PhD Studentship: Industrially funded PhD studentships in Power Engineering (ConCEPT Project)

University of Southampton - Electronics and Computer Science Department

Supervisor: Dr James Pilgrim

Co-supervisor: Prof Paul Lewin

Project description

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship to be filled by October 2017. This scholarship will fund students for their tuition fees (UK/EU rate only), a bursary to cover living expenses (£14,553 per year) and a Research Training Support Grant for research consumables and conference attendance. The successful candidates will be based at the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory (TDHVL) within the Electronics and Computer Science Department. TDHVL is one of the premiere high voltage research facilities in Europe, with a long track record of delivering research/innovation projects to industrial clients.

The PhD position are associated with a wider programme of work, funded by a major UK electricity business.  The topics are as follows:

  1. Automated identification of divergent behaviour in large power transformers. This project seeks to develop algorithms which can automatically detect unexpected thermal behaviour in power transformers, with the aim of detecting degradation related failures more quickly and improving the asset management of the transformer fleet.
  2. Extracting additional value from online DGA (dissolved gas analysis) through machine learning techniques. This project will develop new techniques for the early identification of faults in transformer by applying novel machine learning and signal processing techniques to routinely acquired transformer monitoring data. 

The ideal candidates should have an MEng/MSc (or equivalent) with first class honours or distinction in Electrical Engineering, Physics, or a closely related subject.  Both positions will require the ability to work across disciplines, bringing together knowledge relating to high voltage/power engineering with machine learning, signal processing and “big data” techniques.  As the project is industrially funded, candidates will also be expected to demonstrate excellent communication skills, including the ability to clearly and concisely present detailed technical information to the client on a routine basis.

TDHVL will provide research experience in one of its programs, training, laboratory facilities and access to its seminar and lectures. The students will also be assigned a co-supervisor from the Electronic and Software Systems research group to provide further support in the use of machine learning tools.  Students would also be strongly encouraged to attend three major conferences during their period of study and would have access to all university facilities for wider study, including the libraries, and recreation.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact Dr James Pilgrim ( or Prof Paul Lewin ( directly for further details.  All candidates will need to apply via the University on-line system, further details of which may be found at

Key facts

Entry requirements: first class degree or equivalent

Duration: four years (full-time)

Funding: full tuition fees, for UK/EU students, and a tax-free stipend of £14,553 per year

Assessment: Nine month and 18 month reports, viva voce and thesis examination

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