The performance of the MOF-based materials will be further optimised through the use of novel photoreactor designs currently available at our group. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (https://rccs.hw.ac.uk), an interdisciplinary world leading engineering centre, inspiring and delivering innovation for the wider deployment of technologies needed to meet necessary carbon targets.

Supervisor: Dr Susana Garcia, email: S.Garcia@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/25:Developing ocean alkalinity enhancement technologies to prevent climate change and protect ecosystems

To mitigate the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems, and the human populations that depend on them, some are proposing proactive stewardship of our marine environments. For instance, the effects of ocean acidification could be mitigated by adding crushed rocks and minerals to the oceans (also known as 'ocean alkalinity enhancement'). Weathering of rocks is a natural process that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and increases the alkalinity of the ocean. However, it would take thousands of years for this process to consume the excess CO2 produced from anthropogenic sources that currently resides in the atmosphere. By increasing ocean alkalinity, it may be possible to mimic natural weathering processes so that it is applicable on climate policy relevant timescales. The aim of this project is to develop novel methods of increasing ocean alkalinity, develop fundamental chemical and material data needed to assess their engineering feasibility. This project will be conducted at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (https://rccs.hw.ac.uk) an interdisciplinary world leading engineering centre, inspiring and delivering innovation for the wider deployment of technologies needed to meet necessary carbon targets.

Supervisor: Dr Phil Renforth, p.renforth@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/26:Tracking the fate of plastic biodegradation under environmentally relevant conditions

This project aims to identify the biological and geochemical/physical processes involved in controlling the fate of plastics (of different polymer types) under different environmental settings. It will utilise sophisticated techniques in microbial ecology, such as DNA-based stable-isotope probing (DNA-SIP), to trace the fate of isotopically-labelled plastics through biological systems; a focus will be on the microorganisms participating in this process as they are commonly the protagonists in the fate of pollutants, like plastics, in the environment. A major benefit in applying SIP-based methods is in the ability to link phylogenetic identity with a specific metabolic function, in which respect this is the biodegradation of plastics.

Around the world, and especially in South East (SE) Asian region, we are facing one of the most important marine plastic pollution crises on our planet, threatening the biodiversity of marine ecosystems, coastal tourism, fisheries and aquaculture. Plastics debris are persistent in the marine environment and are dominated by the smaller abundant plastic particles (<5 mm) defined as microplastics (MPs) that are of increasing concern. The toxicity of marine MPs vary with their abundance, size, shape, chemical properties, and composition of the microbial biofilm. The surface of MP particles, referred to as the plastisphere, serves as a support for the colonisation of microorganisms where they may be protected area with limited predation. Microbial biofilms inhabiting the plastisphere are specific to this habitat. The microbial community colonising MPs, presents a wide range of metabolic functions, is composed of different trophic levels (e.g. phototrophs, (photo)heterotrophs, symbionts), and can include both plastic degraders and/or harmful pathogens. Determining the microbial composition of the plastisphere and the environmental conditions favouring the degradation of the plastic polymer is of critical and immediate importance. This project will uncover the microbial processes involved using sophisticated microbiological and biomolecular techniques, with a focus on marine and soil systems.

The student will conduct their PhD with Dr. Tony Gutierrez, Associate Professor of Environmental Microbiology & Biotechnology at Heriot-Watt, who leads a research group in microbial ecology and biotechnology focusing on the response and evolution of microbial systems to anthropogenic perturbations, and the development of biotechnologies using microbes and their products to combat pollution and for commercial applications.

Supervisor: Dr. Tony Gutierrez, email: tony.gutierrez@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

Subject areas: Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Environmental Science

 

EPS2021/27:Crumbling reefs: Simulation based monitoring of coral reefs

Short project description: The project aims to develop computational models to analyse the impact of ocean acidification on cold-water coral reefs. Our vision is to facilitate rapid monitoring strategies that can help to preserve some of the most vulnerable ecosystems. To realise this, we aim to develop fast and effective multiscale in silico models from coral skeleton to reef length scale to predict the ocean acidification induced decay of cold-water coral reef systems. A major challenge is the ability to such complex systems, and we aim to overcome this by combining the power of multiscale models based on physical knowledge with the speed of artificial neural networks.

Long description: Cold-water corals (CWC) are key habitat-forming organisms found throughout the world's oceans from 30 to 3000 m deep which are threatened by climate change induced ocean acidification. The complex three-dimensional frameworks made by these vulnerable marine ecosystems support high biodiversity and commercially important species compared to neighbouring, less complex habitats. If this habitat complexity was reduced, the ability of these habitats to support high levels of biodiversity would decrease. Recent experiments suggest that this reduction is due to a reduced structural integrity of the coral skeleton. This would allow development of monitoring and assessment strategies of these ecosystems (similar to strength or lifetime analyses) based on the structural integrity of CWC reefs, and determination of how this may change under projected future ocean acidification scenarios.

However, the complexity of the tissue generates demanding and long simulations due to huge computational power and time requirements. Together with the sheer size of reef structures explicit computational methods such as the finite element method are not viable. Alternatively, multiscale computational models coupled with artificial neural networks are fast, effective, and low cost once a database constructed from highly resolved CT-based multiscale simulation results is provided for training. While the first is able to capture the underlying multiscale mechanical behaviour across length scales, the latter is able to explore massive parameter spaces and create fast and effective 'surrogate' models which produce similar results at significant computation time gains. Physically constraint artificial neural networks could mitigate the short-comings of highly resolved CT-based multiscale computational modelling and facilitate fast and effective monitoring tools. Therefore, the project aims at

i. developing a multiscale mechanical model of the coral skeleton that integrates existing micromechanical experimental and multimodal imaging data to analyse the risk of cold-water coral crumbling with regards to environmental stressors,

ii. develop physically constraint artificial neural networks to facilitate fast and effective surrogate models that allow for multiscale mechanical analyses from skeleton to reef scale.

Impact: Given the importance of cold-water habitats the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity has recently stated that there is "a need to develop predictive model research to determine how projected climate change will impact cold-water biodiversity over different timescales". If successful, this project will help to close this gap.

Supervisor name: Dr Uwe Wolfram (Heriot-Watt University), Dr Sebastian Hennige (University of Edinburgh)

Supervisor HWU email address: u.wolfram@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

Subject areas: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Biophysics, Data Analyses, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science & IT, Environmental Engineering, Geophysics

 

EPS2021/28:Fast and effective personalised multiscale modelling for precision medicine in musculoskeletal diseases.

