PhD

Sensor Technologies and Applications

Study mode:Full-time Languages: English Duration:4 years
Local:$ 29.2k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 54.3k / Academic year(s) Deadline: Jun 29, 2021
StudyQA ranking:377

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This course is aimed at students with backgrounds in natural sciences, technology, mathematics or medicine and a proven interest in sensing. It is structured in two phases: a one-year MRes course followed by a three-year PhD research programme. 

The MRes phase consists of a combination of taught and research modules aimed at teaching students the technical and transferable skills required to carry out original research in the area of sensing and to become future leaders in sensor technologies and applications. We expect students to become able to communicate sensor related research across traditional subject boundaries.

During the MRes course, students are expected to

  • attend the foundation course in sensor technologies and applications (approximately 40 lectures)
  • choose 4 specialisation modules (16 hours each)
  • attend the business and management course and practicals
  • attend all practicals (approximately 12 practicals at 2 hours each)
  • successfully conduct three extended projects:
    • guided sensor project (5 weeks in Michaelmas Term),
    • mini research project (8 weeks in Lent Term) and
    • team challenge (12 weeks in Easter Term and Summer Vacation).

Subject to passing the MRes students continue to carry out an interdisciplinary PhD project in the area of sensing offered by the approximately 50 participating academic supervisors. Project supervisors will provide short project outlines. Students will select their project and develop it into a detailed PhD proposal together with their supervisor and defend it in front of a panel of academic and/or industrial members of the Sensor CDT. PhD projects will include at least two of the following research aspects: sensor technologies, middleware or applications.

The PhD projects will allow students to become experts in their specific fields. Continuing interdisciplinary research activities during the PhD phase, such as workshops and seminars, will foster collaboration across discipline boundaries and provide a peer network. Other opportunities during the PhD phase include entrepreneurship, outreach and industry placements.

The programme aims to:

  1. Produce science and engineering leaders with a high level of understanding and skills in sensor technology, in particular the fundamentals of the field, together with the necessary systems and applications knowledge, and relevant hands-on skills.
  2. Encourage an appreciation of relevant technological opportunities for sensors and their networks, and the business, road-mapping and cost-analysis tools used to determine the adoption of new technological solutions.
  3. Develop a strong business awareness in the MRes graduates for the commercialisation opportunities of Sensors and related systems, and to foster an understanding of the connections between technology, management and entrepreneurship. 
  4. Expose the students to a range of cognate sensor technologies and application areas, and to provide experience of a variety of different R&D cultures across the University, via a foundations lecture course, followed by more specialised lecture modules, interspersed with lab rotations, a research mini-project and a sensor team challenge for the whole cohort.
  5. Encourage students to work across scientific- and engineering-discipline boundaries, with a resultant enhancement of interdisciplinary understanding.
  6. Equip graduates of the programme with communication and outreach training, personal- development skills, as well as specific research training to enable them to be future technology leaders with excellent public engagement skills.

Learning Outcomes

The course aims to cover the full breadth of topics that encompass modern sensor research, including physical and biological concepts of sensing, sensor technologies, sensor-design principles, sensor networks, processing of sensory data, and sensor applications.

In particular, the MRes and PhD parts of the course are designed to develop the following broad themes:

  • Fundamentals of sensors and networked sensor systems, with special emphasis on sensor- fabrication, technology, electronics, and communications; 
  • Concepts of, strategies for, and research skills in sensor-based device fabrication, system design and characterisation;         
  • Hands-on research experience via University-based lab rotations, a guided sensor project, and a mini research project, together with a sensor team challenge for the whole cohort, often set in collaboration with the industrial partners;
  • Aspects of business, innovation, technology development and entrepreneurship;
  • Specialist know-how in the student's chosen PhD research area combined with cross-disciplinary knowledge;
  • Effective communication skills across academic and industrial sensor research and development.

Continuing

Normally, students would have to achieve a II.1 or higher at the MRes stage to be allowed to continue to the PhD stage. Students are also required to defend their PhD project proposal in front of a panel made up of academic and/or industrial members of the Sensor CDT.

The course is structured in two phases:  a one-year MRes course followed by a three-year PhD project. The MRes course will include research and transferable skills training aimed at preparing students optimally to carry out an interdisciplinary PhD in sensor technologies and applications.

