PhD & Postgraduate Research

Research projects leading to the award of a PhD or Masters by Research are available in many areas of Engineering.

Academic staff with international reputations in their discipline are available to supervise and guide you, and we offer appropriate research training, library and electronic resources. Research within Engineering is organised into five research groups, which in turn contain more specialised research subgroups. The groups are led by permanent academic staff and usually supported by postdoctoral research associates and technicians. You will become an integral part of these teams and benefit from intellectual support and become part of the research environment of the Department. For both PhD and Masters by Research, the results of your research should make an original contribution to knowledge and be of a standard appropriate for publication.

To submit an application, simply create an account on the My Applications website and then select ‘Create a new application’ from your homepage once you are logged-in.

Using your account on the My Applications website, you are able to submit applications for the programme(s) which you wish to study, upload supporting documentation and provide us with information about referees. You may apply for all Lancaster University Engineering postgraduate programmes using this method.

Current Lancaster Students

If you are a current Lancaster student, or you have recently graduated from Lancaster, we can reduce the amount of information that you will need to provide as part of your application. You will need to provide only one reference and will not need to supply your Lancaster degree transcript. We will also pre-fill your personal details, ready for you to check.

If you use the My Applications website then you will be advised which documentation you need to upload or send to us. We can automatically contact your referees once you have submitted your application if you ask us to.

The supporting documentation screen will provide you with a list of required documents. These will usually include:

  • Degree certificates and transcripts of previous higher education (college/university) degrees or other courses that you have completed/for which you are currently studying. For transcripts in languages other than English, a certified English translation will be required.
  • A personal statement to help us understand why you wish to study your chosen degree.
  • You also need to complete a research proposal which should include the following:
    • the research area you are interested in
    • the research question(s) you are specifically interested in
    • who within Engineering appears best qualified to supervise you
    • the methods you envisage using in your studies
    • plus any other information which may be relevant
  • Two references
  • If English is not your first language, we require copies of English language test results.

You can apply at any time of the year for PhD study, but we encourage you to start at one of the predefined start dates of October, January or April. In some circumstances, July start date will be considered. An MSc by Research will usually start in October. If you wish to be considered for funding, are applying form overseas or require on-campus accommodation, we recommend you apply as early as possible.

If you would like more information before applying, please contact the Engineering Admission Office. If you have any queries during the application process, please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team.

PhD Supervisors

A range of projects available in Mid-Infrared Photonics, III-V Nanostructures and Quantum Dot Solar Cells

View Peter's profile

Electrochemical treatment of problematic wastes in the nuclear industry

View Richard's profile

Analysis of engineering materials; Development of mechanical meta-materials;

View Xiaonan's profile

Nuclear safeguards, contamination monitoring.

View Malcolm's profile

Ph.D. projects are generally available in the fields of particle accelerators and superconducting thin film deposition and characterization. Please inquire for current opportunities.

View Tobias's profile

The following project opportunities are currently un-funded Design of photo-bio reactors for platform chemicals production Acidogenic digestion of organic waste for chemicals production Modelling of sedimentation for the characterisation of suspensions A new quantitative framework for the characterisation of wastewater

View Alastair's profile

I am constantly searching for highly qualified PhD candidates in the area of acoustic signal processing and control. Please email your CV along with other academic qualificatios if you are interested.

View Allahyar's profile

Dr. Murphy has PhD projects available in: 1. Safer nuclear fuels for a sustainable future (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/social-futures/2018/03/safer-nuclear-fuels-for-a-sustainable-world-fully-funded-phd-studentship-3-year-in-engineering-department/) 2. Atomistic study of radiation induced degradation of thermal conductivity in fusion materials

View Samuel's profile

Millimetre wave vacuum electron devices design and fabrication

View Claudio's profile

Smart Materials for Nuclear Waste Immobilisation
Condition Monitoring of Power Cables in Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs)
Smart Sensors for Condition Monitoring of Concrete Structures

View Mohamed's profile

Control Engineering, System Identification and Robotics.

View James's profile

Post-processing of powder bed additive manufactured components; Micro-fabrication of terahertz microwave components

View Yingtao's profile

Research training

We take care of all of our students at Lancaster University. The Faculty of Science and Technology runs a series of training sessions designed to improve your skills and abilities during your PhD. Learn more

Research Areas

Our research is recognised for its exceptional quality and international reputation and is supported by RCUK, EU and industry funding. As a result, our work crosscuts traditional research fields, is strongly multidisciplinary and focuses on achieving high impact. We have contributed substantially to a wide range of application domains including energy, transport, cyber-crime and social computing.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Investigating all the relevant aspects of chemical and biochemical engineering, from fundamental science to engineering applications.