Short project description: Motivated by the pressing need for treatment optimisation in musculoskeletal diseases, our vision is to create a clinical point-of-care test that uses X-rays to visualise mechanical analyses of long bones such as the femur to illustrate potential therapeutic success in a couple of minutes, without adding significant time to patient consultations or training needs for clinicians. To realise this, we aim to develop fast and effective patient-specific in silico models to predict the multiscale mechanical behaviour of long bones. These combine the power of multiscale models based on physical knowledge with the speed of artificial neural networks.

Long description: Musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, or bone metastases affect approximately 20% of UK's inhabitants and millions of patients in ageing societies world-wide. These diseases lead to decreased quality of life, lowered productivity, increased mortality and cause significant annual costs. For example, osteoporosis alone results in approximately 70,000 hip fractures amongst over 300,000 fragility fractures annually in the UK causing £2 billion associated costs and this burden is expected to quadruple over the next decades as UK's society is rapidly ageing. Pharmacological osteoporosis treatments exist but are insufficient in a significant number of patients. Moreover, no effective pharmacological treatment is available for osteoarthritis or bone metastases so that implants are often the only option. While life expectancy continues to rise, patient specific treatment solutions to optimally manage those patients are still not available.

Treatment optimisation such as monitoring tailored medication strategies or model-based manufacturing of tailored, potentially smart implants and their monitoring, are potential solutions. Those smart devices could be bolstered by predictive ad hoc simulations to realise biologic digital twins. Computational models for musculoskeletal tissues exist and provide high-fidelity physics of the underlying multiscale mechanical behaviour. However, tissue complexity generates demanding and long simulations due to huge computational power and time requirements. Together with the sheer number of patients, the benefit to cost of image-based modelling for personalised computational tissue analyses becomes an issue that renders CT-based patient-specific multiscale models unusable in a clinical setting or to aid patients in daily routines, especially when multiple parameters are varied.

Alternatively, multiscale computational models coupled with artificial neural networks are fast, effective, and low cost once a database constructed from highly resolved CT-based multiscale simulation results is provided for training. While the first is able to capture the underlying multiscale mechanical behaviour across length scales, the latter is able to explore massive parameter spaces and create fast and effective 'surrogate' models which produce similar results at significant computation time gains. Patient-specific surrogate models (i.e. physically constraint artificial neural network) could mitigate the short-comings of highly resolved CT-based multiscale and facilitate a point of care test that could transform the quality and efficiency of information needed in precision medicine. For the femur, we aim to (i) integrate limited clinical imaging data (e.g. X-rays); (ii) personalised multiscale material behaviour; to (iii) develop fast and effective surrogate models that allow for multiscale mechanical analyses but in computation times usable in clinical routines.

Impact: Physically constraint artificial neural network Computational models could be a cornerstone in digital healthcare to tackle the socioeconomic burden associated with bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and bone cancer. This includes improved diagnoses, the manufacturing of custom implants and the monitoring of bone implant systems in personalised precision medicine. If successful, the project will have direct, positive impact on realising this vision.

Supervisor: Dr Uwe Wolfram, email: u.wolfram@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

Subject areas: Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Medical / Biomedical Physics, Data Analyses, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science & IT

 

EPS2021/29:Design of a collaborative parallel robot

Collaborative robots work along humans in a shared space and are being used for more and more applications. Most of the collaborative robots are serial robots and safe human-robot interaction of which is achieved by control. This project is to develop a collaborative parallel robot that has high accuracy and is inherently safe for physical human-robot interaction. It covers the type synthesis, design, modelling, control and implementation of a collaborative parallel robot.

Supervisor: Dr Xianwen Kong, email: X.Kong@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/30: Development of a smart precision 3D assembly system

As part of an ongoing EPSRC project "A multiscale digital twin-driven smart manufacturing system for high value-added products" (EP/T024844/1), this project is to develop a smart precision 3D assembly system with reduced setup and calibration time based on our in-house built assembly system. This involves digital twin for smart assembly, robotic system integration, 3D object identification, process planning and/or AI.

Supervisor: Dr Xianwen Kong, email: X.Kong@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/31: Biomechanical and tissue material assessment using camera-based motion tracking - applications in clinical diagnostics

This project aims to use camera-based motion tracking technology and biomechanical modelling and experimental approaches for clinical applications of diagnosis of such conditions as mental illness and disorders.

Capturing the 'signatures' of clinical conditions is critical to the effectiveness and ultimate success of treatment, particularly for chronic ones. There is a clinical drive to detect signs of conditions at an earlier stage and, if possible, in 'natural environment' to avoid the patients from reacting negatively to unfamiliar environment or a 'home set up' to provide simple-to-access remote diagnosis. This project aims to use camera-based motion tracking technology to acquire physical models of the patient, informing the biomechanical modelling which will extract key diagnostic indices for the targeted conditions. The processed diagnostic indices will be validated by experimental and clinical studies. The scenarios will be tested in such application areas as early diagnosis of mental illness and disorders as well as other conditions that may affect movement of body parts and facial expressions.

This PhD project will build on and benefit from a multidisciplinary collaboration between an engineering group, a clinical psychology group and a medical team in interventional therapeutics across two universities in the UK and NHS.

Supervisor: Dr Yuhang Chen, email: y.chen@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

Subject Areas: Biomedical Engineering, Medical / Clinical Science, Psychology & Psychiatry, Electrical & Electronic, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science & IT, Data Analysis, Computational Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry,

 

EPS2021/32: Next-Generation Astrocombs

Project Description Details: The regular mode spacing of phase-stabilised femtosecond lasers ("laser frequency combs") makes them the perfect calibration source for the wavelength axis of new telescopes like the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT). This project will develop new laser and diagnostic instrumentation for the EELT-HIRES spectrograph that provides unprecedent wavelength coverage (380-2400 nm) and mode spacing (10 - 30 GHz). A first-class honours or masters degree in physics or engineering with a strong experimental (ideally optical) component is desirable.

Supervisor: Prof. Derryck T. Reid, email: d.t.reid@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS or DTP*

 

EPS2021/33: Practical free-space quantum communications

Applied research exploring free-space quantum communications from short-range "last-mile" links up to long-distance satellite links. The researcher will investigate the practical design and implementation for free-space quantum communications. The work will feed into a range of projects, from funded short range industrial demos to satellite missions.