During the MRes course students are expected to

  • attend the foundation course in sensor technologies and applications (approximately 40 lectures)
  • choose 4 specialisation modules (16 hours each)
  • attend the business and management course and practicals
  • attend all practicals (approximately 12 practicals at 2 hours each)
  • successfully conduct three extended projects:
    • guided sensor project (~5 weeks in Michaelmas Term),
    • mini research project (~12 weeks in Lent Term) and
    • team challenge (~12 weeks in Easter Term and Summer Vacation).

During the PhD phase students will carry out full-time research in one or more of the participating departments. The research will be complemented by formal and informal training opportunities, e.g. workshops and seminars.

   
One to one supervision

Students’ PhD projects will be carried out in one of the ca. 20 participating departments and co-supervised by at least two out of the about 50 PhD supervisors participating in the Sensor CDT. Research work will be supplemented by cohort activities and transferable skills workshops.  Supervisors will provide general academic advice to students, and subject-specific advice relating to the thesis. Students and supervisors normally meet about once a month to discuss progress, but meetings may be more or less frequent depending on the project’s progression.

Seminars & classes

MRes: weekly 1 hour industry lectures during Michaelmas and Lent terms.

Lectures

MRes:  total of ~40 lectures (Principles of Sensing) + 4 specialisation modules (~16 hours each) during Michaelmas and Lent terms.

Practicals

MRes: approximately 12 practicals of 2 hours each during Michaelmas Term.

Posters

MRes: students will present their results of the guided sensor project, research mini project and the team challenge in the form of a presentation and a report

PhD: students will present their research outcomes during talks, seminars and workshops in form of oral and poster presentations

Placements

During the MRes phase students will carry out a number of practicals and a mini research project organised by the participating departments.  Industrial partners might offer the opportunity for MRes or PhD students to carry out parts of their projects in the industrial partner's research facilities.

Feedback

The students' coursework, reports and presentations will be marked, and the students will receive feedback on their progress through termly online reports.  The students will be supervised during their projects and will receive continuous feedback from the project coordinator.

Assessment

Thesis

For students who carry on to the PhD, a thesis must be submitted and will be assessed via an oral examination with an internal and an external examiner.

The thesis will have to comply with the rules and regulations set out by the department in which the student is registered for his/her PhD. The typical length of the PhD thesis will be 60,000-65,000 words.

Essays

For the MRes the students’ progress will be assessed through two project reports of not more than 7,000 words.  Students will also carry out a number of practicals and a mini-research project organised by the participating departments.

Written examination

The students’ progress will be assessed by written examinations, depending on the modules chosen.

Other

For the MRes the students’ progress will also be assessed by coursework, depending on the modules chosen.

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Online button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal, where you can create and submit your application, and request references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application via the Applicant Portal and paid the £50 application fee
  2. you have uploaded the required supporting documents via the Applicant Self-Service
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

You must contact us at admin@sensors.cam.ac.uk and email a separate CV (max 2 pages) to inform us when you have submitted your application. 

Selection Process

Sensor CDT studentships

Following the application deadlines published on the Sensor CDT website, applications are considered as part of a gathered field. We aim to interview shortlisted candidates within four weeks after the application deadline.

Interviews will take place in Cambridge or over skype.

The deadline for the first round of applications will be in early December with interviews of shortlisted candidates scheduled for early January. If places remain unfilled after the first round further application rounds will be opened and deadlines published on the Sensor CDT website.

Industry sponsored studentships

We may, in addition, advertise specific industry funded projects on the Sensor CDT website with separate application deadlines. After the successful completion of their MRes, students who are recruited through a specific industry sponsored studentship are expected to carry out their PhD project in accordance with the project description.

  • Magistr (Master's Degree) at Pass level. Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of good or 4/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 4/5 Bologna Bachelor's from other institutions with an overall grade of 5/5, Excellent
  • Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of Excellent or 5/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 5/5
  • IELTS (Academic) 7.0
  • TOEFL Internet Score 100
  • £50 application fee
  • First Academic Reference
  • Second Academic Reference
  • Transcript
  • CV/Resumé
  • Personal Reference
  • Global Education
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarships
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