E-MIT and Electronics

E-MIT and Electronics

A group focusing on research spanning from digital electronics and materials to high-frequency applications.

Energy

Energy

Addressing major scientific and technological challenges in emerging energy technologies and sustainability.

 Nuclear Science and Engineering

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Our approach in nuclear research covers robotics, instrumentation, and chemical engineering.

Structures, Materials and Manufacturing

Structures, Materials and Manufacturing

Understanding functional materials, composite systems, structural health monitoring, production processes and technologies.

Outstanding facilities

Our Engineering building opened in January 2015 and was purpose-built to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. It boasts state-of-the-art facilities for multi-disciplined engineering, with specially designed workshops, laboratories and a high-quality attractive working environment. Students can now work in a variety of ways outside of the traditional learning environment which enhances the quality of our students' experience.

Current Funded Opportunities

  • Fully Funded PhD Studentship: Studying the applicability of multilayer thin film structures to superconducting RF cavities.

    Project Description:

    Modern and planned state-of-the-art particle accelerators employ hundreds or thousands of superconducting radio frequency (SRF) niobium cavities to increase the energy of charged particles. Maintaining the large electromagnetic fields inside cavities leads to dissipation, which can be minimized using superconductors enabling continuous wave (CW) operation and superior beam quality. This technology enables many applications of great socio economic impact such as accelerator driven systems (ADSs) for transmutation of nuclear waste and energy production or compact CW accelerators for gamma ray production to probe nuclear waste/fissionable materials. The current technology of choice is producing cavities from niobium sheets. Using micrometer thick films of superconductors with a higher critical temperature on copper, cavities can potentially yield cheaper production and a better performance in terms of accelerating gradient and cryogenic efficiency, leading to multi-million-pound cost reduction for large scale projects. Furthermore this technology is being explored for quantum computing.

    While there has been some success with Nb3Sn this material is currently limited to accelerating gradients below 20MV/m due to premature flux penetration. This is less than 50% of what has been achieved with niobium. As an alternative approach A. Gurevich (APL 88.1 (2006): 012511) suggested to use multilayers of insulators and type-II superconductors on niobium to prevent early flux penetration. While it is a challenge to deposit such a structure on a curved large object, like a cavity, several proof-of-principle experiments can be performed on small flat samples which can be produced more easily.

    In this PhD project it is anticipated to explore several physical mechanism of multilayers which can potentially yield a higher accelerating gradient than niobium technology. Samples will be prepared at Daresbury Laboratory and characterized by surface analytical tools such as atomic force microscopy, ion cross section SEM, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) at Daresbury Laboratory and the universities associated with the Cockcroft Institute. The shielding potential of the samples will be measured under cryovacuum conditions at Daresbury using a dedicated instrument. Additionally measurements probing the field penetration as a function of depth in the nanometer scale shall be carried out with muon spin rotation at PSI in Switzerland and with betaNMR at TRIUMF in Canada.    

    Qualifications:

    Applicants should have/expect to receive: The successful candidate will have or expect to obtain a first or upper second-class degree or equivalent (e.g. MPhys, MSci) in physics or engineering. Experience in superconductivity, cryogenics, thin film deposition or surface characterization is an asset.

    Funding and eligibility:

    The project is fully funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council for 4 years. A full package of training and support will be provided by the Cockcroft Institute, and the student will take part in a vibrant accelerator research and education community of over 150 people. The project is fully funded by the STFC for 4 years; UK and other EU citizens are eligible to apply. The student will receive a standard stipend of around £14.5k/yr

    Contact for further information: tobias.junginger@lancaster.ac.uk

    How to apply for the PhD Studentship:

    http://www.cockcroft.ac.uk/join-us

    Application deadline: This post will be open until filled.

    How to apply for the PhD Programme:

    Lancaster University – ensuring equality of opportunity and celebrating diversity.

    Applications should be made via Lancaster University’s online application system (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/how-toapply-for-postgraduate-study/).

     

  • Industry-funded PhD: Development of the C Power Wave Energy Capture and Storage Device

    This PhD project investigates using compressed fluids as a wave energy storage system (WESS) and the development of an enabling innovative wave energy converter.