Supervisor: Dr Ross Donaldson, email: R.Donaldson@hw.ac.uk

Funding: Either DTP* or JWS

 

EPS2021/34: Novel optical beam steering for quantum communications

Applied research exploring novel devices and techniques for optical beam steering and adaptive optics. The work is primarily aimed at quantum communication applications, but has broader context in long distance laser communications, e.g. deep space. The project will involve simulations, hands-on lab work, and experimental field trials. Previous experience with optoelectronic devices is essential. The candidate would join a research team with extensive research infrastructure and collaborative links to industry.

Supervisor: Dr Ross Donaldson, email  R.Donaldson@hw.ac.uk

Funding: Either DTP* or JWS

 

EPS2021/35: High-speed imaging technology and applications

High-speed imaging is a powerful tool for capturing ultrafast transient phenomena in a variety of applications. Our research at AOCIL is focused on new high-speed imaging technology that can reach millions frames/s frame-rate at very low cost (http://home.eps.hw.ac.uk/~xw66/).

The project will research new development of high-speed imaging technology that involves the following elements:

  • Computational imaging technique and Machine learning based signal processing;
  • System synchronisation and integration using FPDA;
  • Optical design;
  • Applications in different fields.

Supervisor: Xu Wang, email:x.wang@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

 

EPS2021/36: High-speed Secure optical communication

Information security is one of the key challenges in optical communication network. The project will investigate optical code based physical-layer security for high speed (>100 Gbps) optical communication system (http://home.eps.hw.ac.uk/~xw66/). This project has balanced theoretical and experimental elements, and the candidate will collaborate closely with researchers from quantum communication/encryption and other institutes (such as Cambridge, Bristol, NICT of Japan, and etc).

Supervisor: Xu Wang. Email:x.wang@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

 

EPS2021/37: Under-water Optical Communication system

Underwater optical communication (UWOC) is an emerging technology in offshore underwater sensing network. This project will research on advanced technologies (such as advanced modulation and DSP, machine learning signal processing, and etc) to enable high-speed, long distance, low-cost UWOC system (http://home.eps.hw.ac.uk/~xw66/). The candidate will collaborate closely with the Ocean System Lab and ORCA (https://orcahub.org/).

Supervisor: Xu Wang. Email:x.wang@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

 

EPS2021/38: Project Title: Deep ultraviolet laser sources for healthcare and industry

Two funded PhD studentships are available to develop the world's brightest and highest power deep ultraviolet laser sources based on ultrafast nonlinear optics in gas-filled hollow-core optical fibres. We have significant funding and excited interest from major semiconductor companies and healthcare providers to develop our technology for real-world applications of importance to all of humanity. Furthermore, the physics of these sources is interesting from a fundamental perspective and will be explored during these projects.

Supervisor: Prof. John Travers, Email: j.travers@hw.ac.uk

Funding: Both DTP* and JWS

 

EPS2021/39: Biophotonics for healthcare with fibre optics and single photon detection

This project aims to advance emerging optical technologies, including single photon detection systems and fibre optics, for improved healthcare technology. Fibre optics provide an optical window to the internal organs. Light interaction at the individual photon level with internal tissues can reveal the presence or progress of disease. This project will be focussed on practical development and demonstration of new healthcare technology in collaboration with clinicians and medical researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

Supervisor: Michael G Tanner

Email: M.Tanner@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP* or JWS (both available, depending on applicant)

 

EPS2021/40: 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: Prof Jon Shephard, j.d.shephard@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/41: 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: Prof Jon Shephard, j.d.shephard@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/42: 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: Prof Jon Shephard, j.d.shephard@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/43: SiC quantum devices for quantum networking

The goal of this project is to develop a quantum memory based on individual electronic and nuclear spins in silicon carbide, a semiconductor widely used by the microelectronics industry. By capitalising on its unique properties, silicon carbide uniquely enables the integration of quantum, spintronics, electronics and photonic functionalities on the same chip. By working on this project, the students will learn important skills in semiconductor physics, spin resonance (e.g. NMR) sequences, photonics, microwave engineering, cryogenics, nanofabrication and programming.

Supervisor: Cristian Bonato, Email: c.bonato@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

 

EPS2021/44: Adaptive Learning for quantum sensing

The goal of this project is to develop a "smart" quantum sensor which self-optimises to operate in conditions of optimal sensitivity. The sensor is based on a single electronic spin, which provides operation at the nanoscale levels. Spon sensors based on diamond nanocrystals, for examples, can be used to monitor magnetic fields, temperature and electric fields inside living cells or in advanced materials and devices. By working on this project, the students will learn important skills in fast digital electronics, machine learning, microwave engineering, programming, spin resonance (e.g. NMR) sequences and photonics.

Supervisor: Cristian Bonato, Email: c.bonato@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

 

EPS2021/45: Next-Generation Astrocombs

The regular mode spacing of phase-stabilised femtosecond lasers ("laser frequency combs") makes them the perfect calibration source for the wavelength axis of new telescopes like the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT). This project will develop new laser and diagnostic instrumentation for the EELT-HIRES spectrograph that provides unprecedent wavelength coverage (380-2400 nm) and mode spacing (10 - 30 GHz). A first-class honours or masters degree in physics or engineering with a strong experimental (ideally optical) component is desirable.

Supervisor: Prof. Derryck T. Reid, Email: d.t.reid@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/46: Strongly correlated states in designer two-dimensional moiré heterostructures

Two-dimensional semiconductors offer unprecedented opportunities to engineer and tune the interactions between particles at the quantum level to give rise to emergent phases and states of matter. This project aims to design, fabricate, and characterize (via quantum transport and quantum optics) highly tunable moiré heterostructures which act as a quantum simulator of the Hubbard model.

Supervisor: Prof. Brian Gerardot, email: b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk 

Funding: either JWS or DTP*

 

EPS2021/47: Engineering scalable coherent coupling among artificial atoms

Photon mediated communication between matter qubits provides a versatile quantum optics platform to realize scalable quantum technologies. This project aims to engineer a novel on-chip semiconductor platform to coherently couple artificial atoms in a scalable approach, providing a means to entangle multiple qubits and realize Dicke superradiance and other unique states of quantum light.

Supervisor: Prof. Brian Gerardot, Email: b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk

Funding: either JWS or DTP*

 

EPS2021/48: Laser-based manufacture of a micro-needle sensing platform for electrophysiology testing

In this project we seek to develop a multi-mode microneedle sensor that can measure electrical properties and physical tissue changes concurrently for applications in Motor Neuron Disease, inflammation and peripheral artery disease. Micro-needle sensors will be fabricated by: (i) laser machining of suitable starting structures, including fine capillary tubes; and (ii) subsequent attachment of a sensing membrane and deposition of electrodes. The project will focus on the manufacturing aspects of these microneedle sensors, as part of a multi-disciplinary team working across Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities to design, manufacture and test these devices.

