Engineering and Physical Sciences Thematic Studentships

Applications are open for a PhD studentship to tackle engineering and physical sciences challenges.

This four-year studentship is offered through a cohort-based doctoral training programme. You will study alongside other PhD students and receive tailored training and support, starting on 1 October 2021. Funding is provided by the EPSRC.

Applications will close when these studentships have been allocated or by 31 July 2021 so you should apply as soon as possible.


Science-informed manufacturing for scientific discovery

One PhD studentship is available for a specific project, starting on 1 October 2021.

This thematic partnership provides an interface between science and making. Our research focuses on the provision of novel materials, processes and device concepts to unlock new understanding of manufacturing methods. High-value manufacturing is the driver for the modern world, providing new opportunities and potential for scientists and engineers.

Doctoral training will be provided across disciplines. Together with our world-class expertise, you will bring advances to the understanding of manufacturing methods, design and processes to accelerate emergence of novel materials and to enable future products.

You will enter multidisciplinary research and training environments including Advanced Manufacturing and the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) groups coupled with pharmacy, physics, computer science and biosciences. This PhD programme has been developed with international collaborators and may include a period of study at one of our international partner institutions.

Available PhD projects

Design of metal structures of custom composition using additive manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, offers a radically new fabrication paradigm that allows almost total control over how materials are processed and connected. This versatility has led to the development of promising metal structures of customisable (graded) chemical composition which, if correctly designed, could replace those complex components that, to date, are formed by joining modular elements each made of a single alloy. AM structures of customised composition could find applications in a variety of industries especially energy, automotive and aerospace, where it is often required management of extreme thermal and mechanical conditions. In principle, using AM to control the composition within a structure would allow designers to tune the mechanical and physical properties in specific locations (eg density, coefficients of thermal expansion, ferromagnetism, strength, etc) and enhance part performance and durability.

Although the use of chemical composition as a design parameter offers a unique AM opportunity to create new outstanding materials, there is still a requirement to understand how different metals can be intimately combined during the printing process to systematically achieve the desired properties.

It is the aim of this PhD project to fill this knowledge gap by establishing guidelines for the identification of suitable material combinations for use in laser-based AM processes and fabricate reliable parts with no structural defects (e.g. cracks and voids). This will be accomplished by determining the structural and thermal behaviour of the interface regions of the printed component (locations where dissimilar materials are in contact) as a function of the laser process parameters that are used to print the part. The project will build on the expertise developed at the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) on the application of computational materials science techniques to laser AM to identify and select suitable material combinations. State-of-the-art AM software will then be used to design parts with the identified materials in such a way as to satisfy the desired properties of the final part. Instrumental to the correct design of these complex parts will be the characterisation and testing of the interfaces formed in the printed structures. The PhD student will develop these new structures with a combination of additive manufacturing and metrology techniques, advanced materials testing, state-of-the-art microscopy and numerical modelling (eg finite element analysis), thereby gaining a broad set of skills and knowledge relevant to advanced manufacturing and materials research.  

The student appointed will work as part of a dynamic interdisciplinary team at CfAM focussed on developing solutions for next generation AM. The CfAM is a large interdisciplinary group active in the area of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. Comprising of around 100 academics, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students, it is one of the largest research centres for additive manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide. CfAM engages with a broad range of academics from across the UK and a significant number of industrial partners to deliver on an industrially prioritised research agenda and therefore will provide the project with excellent visibility. 

Supervisory team

  • Dr Marco Simonelli, Centre for Additive Manufacturing, University of Nottingham
  • Prof Chris Tuck, Centre for Additive Manufacturing, University of Nottingham
  • Andy Harris, Autodesk
  • Allin Groom, Autodesk
  • Dr Ben Dutton, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)
  • Dr David Brackett, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)

Entry requirements

You should have, or expect to obtain, a 2:1 or above in engineering, physics, chemistry or a related area. Successful applicants will be invited to interview.

Contact details

For more information, contact the Centre for Additive Manufacturing at Please include the title of the project you wish to apply for in your email.

Funding requirements

Fully funded studentships are available for UK applicants, provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

If you are successful, you will receive a stipend (£15,609 per year for 2021/22) for up to four years. Funding will also cover your full tuition fees and a Research Training Support Grant.

How to apply

To apply, you must:

Applications will close when these studentships have been allocated or by 31 July 2021 so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

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