    Computational and experimental modelling will be carried out with the ultimate aim of advancing a selected Wave Energy and Storage System (WESS) up the technology readiness scale and progressing the technology as a viable commercial proposition.

    The goal for this WESS research and design project is to develop a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling capability verified and calibrated by experimental modelling which is able to optimise the design and performance of the WESS.

    Applicants should have an engineering degree.

    Industry Partner

    The researcher will work with Prof. George Aggidis who leads our renewable energy team in the Department of Engineering at Lancaster University and a new innovative start-up company C Power Ltd. The project will be at the forefront of a new wave of renewable energy development.

  • Fully-funded PhD studentships in Nuclear Engineering and Environmental Radioactivity Analysis

    Applications are invited from exceptional graduates in engineering, physics, chemistry and natural sciences to study for a PhD in the areas of Nuclear Engineering (Instrumentation) and/or Environmental Radioactivity Analysis.

    The successful candidates will study in the new Engineering building at Lancaster University, under the supervision of Professor Malcolm Joyce.  The focus of these studentships addresses a range of related challenges associated with radiation detection and measurement including, for example:

    • The assessment of the damaged reactor core material at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant,
    • Radioactivity assessment of groundwater concerning the clean-up of UK nuclear facilities,
    • The assessment and monitoring of radioactivity in submerged environments,
    • The combination of radiation sensing systems with robotic and artificial intelligence.

    This studentship is available to UK citizens and EU nationals only.

    Informal enquiries are encouraged via 01524 593812 or m.joyce@lancaster.ac.uk.

    Lancaster University is The Times and Sunday Times University of the Year 2018.  Lancaster is ranked 6th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, and is also named the Best Campus University and Best University in the North West of England.  Engineering at Lancaster is ranked 2nd for graduate prospects (Chemical Engineering) and 3rd in the UK for Mechanical Engineering (Guardian).

  • PhD Studentship in Advanced Manufacturing and Alloy Design

    Details

    • Funding Type: Postgraduate Studentship
    • Type of Study: PhD 

    Description

    Lancaster University is offering a number of fully-funded PhD studentships to meet their growing activity in advanced manufacturing and alloy design.

    The priority research topic areas include;

    • Design and manufacture of lightweight hybrid syntactic metal foam structures
    • Design and manufacture of advanced metallic alloy microstructures
    • Manufacture of magnesium metal matrix composites for automotive applications
    • Thermal treatment and microstructure control in advanced steels, titanium and magnesium alloys
    • Additive manufacturing of novel porous Ti structures and non-porous stainless steels and titanium alloys
    • Diffusion bonding of aerospace alloys
    • Thermodynamic, kinetic and plasticity modelling of new metallic alloys
    • Materials discovery adopting neural networks, Gaussian processes, genetic algorithms and clustering techniques

    We are seeking excellent candidates who are highly motivated and keen to engage with academic partners and industry. Successful candidates will develop a wide range of skills that will include; materials processing, mechanical testing, microstructure and numerical modelling and structural characterisation. Prior experience in manufacturing is not required.

    Qualifications and experience

    • The minimum academic requirement for admission is an upper second-class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng, MPhys, MChem etc, or a lower second with a good Master's, (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant subject.
    • A strong background in plasticity and dislocation theory is required.
    • Knowledge of statistical thermodynamics and physical metallurgy is essential.
    • Computer programming skills are essential for the post. 
    • You must have excellent interpersonal skills, work effectively in a team and have experience of the preparation of presentations, reports or journal papers to the highest levels of quality. 

    This post is offered on a 36-months fixed-term appointment.

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for a studentship, the funding requirements are such that the candidate is either a UK citizen or an EU national. Applicants from outside UK/EU are welcome to apply, however, they will be required to demonstrate their ability to meet the difference between international and home tuition fees. Full sponsorship comprises coverage of UK/EU tuition fees and standard stipend of around £14.5k per year.

    Applications

    Please send CV and cover letter to Professor Andrew Kennedy (a.kennedy3@lancaster.ac.uk), Chair in Advanced Manufacturing (for advanced manufacturing interests) or Professor Pedro Rivera (p.rivera1@lancaster.ac.uk), LPW/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair (for alloy design interests). Both professors are with the Department of Engineering, Lancaster University. 

    We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups.

    Lancaster University – ensuring equality of opportunity and celebrating diversity.