Supervisor: Prof Duncan Hand and Dr Michael Crichton

Email: D.P.Hand@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP* or JWS

 

EPS2021/49: NOVEL PLATFORMS FOR INTEGRATED QUANTUM DEVICES BASED ON RARE EARTH DOPED INSULATING MATERIALS

We seek a talented and strongly motivated PhD candidate who will contribute building a new experiment on solid-state quantum memories for quantum communication applications. This project aims at the development of new platforms for integrated quantum devices based on rare earth ion doped materials. It will allow developing numerous hands-on skills as optical spectroscopy, light manipulation, quantum and non-linear optics, vacuum, cryogenics, and photon counting techniques.

Applicants must have or expect to have a first-class degree or equivalent in physics, or other relevant subject in the physical sciences. One previous experience in an experimental lab is desirable.

Supervisor: Dr Margherita Mazzera, email: m.mazzera@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

EPS2021/50: Quantum-Enhanced Imaging in Extreme Environments

This studentship examines pioneering experiments in single-photon imaging in extreme conditions, for example investigating imaging in atmospheric obscurants or very complex scenes. The group have been involved in a number of high‑profile imaging experiments in recent years, taking advantage of the latest developments in the field. Much of this current research is centres on the reconstruction of depth and intensity images from sparse photon measurements at average light levels of less than one photon per pixel. The PhD will examine a number of aspects of these subjects, and the PhD student will have the backing of a large, experienced and enthusiastic team.

Supervisor: Professor Gerald S Buller

Email: G.S.Buller@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP or JWS

 

EPS2021/51: Next Generation Components for Quantum Communications

The PhD will examine a number of aspects of quantum communications, for example single-photon detectors, quantum amplifiers and quantum random number generators. The PhD student will have the backing of a large, experienced and enthusiastic team and be connected to the wider UK community via the UK Quantum Communications Hub collaboration.

Supervisor: Professor Gerald S Buller

Email: G.S.Buller@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP or JWS

 

EPS2021/52: The photonic Lattice Gauge Theory emulator

This is a PhD project in theoretical physics. In this project we will investigate the properties of photonic lattices, where arbitrarily strong nonlinearities for the discrete light will be emulated via a feedback mechanism. The resulting lattice models for the light will be studied where exotic topological phenomena are anticipated with strong links to gauge theories. There is excellent opportunities to also collaborate with Heriot-Watt experimental groups who work on photonic lattices.

Supervisor: Patrik Öhberg

Email: P.Ohberg@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/53: PhD Studentship in Integrated Nonlinear Photonics

Advances in fabrication technologies can now enable efficient nonlinear processes in optical waveguides with very low pump powers. Our aim is to explore this rapidly-evolving research area in developing new photonic devices. We are seeking a self-motivated student who will acquire a potential experience in the fields of nonlinear and quantum optics in novel integrated structures during the PhD programme. The proposed work will involve theoretical and analytical research, accompanied with extensive numerical simulations. Collaboration with other groups inside and outside the host institution is also a part of the project to demonstrate the theoretical predictions. This is an exciting opportunity to embark on potentially interesting and ground-breaking research within a first-rate institution.

Supervisor: Mohammed F. Saleh

Email: m.saleh@hw.ac.uk

 

EPS2021/54: 3D Beam Shaping for Laser Based-Manufacturing

Project Description Details: Lasers are an integral part of modern high value manufacturing systems. One of the key advantages of lasers over more conventional tools is their flexibility; both in terms of scale (from ships to microchips) and in the ability to changing the "processing head" i.e. laser beam on demand.

Significant progress has been made increase the flexibility of these lasers by shaping the laser beam i.e. to change the energy profile used for manufacturing. However, these beam-shaping processes only work in 2D - i.e. at the focus. In this project we will explore the possibilities for shaping beams in 3D - i.e. in a focal volume - which represents a huge advantage for applications in drilling, glass processing and surgery. This PhD position will be associated with a £600k 3 year funded research project (EP/V006312/1).

Supervisor: Dr Richard M Carter - Prof. Jonathan D Shephard

Email: R.M.Carter@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP/Startup

 

EPS2021/55: Laser Material-Interactions on the Ultra-fast scale

Project Description Details: Pulsed lasers are a crucial part of modern high value manufacturing. However, the exact process by which the laser interacts with the material to cut, mill, drill and weld, is to-often not well understood - particularly for very short pulsed lasers. In this project we will seek to use a unique combination of ultra-fast (GhZ) holographic imaging, measurements of beam absorption and thermal imaging to build up an understanding of exactly how the laser interacts with matter on these fs/ps timescales. In collaboration with our international partners these data will then inform new models for laser-material interactions. This PhD position will be associated with a £600k 3 year funded research project (EP/V006312/1).

Supervisor: Dr Richard M Carter - Prof. Duncan P Hand

Email: R.M.Carter@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP/Startup

 

EPS2021/56: 3D Printing of Ceramics

Project Description Details: 3D printing (additive manufacturing) offers enormous promise across a wide range of areas due to the ability to produce structures which are impossible by other means. Huge advances have been made in 3D printing of polymers and metals, however ceramics (and ceramic like materials) remain an under-developed area. Building on previous work in 3D printing glass, this project will investigate new machinery and 3D printing techniques to produce ceramic parts either through laser-assisted robo-casting or direct laser-sintering of ceramic powders. The project will involve designing and building 3D printing prototype machines as well as collecting and analysing data on the resulting ceramic material properties.

Supervisor: Dr Richard M Carter -Jan-Wilhelm Bos

Email: R.M.Carter@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP/Startup

 

EPS2021/57: Optical neural networks for shaping light

The goal of this PhD is the development of all-optical photonic deep neural networks for ultra-fast and accurate image identification, target detection, and mode conversion and multiplexing. We will take the data flow and architectures of traditional neural networks and replace them with light and all-optical diffractive deep networks. Such a network has the advantages that it processes information at the speed of light and consumes no power. The project exploits the parallel nature of classical and quantum interference and builds on the foundations of machine learning. All-optical neural networks capitalise on multi-dimensional parallel processing and will have applications in classical and quantum information science, computer vision, networking, optical beam shaping for manufacturing and communication. This is an experimental physics PhD that combines aspects of computer science with classical and quantum optics. The successful candidate will join the Experimental Quantum Optics group at Heriot-Watt University, see www.hwquantum.org.

