Website CDT_PIADS Queens University Belfast

Innovative research environment for doctoral research students

3 PhDs and 1 EngD fully funded Studentship in the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Photonic Integration & Advanced Data Storage (PIADS)

Applications open until 30th April 2020.
Start date 14th Sept 2020.
Salary: £15,285 p.a. (supplementary industrial contribution of £5K p.a for EngD route)

This is an exciting opportunity to join the well-established EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Photonic Integration & Advanced Data Storage (PIADS).

Think creatively to tackle real-world problems across interdisciplinary teams.

Our vibrant 4 year training programme brings together academic expertise from across Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Glasgow and the Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC), leading to unique and jointly awarded EngD or PhD degrees.

You will join the programme alongside fellow 2020 Cohort students, and undertake an initial 1-year training phase where you will have the opportunity to develop both your technical knowledge and hands on experience in courses such as Solid State Physics, Nanofabrication and Electronic Devices. In addition, you will also hone robust people skills through joint courses in innovation, management, leadership and personal effectiveness.

You will then be supported to undertake 3 years of industrially relevant scientific research in collaboration with Seagate Technology .

Develop skills by working alongside industry leaders.

Seagate Technology is the world leader in data storage technology and in their twenty-fifth year of operation at their Springtown site in Northern Ireland, where they undertake high volume manufacture and research and development (R&D) of the read/write head. The recording head is of critical importance in providing the increased data storage capacity demanded by society for personal and cloud-based storage.

EngD route:

After the CDT Training Phase, you will be located at Seagate Technology, NI. You will maintain links to the CDT cohort through extensive involvement in cohort activities and annual gatherings such as our Summer Conclave and Winter Schools.

EngD projects will focus on the technological challenges associated with Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) and will consist of a series of projects to answer questions such as;

  • How do you deliver 1mW of light into a 20 nm wide spot?
  • How do you design and build a photonic integrated circuit and optimise laser performance?
  • How do you go beyond current plasmonic designs to realise near field confinement in a manufactured device?

These projects are integrated into the R&D team and will involve design, fabrication and development within the wafer fab facility.

PhD route:

After the CDT Training Phase, you will undertake your industry-aligned PhD either in QUB or UofG. You will have an Industrial Mentor and will travel to the Springtown Seagate site for quarterly meetings. You will be able to choose the research direction from a portfolio of projects in areas such as;

  • How can you use plasmonic lasers or nano-Light Emitting Diodes or other devices to create heating in <20 nm spots?
  • Can you find the next/best plasmonic material in 2D or in other systems?
  • Can you develop and demonstrate the best magnetic media for all-optical magnetic switching?


  • Applicants should have a 2:1 (or equivalent) in a cognate physical sciences or engineering discipline (physics, materials, electrical engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering or biomedical engineering). If you are not sure whether you are eligible to apply please do get in touch with us on E: T: 028 90973523 .
  • Studentships are available to UK nationals & EU citizens resident in the UK as ‘Home’ students.
  • One studentship per year available to an EU student not meeting ‘Home’ status.
  • One studentship per year available for International applicants. Please note that this studentship has been filled for 2020 entry. Please get in touch should you wish to discuss opportunities for 2021 entry.

Application Process

Full information on how to apply is outlined in the ‘Making an Application’ tab on the CDT PIADS website. It is important that you tell us about your research interests and let us know why you think you are a good fit for these industrial studentship opportunities. In addition to fulfilling the necessary academic background, we expect that successful applicants will be motivated to take full advantage of the full range of opportunities that we offer and they will demonstrate a commitment to engaging with staff and students across the partnership.

Tuition fees

Tuition fee support: Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend
: Doctoral stipend matching UKRI National Minimum (additional industrial contribution of £5K per annum for EngD)
Additional funding offered
: Additional funding is available over the course of the programme and will cover costs such as research consumables, training, conferences and travel.

We welcome applications from a broad range of disciplines.

Both the University of Glasgow and Queens University Belfast are committed to promoting equality in all activities and aim to provide a work, learning, research and teaching environment free from discrimination and unfair treatment. The University of Glasgow and the James Watt School of Engineering hold Athena Swan bronze awards, and Queens University Belfast holds an Athena Swan Silver award. Further, both institutional Physics departments hold Institute of Physics Juno Champion Awards.


Telephone: 028 90973523
(CDT Administrator, Vicky Weir)
Twitter: @CDT_PIADS
Facebook: @CDTPIADS