    Applications should be made via Lancaster University’s online application system (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/how-toapply-for-postgraduate-study/).

  • PhD Studentship in Macroporous Polymers with Novel "Functionalised" Surfaces

    Details

    • Deadline for Applications: 31st October 2018
    • Funding Type: Postgraduate Studentship
    • Type of Study: PhD 

    Description

    Polymers with interconnected (open cell) porosity have widespread applications as filters, sound absorbing structures and as medical devices.  Their potential can be further expanded by “functionalising” the internal pore surfaces to confer anti-bacterial, catalytic, enhanced hydrophilic or hydrophobic character.  This coating step is, however, often difficult to perform on large, 3D structures as conventional processes struggle to provide uniform coating throughout the thickness.

    A novel, low cost and very simple process has been developed that simultaneously creates and coats macroscale porosity in polymers with fine powders of almost any type.  This Ph.D. research programme will seek to develop a greater understanding of this process, defining the possibilities and limitations (in terms of materials and structures that can be produced) and the effect on structural aspects such as pore interconnectivity, mechanical performance and physical aspects such as electrical and magnetic behaviour.  The outcome of this challenging project will not be to design structures to match the performance for a single application, such as bacterial removal in water treatment or enhancing cell multiplication on medical devises, rather it will aim to inform the community as to how this process could broaden the potential for porous polymers across wide engineering, healthcare and environmental landscapes.

    The successful candidate will develop a wide range of skills that will include; powder and polymer processing, process modelling and structural characterisation.

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for a studentship, the funding requirements are such that the candidate is either a UK citizen or an EU national. Applicants from outside UK/EU are welcome to apply, however they will be required to demonstrate their ability to meet the difference between international and home tuition fees.

    Entry Requirements

    A first class or good 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in engineering, physics or physical chemistry (or a related discipline). 

    Applications

    Formal applications should be made via the Lancaster University Postgraduate Admissions Portal. Once you have created an account you will be able to fill in your personal details, background and upload supporting documentation. For more information contact: 

    For further information, please contact Professor Andrew Kennedy (a.kennedy3@lancaster.ac.uk). 

  • PhD Studentship in Modelling and Design of Redox Flow Energy Storage Systems

    Details

    • Funding Type: Postgraduate Studentship
    • Type of Study: PhD 
    • Deadline for Applications: 30th June 2018

     

    Description

    Redox flow energy storage systems offer unique advantages over batteries and other devices because the charging and discharge processes are separated from the storage and even from each other. This flexibility in the design affords great opportunities for optimisation against a range of objectives such as, but not limited to, rapid opportunistic charging exploiting excess wind power to slow base load charging exploiting low demand nighttime periods. The configuration of the process equipment in conjunction with the electrochemistry leads to complex non-linear dynamics. In addition, start-up, shut-down and current reversal can impose chemical and physical stresses on components leading to excessive corrosion and failure.

    Working with the redox flow research team in Energy Lancaster the successful candidate will investigate and develop models to describe the electrochemical and flow processes at a range of scales from the molecular to the complete process system. The work will be informed by current empirical research in electrolyte systems being carried out by the group. It is envisaged that the outputs of this work will inform many aspects of redox flow energy storage systems from a selection of electrolytes and the design and novel fabrication of electrolysers through process systems to the integration of systems with complementary storage technologies and grids.

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for a studentship, the funding requirements are such that the candidate is either a UK citizen or an EU national. Applicants from outside UK/EU are welcome to apply, however, they will be required to demonstrate their ability to meet the difference between international and home tuition fees.

    Entry Requirements

    A first class or good 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in chemical engineering or a cognate discipline. Experience with computational modelling in one or more of the following fields is essential: Fluid flow, Process systems, chemical reactions, heat and mass transfer.

    Applications

    Formal applications should be made via the Lancaster University Postgraduate Admissions Portal. Once you have created an account you will be able to fill in your personal details, background and upload supporting documentation. The application should make clear that you are applying for this funded project and upload the project described above as the research proposal.

    For further information, please contact Professor Alastair Martin (a.martin1@lancaster.ac.uk).

