Postgraduate research

The School of Materials has 230 PhD students, with a large fraction on aerospace related projects.

These PhDs are usually funded via:

  • DTG – Doctoral Training Grants
  • CDT – Centre for Doctoral Training

CDTs are centres for managing the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) PhD-funded degrees in the United Kingdom. Typical UK PhD students take three years to complete their doctoral research under the guidance of an academic supervisor or small supervisory team, and tend to be located within an existing research group.

The School of Materials has three CDTs to offer:

Advanced Metallic Systems 2 – Challenges in Future Metals Manufacturing : The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Advanced Metallic Systems is a partnership between two internationally recognised Centres of Excellence in metallic materials at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester.The CDT was set up to address the critical shortage of doctoral level metallic material specialists in the UK. Graduates from physical science and engineering disciplines are trained in fundamental metallurgical science and engineering as well as undertaking an industry sponsored, multi-disciplinary cutting-edge doctoral project through our 4 year programme.

The University of Manchester
The University of Sheffield 



ICAM - Materials for Demanding Environments : It offers a comprehensive training programme that focusses on developing interdisciplinary skills & expertise. The 4 year course includes taught technical components & professional skills training, as well as a PhD level research project. Industrial partners will play an active role in shaping & delivering the training.

The CDT will initially focus on the oil & gas, aerospace and nuclear power sectors, and industrial sponsors include: BP plc, Airbus Group, BAE Systems plc, Rolls-Royce plc, AMEC, Areva, EDF Energy, AkzoNobel. The Centre will draw on expertise in the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM), the Aerospace Research Institute and the Dalton Nuclear Institute. Strategic investment by the University and its partners has resulted in world-class advanced testing & characterisation facilities, including the National Composites Certification and Evaluation Facility, National Structural Integrity Research Centre at TWI, and a new £22M Multidisciplinary Characterisation Facility.

Training will follow 5 broad themes:

Materials Fundamentals
Materials Performance
Reliable Design & Structural Integrity
Degradation Mechanisms & their Control
Imaging and Characterisation
The University of Manchester

CIMComp - Industrial Doctorate Centre in Composites Manufacture : The IDC aims to provide the UK composites manufacturing industry with elite Research Engineers equipped with the necessary advanced technical and leadership skills required for effective adoption of new knowledge and technologies in composites manufacture. The IDC will support 70+ selected Engineering Doctorate (EngD) Research Engineers, who will undertake specialist training while completing an industrially focused research project. The IDC's theme area is manufacturing of engineering composites structures, specifically those which comprise continuous high performance fibres held together with a polymeric matrix. The relevant industry areas include aerospace, automotive, marine, wind energy and construction. EngD Research Engineers spend 75% of their time at their sponsor company, while the remaining 25% of their time is allocated to completing the bespoke taught modules, which are specifically tailored to the needs of the composites manufacturing engineer.

The IDC has its base at the UK National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol, with access to a complete range of equipment and techniques required for composites manufacturing research. All specialist training and most of the dissemination takes place at the NCC. The IDC is open to all UK industry and academia, and will eventually offer wide access to its bespoke taught modules.

The University of Bristol
The University of Nottingham
The University of Manchester
The University of Cranfield
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