Supervisor: Dr Jonathan Leach

Email: j.leach@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/58: High-dimensional measurement device independent quantum technologies

The goal of this PhD is to develop and implement device independent and measurement device independent quantum technologies based on the multi-dimensional nature of light. Such technologies are used to solve the problem of untrusted devices in quantum information science, and high-dimensional quantum states provide the ability to increase the bandwidth of quantum communication. This is an experimental physics PhD that combines aspects several aspects of quantum communication, optics, and photonics. The successful candidate will join the Experimental Quantum Optics group at Heriot-Watt University, see www.hwquantum.org.

Supervisor: Dr Jonathan Leach

Email: j.leach@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/59: Quantum Photonics in Space and Time

From quantum computers to ultra-secure encryption systems, entangled particles of light play a key role in quantum technologies today. Perhaps even more interestingly, entanglement tells us something profound about the nature of reality itself. Entanglement is usually explored with the quantum versions of bits, or qubits, which are quantum states composed of "1s" and "0s." However, quantum states encoded in the properties of a photon such as its position, momentum, time, and frequency can be much more complex, opening interesting new directions in quantum information science.

In this PhD project, you will explore new ways to control the spatial and temporal structure of light at the quantum level, and work towards the development of entanglement-based quantum technologies for communication and imaging. This position comes with the potential to travel and present your work at international conferences, and the opportunity to work in a young and dynamic team. You will be supported if you wish to develop your teaching and/or public communication skills. This studentship is part of the ERC project PIQUaNT: Photonics for High-Dimensional Quantum Networking. For more information about this position, please visit https://bbqlab.org/openings/phd.

Supervisor: Dr Mehul Malik

Email: m.malik@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS/ERC, inc. UK Visa fees

 

EPS2021/60: Controlling electron transport for molecular quantum devices

Molecular devices are promising candidates for energy-efficient information processing and generating thermoelectricity. This project aims to develop a better theoretical understanding of molecular charge transport using radical novel open quantum systems approaches based on Feynman path integrals and tensor networks. We hope to design blueprints for new molecular devices exploiting quantum coherence. The project is in collaboration with Drs Lovett and Keeling from St Andrews and established experimental partners. See http://qtt.eps.hw.ac.uk for more information.

Supervisor: Dr Erik Gauger

Email: e.gauger@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS / DTP

Subject areas: Condensed Matter Physics, Theoretical Physics, Computational Chemistry, Materials Science, Physical Chemistry

 

EPS2021/61: Optimising protocols for quantum-enhanced spin-based magnetometry

Spin-based sensors are a promising platform for nanoscale sensing and imaging - an exciting new frontier in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). This project is concerned with unlocking their full potential through the development of quantum control approaches by combining Hamiltonian and machine learning approaches with quantum metrological principles and simulations of the dynamics of complex open quantum systems. This project will be in active collaboration with local experimentalist Dr Bonato. See http://qtt.eps.hw.ac.uk for more information.

Supervisor: Dr Erik Gauger

Email: e.gauger@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS / DTP

Subject areas: Atomic Physics, Metrology, Theoretical Physics, Optical Physics, Information Science, Software Engineering

 

EPS2021/62: Bio-inspired quantum-enhanced light harvesting

Bio-inspired nanostructures are ideal candidates for quantum-engineered antennae. This theoretical project aims to identify ways of harnessing the rich interplay of quantum effects and dissipation with the aim to underpin next-generation technologies for light-harvesting. This will involve deriving suitable open quantum systems approaches for modelling quantum many body systems in realistic condensed matter environments. This project will be in collaboration with our international network of theoretical and experimental project partners. See http://qtt.eps.hw.ac.uk for more information.

Supervisor: Dr Erik Gauger

Email: e.gauger@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS / DTP

Subject areas: Condensed Matter Physics, Theoretical Physics, Computational Chemistry, Biophysics, Materials Science, Physical Chemistry

 

EPS2021/63: 2D material enhanced nonlinear integrated photonics

The project focuses on studying the nonlinear optical properties of numerous 2D materials and how to interface them with low-loss integrated photonics for the creation of novel ultra-fast all-optical devices.

Transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) monolayers have recently emerged as a new class of materials enabling very strong nonlinear response. The exploitation of nonlinear TMD is at its infancy with a bright future in all-optical integrated photonics. The project aims at performing a deep nonlinear characterization of different TMD monolayers and integrating these 2D materials with ultra-low loss photonic components to enable ultra-fast all-optical control. The project is mainly experimental and it involves prestigious industrial partners.

Supervisor: Dr. Marcello Ferrera, Email: m.ferrera@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP/CDT

Subject areas: Applied physics, condensed matter physics, material science, manufacturing, optical physics, Quantum physics, solid state physics, ultra-fast physics, nanotechnology, semiconductors.

 

EPS2021/64: Dynamic wavefront engineering via epsilon-near-zero nonlinearities

By exploiting the remarkable nonlinearities of bulk and nanostructured thin films operating in their epsilon-near-zero frequency window, different device configuration will be explored for the efficient and ultra-fast manipulation of the optical wavefront.

Novel flat devices for real-time engineering of the optical wavefront are proposed. This will be attained by using alternative Transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) operating in their epsilon-near-zero window where nonlinearities are largely enhanced. The proposed systems will overcome the fundamental limit of static operation, and outperform standard plasmonic metasurfaces in terms of energy efficiency. The proposed technology is key for the next generation of convolutional optical neural networks. Relevant industrial partners are involved.

 

Supervisor name: Dr. Marcello Ferrera,  Email: m.ferrera@hw.ac.uk

Funding (if known): DTP/CDT

Subject areas: Applied physics, condensed matter physics, material science, manufacturing, optical physics, Quantum physics, solid state physics, ultra-fast physics, nanotechnology, semiconductors.

 

EPS2021/65: Theoretical project on quantum communication and quantum information

The topic of this theoretical PhD project is quantum communication.The exact topic is to be determined in discussion with suitable candidates, but is likely to encompass work on quantum measurements and new quantum cryptographic functionalities. Our current work at Heriot-Watt includes finding optimal quantum state elimination measurements, and figuring out how these measurements can be used for new functionalities in quantum communication and quantum cryptography. The work is connected with the EPSRC Quantum Communications Hub, and there will be excellent opportunities to collaborate with experimentalists in the UK and internationally to realise the schemes we design.

Supervisor: Erika Andersson

Email: E.Andersson@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP or JWS

 

EPS2021/66: Underwater single-photon depth imaging

Applied research investigating novel single‑photon detector arrays for underwater single‑photon depth imaging. The successful candidate will investigate different single-photon technologies to obtain three-dimensional images in several underwater environments.