  • DC breakdown studies for high gradient particle accelerators at CERN

    Details

    • Anticipated start date: October 2018
    • Type of Study: PhD
    • Supervisors: Dr G Burt, Dr S Green, Dr W Weunch

    Description

    A PhD student is sought at Lancaster University but based at CERN in Switzerland to study dc vacuum arcs at high electric fields and how it relates to radio frequency arcs. An arc is caused when a plasma forms at high fields from ionisation of a gas evaporated from a surface. Vacuum arcs are the limiting factor in the maximum accelerating gradient of many particle colliders. The exact limits and breakdown rates of vacuum arcs will be studied using a pulsed dc system, which has fast diagnostics and imaging and by studies of the surfaces after arc damage. The PhD student will be based at cern (after a 6 month training period at Lancaster) and will focus on experimental upgrades and measurements

    The PhD will be based in the Engineering department and will be supervised by Dr G Burt, and Dr S Green.

    Qualifications

    The successful candidate will have or expect to obtain a first or upper second-class degree or equivalent (e.g. MEng, MPhys, MSci) in physics, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering

    Funding and eligibility

    The project is fully funded by CERN for 3.5 years; UK and other EU citizens are eligible to apply. The student will receive a standard stipend of around £14.5k while in Lancaster for the first 6 months, followed by a stipend of 3679 CHF/month when at CERN for the following 3 years.

    A full package of training and support will be provided by the Cockcroft Institute. An IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

    Contact Dr Graeme Burt for further information.

    How to apply

    Visit The Cockroft Institute for details.

    This position will remain open until filled.

  • Fully Funded PhD studentship in design and fabrication of millimetre wave vacuum electronics devices for 5G wireless networks.

    Details

    • Type of Study: PhD
    • Supervisors: Professor Claudio Paoloni, Dr Rosa Letizia

    Description

    A fully funded PhD studentship is available for an outstanding graduate to undertake advanced applied research in the field of millimetre wave vacuum electron devices, for the design and fabrication of novel millimetre-wave Traveling Wave Tubes (TWT), to create new millimetre wave communication systems above 100 GHz, for high data rate. The PhD studentship is in the frame of the Horizon 2020 project ULTRAWAVE “Ultra capacity wireless layer beyond 100 GHz based on millimetre wave Traveling Wave Tubes” (www.ultrawave2020.eu).

    Your role will be to design state of the art Traveling Wave Tubes above 100 GHz, including the electron gun, the collector, the magnetic focusing and windows, by using the cutting edge art facilities at Engineering Department.

    You will have available a suite of advanced three-dimensional simulation tools (CST, MAGIC3D, HFSS) for a full characterization of the millimetre wave structures and large signal parameter simulation, starting from the initial design up to the full TWT structures.
The new 110 GHz Vector Network Analyser at Engineering Department will provide the measurement facility to test the samples fabricated by different techniques, as CNC milling or UV LIGA (a photolithographic technique of high aspect ratio proved up to 1 THz).

    You will perform three-dimensional simulations, you will have the opportunity to test novel slow wave structures, you will participate in the fabrication, assembly and test of novel TWTs for the new 5G networks.

    You will work with renowned experts in the field, in a stimulating international research environment.

    The PhD studentship is based at Lancaster University.

    The E-MIT (Engineering of Microwave, Terahertz and Light) group at the Engineering Department at Lancaster University is a leading group in the field of millimetre and THz vacuum electron devices and applications.

    Funding and eligibility

    You should have a Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in engineering science or physics and should demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm and motivation to explore novel research fields. Knowledge of electromagnetics, microfabrication processes, three-dimensional simulations could be advantageous, but not essential.

    The following financial support will be received:

    • Full funding of tuition fees for 3 years
    • A stipend of 14,296 (annual stipend per annum) in line with RCUK guidelines
    • Access to a Research Training Support Grant

    How to apply

    Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Claudio Paoloni or Dr Rosa Letizia.

    Applications should be made via the Postgraduate Admissions Portal. Once you have created an account you will be able to fill in your personal details, background and upload supporting documentation.

  • Fully Funded PhD Studentship: Advanced Control Systems for Intelligent Coordination of Manipulation and Grasping in Nuclear Robotics

    Supervisor

    Dr Allahyar Montazeri

    Description

    A fully funded PhD studentship is available for an outstanding graduate with specific interest on robotics, control as well as image processing techniques. The project is in close collaboration with the industry partner to develop a novel advanced control system for intelligent coordination of hand and eye in a hydraulic nuclear manipulator. The main objective is to develop a system that addresses the inherent uncertainty in the nuclear industry case study environments for applications such as welding, pipe cutting and material discrimination. Engineering research at Lancaster University has been rated as world leading in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and you will join a dedicated team of scientists working on a range of exciting topics in robotics.

