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Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advance Data Storage


PhD & EngD Applications for 2021 Now Open

15 fully-funded Places

We welcome applications from suitablly qualified applicants to join the programme in September 2021.  We anticipate 15 places for this cohort, including an exciting mix of PhD studentships with research projects delivered in consultation with our industry partners such as Seagate, Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global and Yelo.  All PhD projects are based in the University setting and have close ties to the industrial partner, such as mentoring and supervision.  We will also have 3-4 EngD places commencing in September 2021.

Click here for details of industrial PhD and EngD opportunities available for 2021 entry.

We are delighted to be able to recuit 2-3 international students to undertake a PIADS PhD as part of the 2021 cohort. Please note are at capacity for international applicants for 2021 entry. Our next recruitment cycle will Open Decemeber 2021, for September 2022 entry. 

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) is a four-year programme that combines PhD-level research projects based on real business and research plans identified by industrial partners. EngD candidates undertake the Orientation & Skills Phase of the PIADS programme asongsie PhD candidates.  They complete the Reesearch Phase onsite with the sponsporing industrial partner (EngD candidates typically spend arounf 75% of their time working directly with the sponsor). 

Students undertaking an EngD through the Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage, continue to engage closely with the Centre even when they are based with the sponsor by taking part in cohort events, such as the CDT's Annual Summer Conclave and Winter Schools.

The PIADS Enhanced PhD and EngD Studentship 

PIADS PhD and EngD students have their annual university tuition fees paid and they receive an annual maintenance stipend of £15,285 (PhD) and £20,000 (EngD). They also access a generous budget of up to £27,000 to support their individual research costs such as start-up equipment, access to facilitates, research consumables and conference participation.

Academic Background Requirements

The 4-year PIADS programme provides a range of scientific and research training which bridges physics, chemistry and engineering. As such, our cohort brings together research students from diverse backgrounds including physics, electrical engineering, chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering.

Applicants should have, or hope to have, a 2:1 (or equivalent) in a cognate physical sciences or engineering discipline, such as physics, materials science, electrical engineering, chemistry or chemical engineering. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the suitability of your academic background and encourage you to get in touch by email or phone to Kirsty Annand. We can also put you in touch with current students from similar backgrounds who will be happy to share their experiences on the PIADS programme with you.

Join Us
View our 2020 Recruitment Flyer
15 PhD and EngD opportunties!
Do a Doctoral Degree with PIADS
An Informal session to ask all your questions and kick-start your application!
Register for our virtual PIADS info event!

International Qualifications    

For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

Additional Information for International Students   

International students wishing to apply (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required.

*Taken within the last 2 years. For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English

Personal Attributes

The PIADS programme gives unique and unparalleled access to academic excellence and state of the art research facilities across the partner institutions of Queen's University Belfast, The University of Glasgow and the Irish Photonic Integration Centre in Cork/Dublin and our wide range of industrial partners. We train PIADS doctoral researchers in photonic integration & advanced data storage technologies and to prepare them to lead and operate at the highest technical levels in cross-geographical distributed environments. Our students spend time at each of the partner institutions, undertake industrial placements, attend national and international conferences and are actively engaged in all aspects of the Centre's activities through the CDT Doctoral Forum and our external engagement and science outreach activities.

Therefore, in addition to the necessary academic background, successful applicants to the PIADS programme will be motivated to take full advantage of these opportunities and will demonstrate a commitment to engaging with staff and students across the PIADS partnership throughout the entire 4-year programme.  

Our procedures will be weighted to ensure that we select candidates who can satisfy both the academic requirements and the personal attributes required. These will be assessed through the written application stage and at the interview stage.  

Funding Eligibility

Studentships are available to UK nationals/citizens resident in the UK for the previous 3 years as ‘Home’ students.

A limited number of fully-funded PhD places (2-3) will be available to those not meeting the ‘Home’ status detailed above.  Competition for these places is likely to be intense and as fully-funded positions for international applicants are rare, we would expect the candidate to have obtained a 1st class degree (or equivalent), to have English language proficiency (with IELTS certification if relevant -) and have ATAS clearance. 

Please contact if you have any queries regarding your eligibility for funding.