The project will involve hands‑on experimental work and desk-based work, including data analysis and feasibility studies. Therefore, the candidate will develop skills in single‑photon detection, design and construction of experimental optical setups, and programming. The experimental work will also include to plan, prepare, and conduct field‑trials.

Supervisor: Dr Aurora Maccarone

Email: a.maccarone@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS

 

EPS2021/67: Photoelectron Circular Dichroism as a Chiral Probe

This project will investigate photoelectron circular dichroism (PECD) in chiral molecules (i.e. molecules exhibiting distinct left- and right-handed forms). Chirality is hugely important in chemistry and biology, since many building blocks of life display this property. Chiral molecules will be ionized using circularly polarized light from a femtosecond laser. By imaging the asymmetric spatial angular distribution of the ejected electrons, the fundamental origin of PECD can then be investigated in detail. A particular focus will be the systematic variation and positioning of multiple chiral centres within various molecular systems. The project is well suited to those with an interest in optics, lasers and spectroscopy.

Supervisor: Prof. Dave Townsend

Email: D.Townsend@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP or JWS

 

EPS2021/68: Using synthetic biology to develop new labels for super-resolution microscopy

The development of super-resolution microscopy has revolutionised our approach to studying cellular events but also provided challenges in terms of sample preparation and labelling. The ideal labelling agent will be small, highly selective and exhibit very strong and stable binding. This project will use synthetic biology to re-tool components of the SNARE protein machinery, responsible for membrane fusion, for use as a novel, highly adaptable detection agent.

Supervisor: Dr Colin Rickman

Email: c.rickman@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS

 

EPS2021/69: Wearable flexible electronic system for monitoring of the rehabilitation of patients.

Based on work carried out to monitor the welfare of cattle, the PhD applicant will design, simulate and test a wearable flexible electronic system to monitor the progress made by a patient having undergone extensive surgical procedure. The work will be in collaboration with the Edinburgh hospital at Little France. The applicant will use advanced machine learning algorithm implemented into an embedded hardware system that is small enough to be carried out by the patient. It is expected that the finished system will allow the monitoring of the progress of the patient using a GUI interface used by the doctor.

Supervisor: Prof. Marc Desmulliez

Email:m.desmulliez@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/70: Innovative Measurement System for Remote Monitoring of Biosignals

Develop new radar-based and Wi-Fi-based wireless sensing technologies for healthcare monitoring to complement our group's wireless vital sign monitoring system that senses breathing rate and heart rate from a distance of about 1 metre. The PhD candidate will:

  • Develop an innovative measurement system consisting of performing measurements at two different ISM bands (2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz), concurrently, and correlating the measured signals to cancel-out the respiration and boost the heartbeat signal-to-noise-ratio. To achieve this goal, dual-band directive antennas and novel microwave components will be designed.
  • Design electromagnetic structures to improve the Channel State Information (CSI) of Wi-Fi radiowaves detected by networking cards and processing the data to extract breathing and location information.
  • Integrate the two technologies on a mobile assisted-living robot that carries new sensors. This will be done using microcontrollers (e.g. RPI4) in an autonomous way so that the robot will autonomously steer itself towards the origin of the breathing and heartbeat signals for maximum efficiency and accuracy.

Applications: autonomous patient monitoring, home care for dementia and Alzheimer's patients, care homes, remote monitoring of covid-19 patients, wireless monitoring of premature babies and people with sensitive skin, monitoring of prisoners, and others.

Supervisor: Dr. Dimitris Anagnostou.

Co-Supervisor: Dr. Souheil Ben Smida

Email:d.anagnostou@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/71: Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces (IRS) for 6G Communications and Smart Buildings

In this project an intelligent reflecting surface (IRS) will be designed, developed and characterised. This IRS will intelligently reconfigure the physical environment (a room wall, a building facade, or a ceiling), to help the wireless transmission between the sender and the receiver. An IRS comprises an array of reconfigurable 'unit' elements, each of which can independently change the incident signal by applying. The change in general may be about the phase, amplitude, or polarization of the signal and can allow the signal to reflect towards non-specular directions in order to track the intended user and thus save power from the mobile devices. The proposed project will explore passive and active IRS implementations for added functionality (more than one reconfigurable states) to enable more accurate tracking of 6G mobile users hence maximizing mobile phone communication range, battery, and efficiency, and minimizing lost radiation in the surrounding environment.

Supervisor: Dr. Dimitris Anagnostou

Email: d.anagnostou@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/72: Novel algorithms for robust and scalable computational imaging: from deep learning, optimisation, and Bayesian inference theories, to applications in astronomy and medicine.

Multiple PhD positions are available with Heriot-Watt's Biomedical and Astronomical Signal Processing group (BASP) on any combination of the following aspects of computational imaging: (i) development of estimation and uncertainty quantification algorithms for large-scale imaging inverse problems, at the interface of deep learning, optimisation, and Bayesian inference frameworks, (ii) their application in either astronomy or medicine (e.g. radio-astronomical, magnetic resonance, or ultrasound imaging), (iii) their parallel high performance computing implementation. We are looking for outstanding candidates with a First-Class Master's Degree in electrical engineering, applied mathematics, physics, computer science, or a related discipline. The PhD students will be fully integrated into BASP under the supervision of Prof. Wiaux, with possible co-supervision by partners from the University of Edinburgh, the EPFL in Lausanne, CentraleSupélec in Paris, and some of the major astronomical or medical imaging centres in the world.

Supervisor: Prof. Yves Wiaux

Email: y.wiaux@hw.ac.uk

Funding: either DTP and JWS

 

EPS2021/73: Robust and scalable methods for multi-sensor 2D/3D imaging through obscurants

The project will investigate hybrid methods combining Bayesian statistical methods with state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to propose fast solutions for challenging imaging problems, while inferring uncertainty measures about the estimated parameters. The project will focus on the fusion of multi-sensor data (Lidar+passive camera) and the rapid reconstruction of high-resolution 3D Lidar data obtained under extreme conditions due to imaging through obscurants (fog, smoke, etc). These problems are important for autonomous navigation and the candidate might collaborate with several industrials including Leonardo.

Supervisor: Dr. Abderrahim Halimi

Email: a.halimi@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS

 

EPS2021/74: Digital surrogate of a microwave sensor system

A microwave sensor system was created to detect the intrinsic and varying properties of materials via non-destructive evaluation. The system is made of a horn antenna and a frequency modulated continuous wave radar system that allows the processing of the reflected microwave signal in the digital domain. Applications of the system are far ranging and include asset management, safety and food quality control applications. The student will have to design a simulation model of the system from first principles that replicates the behaviour of the system.