    Increasing the autonomy of nuclear robots is one of the key factors to improve the decommissioning performance and reduce the dependency of the remotely controlled system by the human operator. This is due to the complex manipulation capabilities that requires the robot to interact with objects and environment forcefully by pushing, cutting, shearing, grinding in addition to easier pick-and-place tasks.

    In this project we address the above-mentioned challenges by design and development an advanced control system which combines the information from the smart end-effector tool with the control system designed for the manipulator for a coordinated and intelligent grasping and manipulation.

    The system that will be developed in this research consists of two major subsystems. The end-effector subsystem which includes the hardware and algorithms designed to recognise the material of the object aimed for grasping and the manipulation subsystem which consists of a vision system combined with a novel multivariable control system resulting in a high precision visual-servoing system.

    Although the size and shape of the object is identified by the camera in the manipulator subsystem, the material is recognized through the end-effector subsystem. The approach here is to propose a multi-modal sensing system by using various sensors in the end-effector tool. It is envisaged to achieve a fast and accurate classification rate for a range of materials by fusing these measurements using iterative machine learning algorithms. Combining this information with the vision system in the manipulation subsystem generates the desired force for interaction with the object. Furthermore, the vision system is used to identify the position of the end-effector and move the arm towards the object. This is carried out by further investigating the advanced control system developed for this purpose to improve its performance and combine it with the visual information provided by the camera in real-time.         

    Application Details

    Potential candidates for this position are expected to have the following qualifications:

    • Should have or expect to achieve a first-class or upper second-class degree in Engineering at the level of MSc, MEng, etc or a lower second with a good Master's, (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant subject.

    • The fund is available for UK/EU students; however, international students could also apply under circumstances.

    • Sufficient background on control theory, image processing or a closely related discipline.

    • Practical experiences on implementation of the control algorithms.

    • Computer programming skills such as MATLAB are essential for the post.

    • You should have excellent interpersonal skills, work effectively in a team and have experience of the preparation of presentations, reports or journal papers to the highest levels of quality.

    Eligibility Criteria

    A full standard studentship consists of tuition fees, together with a maintenance grant and research training support. The funding is for 3.5 years and will pay a stipend that is £2K above the standard UKRC rate.

     

    To declare your interest and get further information about the application procedure, please send a copy of your CV along with the cover letter to Dr Allahyar Montazeri (a.montazeri@lancaster.ac.uk)

     

    The formal application should be made via the Lancaster University on-line portal once it is reviewed and considered for the position.

  • Fully Funded PhD Studentship: Mobile Sensor Network for Deployment and Characterisation of the Environment in Nuclear Sites

    Supervisor

    Dr Allahyar Montazeri

    Description

    A fully funded PhD studentship is available for an outstanding graduate with specific interest on robotics, control as well as signal processing techniques. The project is in close collaboration with the industry partner to develop an intelligent system that addresses the inherent uncertainty in the nuclear industry case study environments. The results will be used for condition monitoring of the available assets and waste storage sites. Engineering research at Lancaster University has been rated as world leading in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and you will join a dedicated team of scientists working on a range of exciting topics in robotics.

    Sensor networks has a great potential to develop innovative technologies in condition monitoring and inspection of the nuclear legacy. Compared to the fixed sensor network endowing mobility by using UAV, AUV, or wheel-based robots shows a superior performance in terms of its adaptability and high-resolution sampling capability. This is especially important in dynamic and hazardous environments which are inaccessible for measurements by human. 

    Achieving this aim, necessitates the study of distributed learning and control methodologies for autonomous vehicles. The intelligent system in this case consists of a collection of mobile sensing agents that are low-cost, low-power, multifunctional and communicate in short distances. The processing capability of each agent supports higher-level decision making and distributed coordination of mobile sensing agents to achieve a global goal. This involves various tasks of particular interest to the nuclear industries, such as detecting the spread of nuclear radiation, monitor the temperature and humidity distribution in the quiescent buildings, locate the leakage of the contaminant (gas, oil, etc) or hot spots such as drums in the storage sites.

    The algorithm consists of two stages. The first step is to estimate the uncertain scalar field of interest (temperature, humidity, gas pressure, etc) by collecting the spatio-temporal data collected by each mobile robot (agent) locally.

    The next step is to derive the control law for the mobile sensors by considering two measures. The multi robots should move in a way to maximize their sensory information relative to the current uncertainties in the environment model. Moreover, the multiagent system should move to find the sources in the environment.         

