Skip to main content

Join our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (AAPS)

Our CDT goes beyond the traditional engineering disciplines to bring together students from backgrounds in sciences, mathematics and social sciences.

Why join AAPS?

Our ambition is to develop students from a range of disciplines and backgrounds who want to research and pursue a leading industrial, research, business or political career within the Automotive sector.

Doctoral training is central to our vision, driving innovation and addressing skills gaps in the Automotive Industry. Each year we will enrol at least 10 new students into our four-year Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (AAPS) training programme, thanks to generous funding from EPSRC and the University of Bath.

By joining us on the AAPS CDT programme you will undertake a transdisciplinary training programme where you’ll be at the centre of generating new and holistic ideas in automotive propulsion. You'll develop detailed knowledge in your chosen subject area alongside colleagues working across a broad spectrum of challenges facing the Industry.

Your research journey in this unique environment will give you the depth and breadth of knowledge needed to collaborate with professionals across disciplines as you progress your career. You'll train in the skills needed to take the automotive sector in a new direction. Your training will help prepare you to work with the future engineers, scientists, policy makers and thought leaders in propulsion systems. AAPS promotes the intellectual independence, flexibility, and ownership of knowledge that is essential for international research competitiveness.

Benefit from our expertise

You'll learn from academics with a wide range of expertise in the disciplines needed to pioneer and shift the transition to clean, sustainable and affordable mobility. Our academics have come together from across the University to develop our Research Themes.

AAPS CDT Research Theme
Low Carbon Fuels
Gas Purification
Propulsion Electrification
Application of Mathematics
Computer Science
Digital Systems, Optimisation and Integration
Chemical Energy Converters
Sustainability and Low Carbon Transition
Driver and User Behaviour
Transport and Society
Transport Policy and Economics

Running alongside our Taught Programme, you will also benefit from our guest lecture series. This series brings together specialists from both the University and our Industry partners to give you the broad view that will allow you to challenge and change the current thinking around personal mobility.

Our CDT is also linked to the new Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion (IAAPS). This specialist hub supports collaborative research with the automotive industry to develop future generations of ultra-low emissions vehicles.

Our programme

Our programme integrates a one-year MRes with a three to four-year PhD to give you comprehensive training and detailed knowledge in your chosen specific subject area alongside colleagues working across a broad spectrum of challenges facing the Industry.

Year 1: MRes

During the MRes year you will develop your foundation knowledge of the challenges facing the automotive sector as well as developing commercial and management skills together as a cohort, inherently learning how to work as part of, as well as leading, a team. This includes:

  • Propulsion technologies and their roadmaps for development over the next 40 years
  • Business practices and the stakeholders, structure and challenges within the industry
  • Systems thinking and insights framework to practice innovation and how to work in trans-disciplinary teams.
  • Guest lectures from industry and governmental organisations to ensure that you are immersed in current thinking and development.

You will learn the context, challenges and opportunities and how to apply your skills and knowledge to multiple scenarios. You will study the applications of various subjects through case studies and experience first-hand working in trans-disciplinary teams to perform complex problem formulation, innovation through insight frameworks and planning a research project to tackle this problem.

Our cohort-based approach is a crucial element of the programme. To meet the challenges that the future brings, the automotive industry needs individuals who are experts in their own discipline but parallel to that, can understand and can interact with a broad range of other disciplines. During your first year you will be co-located in a purpose-built environment designed to foster collaboration. By working alongside colleagues who have expertise in engineering systems, biological, chemical, mathematical, computer, psychological and social sciences, you will acquire specialist research expertise, complemented by a strong understanding of wider multidisciplinary and business considerations.

You'll also begin planning your thesis and finding academic and industrial partners to support your research.

Group projects

A key part of your MRes study involves a nine-month group project on the innovation process. You'll gain hands-on experience of user research, insights framework, developing prototypes and business cases. This teamwork with fellow students in our CDT will help you grow your skills in transdisciplinary collaboration.


Taught units in your first year include:

  • automotive propulsion system technology
  • strategic and innovative thinking
  • automotive propulsion systems evaluation
  • automotive business processes
  • automotive propulsion systems innovation
  • student-led symposia and integrative think tanks
  • thesis formulation project

All units are compulsory and bespoke to the CDT, with some units running throughout the semester and others being concentrated into shorter periods. An average of at least 60% across the first two semesters is required in order to progress to the MRes. thesis formulation report.

Years 2 - 4: PhD Phase

After successful completion of the MRes stage, you will proceed to the three to four-year PhD research phase. You can take the PhD phase part time with the whole programme lasting a total of seven years.

After successful completion of the MRes stage, you will proceed to the PhD research phase and follow a project formulated during the MRes. This PhD project may be formulated entirely during the MRes year or be prescribed at the point of application by a sponsoring industrial partner.

In the PhD phase you will have research, and the preparation of a thesis, as your main focus. In your PhD work, you will create an original piece of research, and new knowledge, in your specific research topic within the broader field of Automotive Propulsion Systems.

At the end of year two, you will submit a transfer report and be required to pass an oral examination in which you will be expected to set out the motivation and background to your proposed research, a credible methodology, any preliminary results and a detailed plan for your work over years three and four. A Ph.D. thesis should be submitted within four years of joining AAPS with regular progress reports submitted.

You remain an AAPS CDT student throughout your PhD and you will continue to engage with the CDT through mentoring of future cohorts and participation in the centre activities such as involvement in student-led symposia and integrative think tanks. There will also be opportunities to undertake industrial placements and academic secondments.


Take advantage of our established links with a range of companies and organisations in academia and industry and go on placement.

We encourage all our students to take a placement during their PhD research phase. Placements in academia or industry are a great opportunity to gain experience of the workplace and develop valuable professional skills. They can help to build cross-disciplinary links and train you in other disciplines' research language. You'll continue with your research while you're on placement.

Find out how to apply

Apply now

Contact us

If you have any questions about our CDT or would just like an informal chat with someone from our team before applying, please email us.