Candidates from the European Union (including the UK) are invited to apply for PhD studentships in the CPPM, for 3-4 years full-time study beginning October 2011 or thereabouts. Applicants should have a background in the physical sciences and have or expect to gain the equivalent of a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree. The studentships cover University tuition fees at EU/UK level and provide a tax-free stipend (currently £13,290 p.a and subject to annual increase).
Research topics: Available projects include:
- Optical fibres for astrophotonics
- Laser processing of optical fibres for active and passive devices
- Gas discharge spectroscopy and lasing in hollow-core photonic crystal fibres
- Optical fibres and light sources for infrared
but enquiries are welcome about any of the Centre's research activities.
To apply: For informal enquiries please contact the supervisor named in the relevant project description, or for general enquiries contact Prof Tim Birks as the CPPM's Director. The CPPM doesn't have an open day for PhD candidates, but interested students are welcome to visit us to see what we do. Please arrange this with the relevant supervisor.
Formal applications can be submitted online (select "MPhil/PhD Research in Physics" under Department of Physics). There is no deadline, but studentships are offered to suitable candidates on a first-come first-served basis. You should therefore get in touch as soon as possible!
Important note for candidates from outside the EU: The same projects (listed above) are also available to "overseas" students (ie from outside the EU) and you should contact the appropriate supervisor for informal enquiries. However, the Centre's studentships only cover tuition fees at the Home/EU level. Overseas tuition fees are much higher. In 2009/10, the difference was £9260 per year. Overseas applicants will need to find the difference from other sources. It may be possible to apply for grants in your own country to cover this.
There is a University scholarship scheme that covers the overseas tuition fee. However, applications for this are highly competitive, and only exceptional candidates are likely to succeed. Such applications need to be submitted promtly (the exact deadline will be posted here when it is known).
To apply please submit a formal application online, but you must say how you propose to fund the difference between overseas and UK/EU fees. Further information for overseas applicants is available, including details of English language requirements. If we can support your application, we will then contact you.
Our PhD programme: The PhD (doctor of philosophy) is a research degree. It takes 3-4 years to complete a full-time PhD, depending on the details of the funding.
You spend most of that time pursuing your own research project with our well-supported laboratories and/or computing facilities under the supervision of an experienced world-leading scientist, who will support and advise you. The project's aims and methods will be agreed between you and your supervisor. However, you should expect the details to change as the project proceeds and you learn more about what is possible and worth doing - if you're doing something new, you can never be sure how it will work out in advance! You will almost certainly work alongside other PhD students and (more experienced) post-doctoral researchers with similar aims and interests, so you should be able to help each other. You may also collaborate with researchers from other universities or companies, in the UK and elsewhere, depending on the project.
You will also have opportunities for further training. In the CPPM this includes our Photonics lecture programme, which helps prepare new students for postgraduate research. The lectures are given by the Centre's academic staff, among others. The details change from year to year, but a list of this year's lectures can be found by following this link.
When we get a significant result, we want to tell everyone about it! This can be done by publishing a paper in a scientific journal, or presenting the work at one of the field's regular international conferences such as CLEO. Most of our research students get the chance to travel to such conferences (which do tend to be held in interesting places). This allows you to meet and become known to the international research community that you have joined, find out what they are up to, and make contacts that may be useful for your future career. Inventive results can be protected by patents, which are key to the commercial exploitation of our work.
When you start you will be registered for the degree of MPhil, not PhD. After your first year you will submit a transfer report describing your research results and plans. The report will be examined in a viva voce examination where you will be asked questions about it. If the examination is satisfactory your registration will be transferred to PhD. The transfer process is therefore very important, but it's a helpful opportunity to review progress rather than a barrier to progression. It is also good practice for your thesis examination.
At the end of your research you will prepare a more substantial account of your research: the PhD thesis. This will take several weeks to write. Your thesis will then be examined viva voce by an academic from another institution, the purpose being to determine whether you have made a significant and original contribution to knowledge. (A good publication record can be very convincing here.) Hopefully you will then be awarded your PhD - and become a "Dr"!
There are many motivations for doing a PhD with us, not least the career opportunities that it can give you. However, the best motivation is your fascination with what light can do, together with the desire to make your own contribution and maybe see it applied in the real world. The work of our past students has had a great impact in the field internationally, including (for example) a key role in the research leading to the award of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics to Ted Haensch.
Who knows what you can achieve?