    Application Details

    Potential candidates for this position are expected to have the following qualifications

    • Should have or expect to achieve a first-class or upper second-class degree in Engineering at the level of MSc, MEng, etc or a lower second with a good Master's, (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant subject.

    • The fund is available for UK/EU students; however, international students could also apply under circumstances.

    • Sufficient background on control and signal processing or closely related discipline.

    • Practical experiences on implementation of the control algorithms.

    • Computer programming skills such as MATLAB are essential for the post.

    • You should have excellent interpersonal skills, work effectively in a team and have experience of the preparation of presentations, reports or journal papers to the highest levels of quality.

     

    A full standard studentship consists of tuition fees, together with a maintenance grant and research training support. The funding is for 3.5 years and will pay a stipend that is £2K above the standard UKRC rate.

     

    To declare your interest and get further information about the application procedure, please send a copy of your CV along with the cover letter to Dr Allahyar Montazeri (a.montazeri@lancaster.ac.uk)

     

    The formal application should be made via the Lancaster University Postgraduate Admissions Portal once it is reviewed and considered for the position.

  • Optimising anaerobic digestion to produce sustainable energy from human, agricultural and food waste streams

    Supervised by Prof Alastair Martin (Engineering), Prof Kirk Semple (LEC), Professor Lawrence Ezemonye(University of Benin, Nigeria) and Dr Francis Boateng Agyenim (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana).

    The overall aim of the project will focus broadly on resource recovery from organic wastes, including human, agricultural and food waste streams. Through anaerobic digestion (AD) of these waste streams, energy can be produced in the form of biogas. AD also biochemically stabilizes the organic residues forming digestate, which can be viewed as a resource rather than a waste.

    The project will focus on the following by combining scientific and technical approaches:

    1.To test ratios of different feedstocks for the optimisation of biogasproduction.

    2.To investigate AD systems and processes that are robust and reliable for use in West Africa.

    3.To optimise the AD system to control pathogens, e.g.process configuration, addition of chemicals, heat.

    4.To consider the most effective way of producingaform of digestate that is fit-for-purpose of agricultural or soil conditioning purposes.

    These objectives contribute to the RECIRCULATE project’s main challenges by (potentially) reducing diffuse pollution sources derived from inefficient waste management; producing energy while reducing detrimental effects on human health; and improving water/nutrients use in the soil-plant systems. An iterative, collaborative approach will be key to the success of this project as it forms part of a coordinated group of research activities based in Nigeria, Ghana and other departments of Lancaster University.

    This PhD project will give the successful candidate the opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary research at theinterfaces between engineering, agricultureand health, on a problem of immediate significance to communities in developing countries. There will be opportunities to study in these communities and with the academic partners in Ghana, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

    Academic Requirements:Candidates with a First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an any of the following or closely related disciplines should apply:chemical or bio-chemical engineering, civil engineeringor environmental sciencewith specialisms in sanitation and waste-watertreatmentinfrastructure.

    Applications should be made through the Lancaster University on-line portal

    So that we can prioritise your application please email us at recirculate@lancaster.ac.uk when you have submitted your application

    Questions? Please contact recirculate@lancaster.ac.uk

    Visit the Recirculate website

  • Understanding pathogen survival and mobility in soil-plant-food systems following organic waste application to land

    Supervised by Prof Kirk Semple (LEC), Prof Roger Pickup (BLS), Prof Ian Dodd (LEC), Prof Alastair Martin (Engineering)and Dr Francis Boateng Agyenim (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana)

    The overall aim of the project will focus broadly on the survival and mobility of pathogens associated with organic wastes, including human, agricultural and food waste streams. Through anaerobic digestion (AD) of these waste streams, energy can be produced in the form of biogas. AD also biochemically stabilizes these organic residues forming digestate, which can be used as a sustainable fertiliser or soil conditioner. However, the survival of pathogens through anaerobic digestion and subsequent application to agricultural soils remains unclear. Further, the mobility of these organisms through the soil to water or association with crops represent potential pathways for human and animal exposure and, therefore, a risk to health.

    The objectives of this project are:

    1.To investigate the survival of target pathogens through anaerobic digestion and then in soil, following the addition of digestate (WP 4 and 5).

    2.To investigate the movement of target pathogens through soil, following the addition of digestate (WP 4 and 5).