Supervisor: Prof. David Flynn

Email: D.Flynn@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS

 

EPS2021/75: Empowering Self-Sustainable Internet of Things Using Environmental-Aware Multi-Source Energy Harvesting Systems

This project will be focused on the development of multi-source energy harvesting and power management system that can empower maintenance-free and self-sustainable operation for vast numbers of IoT devices and networks. A key technology is to integrate the electromagnetic energy, solar energy, thermal energy and vibrational energy into a single harvester using advanced packaging technology and low-cost materials, thereby producing environmentally aware robust power supply for a range of low-power electronics, wearables and smart sensors.

Supervisors: Dr. Yuan Ding and Dr. Chaoyun Song

Email: yuan.ding@hw.ac.uk & C.Song@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/76: Computational methods for event-based imaging and sensing

Event-cameras form a new imaging modality that is becoming increasingly popular for robotics and computer vision tasks. In contrast to traditional frame-based cameras, asynchronous intensity changes are recorded within each pixel, which allows the blur-free capture of very fast objects. This project consists of developing new imaging and sensing strategies adapted to this emerging modality, including scalable statistical methods and deep learning architectures (e.g. spiking neural networks), particularly well adapted to handle streams of event data.

Supervisor: Dr. Yoann Altmann, Prof. Steve McLaughlin

Email: Y.Altmann@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS

 

EPS2021/77: Variational and message passing algorithms for scalable inference in computational imaging problems

Uncertainty quantification using exact inference is extremely challenging in high-dimensional imaging problem such as image restoration. While state-of-the-art machine/deep learning strategies have superseded traditional image processing pipelines in terms of reconstruction performance for several restoration, detection and segmentation problems, they generally provide limited tools to assess the reliability of the segmented/recovered image. This project consists of combining approximate Bayesian inference tools (e.g. message passing) with state-of-the-art machine/deep learning architectures for scalable estimation and uncertainty quantification with applications in imaging inverse problems.

Supervisor: Dr Yoann Altmann, Prof. Steve McLaughlin

Email: Y.Altmann@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS

 

EPS2021/78: Computational methods for particle detection and tracking in microfluidic devices for medical diagnostics using event-based cameras

Event-cameras form a new imaging modality that is becoming increasingly popular for robotics and computer vision tasks. It has also been recently demonstrated that such low-cost cameras present significant advantages for high-speed microparticle analysis. In contrast to traditional frame-based cameras, asynchronous intensity changes are recorded within each pixel, which allows the blur-free capture of very fast objects. This interdisciplinary project consists of developing a new and portable imaging system coupled with existing microfluidic sorting systems for medical applications. We will focus on developing state-of-the-art computational methods for event-data processing, focusing on real-time implementations allowing detection/classification of particles.

Supervisor: Dr Yoann Altmann

Email: Y.Altmann@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS

 

EPS2021/79: Anomaly detection with heterogeneous data

The challenge of detecting anomalies in heterogeneous time series in a myriad of applications ranging from spacecraft telemetry to healthcare data. This is a statistically challenging problem in that dealing with data that arises from both discrete and continuous distributions presents a major challenge. Recently there has been growing interest in the application of machine learning methods to this problem. The challenge is that such methods do not always offer performance guarantees and it can be challenging to identify uncertainty in the estimates or for that matter understanding how uncertainty in the data propagates through the network. This PhD project would explore computational imaging and machine learning approaches when dealing with a range of imaging data ranging from fluorescence microscopy to single photon lidar data.

Supervisor: Prof. Steve McLaughlin

Email:S.McLaughlin@hw.ac.uk

Funding: JWS/DTP

 

EPS2021/80: Utilization of novel photosensitive compounds in medical and manufacturing applications

This project focusses on the uses and applications of novel deep-curing polymers recently developed at Heriot-Watt in the EPSRC project MUSCLE. The ability to increase the penetration depth of light for crosslinking results in faster access to deeper regions and new capabilities for adhesives, surgery, dentistry and manufacturing of 3D printed devices. The student will be trained in the preparation of the materials and characterisation (including leading optical characterisation).

For informal inquiries, please email J.Marques@hw.ac.uk.

Supervisor: Jose Marques-Hueso

Email:J.Marques@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/81: Theory for high-temperature one-dimensional (1D) superconductors

We are advertising a PhD-project in theoretical physics, on low-dimensional strongly correlated electron systems. It concerns the development of basic theory for how to turn 1D systems of electrons into superconductors with the possibility of functioning at high operating temperatures. External electron reservoirs will be explored for their ability to stabilise the strong fluctuations that normally preclude superconductivity in 1D. The project will initially focus on idealised model systems, then move on to more realistic ones, such as e.g. narrow graphene nanoribbons. There will be plenty of opportunities for collaboration within Heriot-Watt as well as will our network of international partners.

Supervisor: Adrian Kantian

Email: A.Kantian@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP

 

EPS2021/82: Advanced photo- and thermo-electrochemical flow cell for energy conversion and storage

Solar-rechargeable redox flow batteries (SRFB) have been investigated as a means of storing solar energy into chemical energy, which can be readily utilized to generate carbon-neutral electricity. However, the plain fact is that most studies overlook practical challenges arising from the inherent degradation of the system under the light and heat. The proposed project aims for minimizing the thermal-loss under drastic temperature change by introducing thermo-electrochemical approach (theoretical and experimental) for the photo-charging compartment. Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) a good degree in physics or related engineering subject. We are looking for candidates with a background in, or strong interest in developing skills in at least one of the following areas:

  • Device performance modelling (e.g., Python, MATLAB, Comsol, etc.)
  • Electrochemical flow cell design
  • Photo- and electrochemical experiments
  • Photovoltaics or PV-assisted energy conversion

The development of reliable renewable energy storage system is a key aspect for a sustainable carbon-neutral society. Solar rechargeable redox flow battery (SRFB) technology is being in the spotlight as a mean of simultaneously storing the solar energy into chemicals, which can be readily utilized to generate electricity via reversible reactions. In recent years, intensive effort has gone into the embedding of photovoltaic (PV) or photoelectrochemical (PEC) device with redox flow batteries (RFB), and some recent reports made them promising candidates for renewable energy storage.

However, the plain fact is that there is that most studies overlook practical challenges arising from the inherent instability and degradation of the system under the light and heat. The proposed project aims for minimizing the thermal-loss under drastic temperature change by introducing thermo-electrochemical approach (theoretical and experimental). All tasks are underpinned by light absorption, charge separation, and redox catalysis under dynamic operating parameter variation (e.g., light, temperature and electrolyte flux).

Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering (IMPEE) at Heriot-Watt University offer a PhD student position for a talented, and strongly motivated candidate who will contribute building a new setup with potential for innovative research with high originality in above-described studies. Applicants should have good written and oral communication skills (IELTS 6.5 with no category less than 6, if your first language is not English) and a good degree (or expect to obtain by the start date) in physics or related engineering disciplines (Mechanical, Material, Chemical engineering etc.). We are looking for candidates with a background in, or strong interest in at least one of the following areas:

  • Charging/Discharging performance modelling (e.g., Python, MATLAB, Comsol, etc.)
  • Electrochemical flow cell design and fabrication
  • Photo- and electrochemical experiments and analysis
  • Photovoltaics or PV-assisted energy conversion

To apply, please send your CV, academic transcripts, a cover letter explaining your motivation/interest in this project, and one reference letter by 31 March 2021 to Dr Dowon Bae at d.bae@hw.ac.uk. Students currently enrolled in a Masters qualification who expect to graduate before starting a doctorate may apply, but must submit with a separate letter from their current University (or Institute) that predicts the standing of their expected qualification. This letter of anticipated graduation is in addition to a reference.

Funding Notes: This project is available to UK/EU applicants only. The annual stipend and tuition fees will be fully covered.

 

EPS2021/83: Experimental quantum networking

A quantum network distributes entanglement between multiple nodes in a network, enabling secure communication on global scale but also distributed quantum computing and more. In this experimental project you will implement photonic quantum networks using large entangled photon states at telecom wavelengths.
The Edinburgh Mostly Quantum Lab (EMQL) hosts an international team of currently 4 postdocs and PhD students. The focus of this PhD project in quantum networking will be on experimental demonstrations of a range of multi-party quantum communication scenarios, including conference key distribution, all-optical repeaters, quantum network coding, and more. Our work is primarily experimental but flexible enough to allow for a significant theory or computational component. The PhD project 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. There will be ample opportunities for travel, collaboration with partners within and beyond the hub, as well as outreach activities.

Supervisor: Alessandro Fedrizzi, email: A.Fedrizzi@hw.ac.uk

EPS2021/84: Satellite quantum photonics

Quantum communication enables the secure distribution of keys between communicating parties. Terrestrial key exchange in optical fibre is limited to distances of the order of hundred kilometers, due to fibre loss. The leading solution to truly global quantum networks is therefore the distribution of quantum light from satellites to optical ground stations. In this project, you will co-develop an entangled photon source for deployment on a UK cube sat mission which is scheduled to be launched within the lifetime of the PhD project. It 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. There will be ample opportunities for travel, collaboration with partners within and beyond the hub, as well as outreach activities.

Supervisor: Fedrizzi, Alessandro A.Fedrizzi@hw.ac.uk

EPS2021/85: New materials for electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices

The project will focus on the synthesis and characterisation of new solid-state materials for use in electrochemical applications. In particular for use in electrolysers, with dual focus on improving ionic conduction and oxygen evolution reaction. This builds on interesting results we have obtained on using layered cobalt oxides which are good oxygen evolution reaction catalyst as well as being good ionic conductors for use in membranes in electrochemical devices.

Supervisor: Dr Jan-Willem Bos

Email: j.w.g.bos@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

EPS2021/86: Fundamentals and applications of scattering at the gas-liquid interface

You will explore new directions in the field of gas-liquid interfacial scattering. We have shown that fundamental investigations not only lead to improved mechanistic understanding, including processes directly relevant to atmospheric aerosol chemistry, but also can be exploited as a new method to probe the surface structures of technologically interesting materials, including ionic liquids. You will extend both of these aspects, as part of a vibrant research team supported by a major EPSRC Programme Grant.

Supervisor: Prof Ken McKendrick

Email: k.g.mckendrick@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

EPS2021/87: Novel Methods for Modelling Photochemical Dynamics

As part of a recently funded team combining expertise in electronic structure theory with quantum molecular dynamics the project will involve the application of newly developed methods to cutting edge problems in photochemistry. These will include the use of multi-reference electronic structure approaches, investigating non-adiabatic reactions on multiple potential energy surfaces, coordination complexes for photodynamic anti-cancer therapies, and systems for use in organic optoelectronics.

Supervisor: Prof Martin Paterson

Email: m.j.paterson@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

EPS2021/88: Stereodynamics of Gas-Phase Electronic Quenching: Experiment and Theory

The quenching of electronically excited radicals in gas-phase collisions is an important but poorly understood process. You will use state-of-the-art crossed molecular beam scattering methods, with velocity-map ion-imaging detection, to probe the dynamics of the quenching of electronically excited NO in unprecedented detail. In collaboration with theoreticians you will determine the specific scattering mechanisms involved, and hence, for the first time, develop a full understanding of the underlying potential energy surfaces and non-adiabatic processes that control quenching.

Supervisor: Prof Matt Costen

Email: m.l.costen@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

EPS2021/89: Modelling Solid-State Molecular OrganoMetallic (SMOM) Chemistry

This project is in computational chemistry and aims to understand the chemistry of transition metal alkane complexes, their relationship to C-H activation and developing catalytic transformations of alkanes to alkenes and other valuable chemical feedstocks. A range of techniques will be employed including static periodic DFT calculations, molecular dynamics and electronic structure analyses. There will also be opportunities to explore method development by defining new force fields for these SMOM systems.

Supervisor: Prof Stuart Macgregor

Email: s.a.macgregor@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

EPS2021/90: Plasma Recycling of Polymers as Value Added Organics

Chlorinated polymers are currently considered intractable in terms of recycling and consigned to landfill. We have been exploring the plasma-enhanced degradation of polymers and have observed that PVC is considerably more susceptible to plasma erosion than its non-halogenated counterparts. This project will focus on aspects of the surface science of this process by (i) investigating small molecule models of the degradation process and (ii) looking to the nature of the organic products of the degradation with H2/CO2 plasma.

Supervisor(s): Prof. M. R. S. McCoustra (with Prof. D. Bucknall and H. Yiu)

Email: m.r.s.mccoustra@hw.ac.uk

Funding: DTP*

How to Apply

1. Important Information before you Apply

* Please note that full fee funding for DTP studentships is only available to UK applicants. If you are unsure of your funding status, please contact the project supervisor, before submitting an application.

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 September 2020 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 Sunday 31st January 2021. All successful candidates will usually be expected to commence their studies in September/October 2021.