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Research supervision

We offer PhD and MSc by Research programmes and an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) which is offered part-time to research engineers working in industry in the UK and overseas.

Our research group recruits students with high quality research potential, including self-funded applicants. We offer studentships on an annual round, funded internally by School QR and the European Commissions’ H2020 DTA3/COFUND Doctoral programme in Energy.

Research supervision areas

Research areas, include:

  • energy conversion and storage systems
  • thermofluids
  • turbulent combustion modelling
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS)
  • electrical motors and drive / electromagnetics
  • efficient cooling systems and heat transfer enhancement
  • renewable energy and low carbon technologies
  • advanced heat pump system and heat exchanger optimisation
  • effect of clamping in welding of multilayer pipes and plates
  • welding condition of dissimilar material of a micro-turbine high-speed shaft
  • improve cycle life of a welded high-speed micro-turbine shaft
  • coupled residual stress and heat on dissimilar cladded pipes welding
  • crack growth prediction and monitoring of hydrogen induced cracking under multiaxial stress loading
  • structural health monitoring of wind turbine blade
  • use of guided waves for defect detection in composite plates
  • use of negative waves for defect detection in composite materials
  • improving mechanical property of nanofibre patches in biaxial directions
  • homogenization effects in polyethylene pipes extrusion
  • maintaining permanent magnet between a yoke and a retaining sleeve in a high-speed micro CHP system
  • development of nano phase change materials for thermal energy storage systems.

Student support

We allocate a budget per annum to support research students to attend conferences and workshops, summer schools and training. Student applications to this fund are appraised based on their PhD progress and their participation in, and attendance at, the Unit’s annual events and research seminar programme. Students are provided with funding for equipment and consumables and access to high performance computing, industrial standard simulation software covering all research disciplines, a working space in one of the research labs/offices and a desktop PC or laptop for remote working. Students can become corporate members of IEEE, providing them with free access to the IEEE Xplore digital library.

Our research groups also participate in external opportunities for doctoral student internships (for example, The Catapult Network, the Alan Turing Institute, L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship), providing funding to support students’ networking opportunities and training. It offers sponsored scientific laboratory exchanges as part of our industrial innovation partnerships, Royal Academy International exchanges, and bilateral exchange opportunities with research students from European Universities, funded currently by Erasmus.

Supervision

All postgraduate research students are appointed a supervisory team consisting of a principal supervisor, a second supervisor and, in many cases, an industrial/external supervisor. The University has invested in a Research Student Monitoring System (RSMS), an online platform that facilitates record keeping and interaction between students, supervisors and the Doctoral College. Detailed records of all supervision meetings and progression assessments are entered into RSMS by students and their supervisors and are accessible throughout the course of the doctoral study, providing a robust mechanism to record progress, achievements and challenges.

Research engineers studying on the EngD attend regular online meetings and are visited by their supervisors at their place of work. They have an industrial supervisor with whom they engage regularly. The supervisory teams are confirmed by the University Doctoral College whilst our research admissions tutor participates in prospective applicants’ interview panels.

Annual monitoring and progression

Our postgraduate research students go through a mandatory annual monitoring process in addition to the procedures available to assess their progress, leading to a vigorous, whole programme review. The monitoring process reviews all aspects of PGR progress including a record of progress to date and future plans, ethics, health and safety, and the availability of appropriate resources for their research and supervision arrangements. Postgraduate research students are also encouraged to publish their work in appropriate journals and attend peer-reviewed conferences.

Equality and diversity

The School’s Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise is a member of the Race Equality (REC) Charter mark self-assessment team, and the Athena Swan group. The remit of the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDIT) Team is to ensure that Athena Swan and REC principles are embedded in the centre’s strategic plans. Women now comprise 20% of the centre’s staff, and the centre’s BAME staff has increased from 50% to 60%, demonstrating growing diversity that reflects the student body.

All students and staff have undergone equality training, including at away-days, and new students and staff have mandatory training in their induction. They have also attended training on Unconscious Bias, and the University offers regular awareness-raising events throughout the year and during Black History and LGBTQ months. In recent recruitment rounds, 45% of those appointed to new PhD studentships have been women with over 62% identified as BAME.

Research ethics and integrity

An important aspect of the centre’s interdisciplinary research is the sharing of research data and tools; datasets, code and results from experiments are made freely accessible. As an example, CIS deposits its datasets and code in recognised, publicly available repositories such as Dryad or Figshare. The Unit facilitates the sharing and re-use of simulation models and code developed with its industrial software such as OPNET and VPIphotonics in the CIS group, Ansys in the ENESD, MAST and MMRG groups and COMSOL in the ENESD group. As a result, these data are shared with leading HEIs and industry in the UK, Europe and the US

Research equipment and facilities in the research groups are made openly available via the University’s website. It also contributes to Equipment.Data, a one-stop shop for accessing UK-wide research equipment developed by University of Southampton.

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Research groups are fully committed to the University’s policy to make all research outputs at least Green Open Access, by providing access to them through the University Research Archive. An increasing number of outputs are published as Gold Open Access; researchers in our groups are regular users of the University’s Article Processing Fund that provides resources for Gold OA, and the centre provides additional support for open access publishing from internal Engineering QR funding. Furthermore, the University’s Ethics Committee and Intellectual Property and Contract Support (IPACS) team ensure that research follows ethical and legal obligations and standards. The University is a signatory to the Concordat on Research Integrity and there is centrally provided mandatory training on research integrity for all researchers, including workshops and an annual seminar, in addition to bespoke training on the Doctoral College’s Researcher Development Programme. Seminars have been organised with EPSRC’s Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT, promoting responsible research and innovation across the discipline of engineering.

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