    3.To consider the interactions between target pathogens and plants following the amendment of the digestate to soil (WP 3 and 4).

    4.To consider approaches to reduce pathogenic microorganisms to an acceptable number in the digestate produced, by manipulating the AD process and/or by treating it (post AD processing) (WP 4 and 5).

    5.To develop cost effective methods for pathogen detection in digestates that are applicable at a low income community level (WP 5).

    These objectives contribute to RECIRCULATE challenges by (potentially) reducing diffuse pollution sources derived from inefficient waste management; producing energy while reducing detrimental effects on human health; and improving water/nutrients use in the soil-plant systems.

    This PhD project will give the successful candidate the opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary research at the interfaces between microbiology, agriculture and health, on a problem of immediate significance to communities in developing countries. There will be opportunities to study in these communities and with the academic partners in Ghana, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

    Academic Requirements:First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject.Candidates with a First-class or 2:1 (Honours) degree, or Masters degree or equivalent any of the following or closely related disciplines should apply: microbiology, molecular microbiology or biological sciences.

    Applications should be made through the Lancaster University on-line portal

    So that we can prioritise your application please email us at recirculate@lancaster.ac.uk when you have submitted your application

    Questions? Please contact recirculate@lancaster.ac.uk

  • Resource recovery from wastes: production of safe and sustainable fertiliser from human, agricultural and food waste streams

    Supervised by Prof Kirk Semple (LEC), Prof Alastair Martin (Engineering), Professor Lawrence Ezemonye (University of Benin, Nigeria) and Dr Francis Boateng Agyenim (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana).

    The overall aim of the project will focus broadly on resource recovery from organic wastes, including human, agricultural and food waste streams. Through anaerobic digestion (AD) of these waste streams, energy can be produced in the form of biogas. AD also biochemically stabilizes these organic residues forming digestate, which can be viewed as a resource rather than a waste. The digestate contains nutrients (C, N and P) which could be used as a soil conditioner and/or safe, cheap and sustainable fertiliser to promote agricultural production.

    The objectives of this project are:

    1. To identify and optimise the co-digestion of waste streams as AD feedstocks (human faecal, agricultural and food).

    2. To consider approaches to reduce pathogenic microorganisms to an acceptable number in the digestate produced, by manipulating the AD process and/or by treating it (post AD processing)

    3. To characterise the impact of digestate application on soil fertility, crop productivity and some eco-systems services.

    These objectives contribute to RECIRCULATE project’s main objectives/challenges by (potentially)reducing diffuse pollution sources derived from inefficient waste management; producing energy while reducing detrimental effects on human health; and improving water/nutrients use in the soil-plant systems.This will be an iterative process: it is important that this project does not sit in isolation from related investigations in Nigeria and Ghana, or indeed, those linked activities with Lancaster researchers.

    This PhD project will give the successful candidate the opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary research at the interfaces between agriculture, engineering and health, on a problem of immediate significance to communities in developing countries. There will be opportunities to study in these communities and with the academic partners in Ghana, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

    Academic Requirements: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject.Candidates with a First-class or 2:1 (Honours) degree, or Master’s degree or equivalent any of the following or closely related disciplines should apply: microbiology, soil science, chemical or bio-chemical engineering, civil engineering with specialisms in sanitation and waste-water infrastructure.

    Applications should be made through the Lancaster University on-line portal

    So that we can prioritise your application please email us at recirculate@lancaster.ac.uk when you have submitted your application

    Questions? Please contact recirculate@lancaster.ac.uk

Other opportunities

Next Generation Nuclear

The Next Generation Nuclear Centre for Doctoral Training (NGN CDT) provides fully-funded four-year PhD studentships, available across the partner universities and many of these will involve close collaboration with industry, including secondment into industrial nuclear research centres.

Next Generation Nuclear is a partnership between the Universities of Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Its mission is to develop the next generation of research leaders to support the UK's present and future strategic nuclear programmes - cleaning up the nuclear legacy, building new nuclear power stations, and defence and security.

Coming soon

NGN will work with all the UK's major industrial and regulatory stakeholders, including Amec, Areva, EDF, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce, and Sellafield Ltd, and with leading overseas institutions.

A list of the specific Next Generation Nuclear PhD projects will be available around November/December each year. We have one intake a year in September.

We run various open days across the partner institutions throughout the year so please keep an eye on the website for the latest information.

For more information please contact - ngn@manchester.ac.uk