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Engineering: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships 2019

Swansea University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 + per annum. There will also be up to £1,000 per annum available to support immersive training experiences, engagement with industry, international collaborative opportunities and cohort building.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th November 2018
Closes: 4th January 2019

Key Information

Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships (SURES)

Swansea University is pleased to offer up to sixteen fully funded scholarships for full time doctoral study on a Swansea University single award degree, commencing in October 2019, supported by its flagship Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships Scheme (SURES).

Seven academic Colleges/Schools are participating in the scheme through 33 individual projects.

Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships include fees at Home/EU rate and a maintenance stipend at UKRI rates, each for a maximum period of three years. In addition, the sum of up to £1,000 per annum is available to support immersive training experiences, engagement with industry, international collaborative opportunities and cohort building.

The award of a scholarship is conditional upon the recipient achieving either a first class honours degree and/or a distinction at Masters’ level.

All applications must include a structured research proposal for the chosen project. Applications submitted without a research proposal will not be considered.

Swansea University’s PGR Scholarships Sub-Committee will be responsible for appointing students to SURES.

Start date: October 2019

(SURESENG01) Solar Fuels: Scalable Photoelectrochemical Fuel Production
Dr Matthew Carnie (

Solar fuels are synthetic fuels produced directly from sunlight in a photoelectrochemical process. Water splitting to produce hydrogen is the most developed approach, where a solar cell is used to provide the required voltage for the electrolyser to produce hydrogen. A potentially cheaper and more efficient approach is to combine the action of light absorption with that of the electrode. Liquid fuels are perhaps more relevant to meet today’s transport needs. Therefore, this project will focus on the production of precursors for hydrocarbon fuels using CO2 or other waste materials (e.g. organic pollutants) as a feedstock. To do this, CO2 is reduced to produce CO which in combination with hydrogen could be used to produce a range of fuels.

This project will analyse exciting new materials to develop a range of solar cells and photoelectrodes. The main focus of the study will be on using (photo)electrochemical techniques, including chopped-light voltammetry, intensity modulated photocurrent spectroscopy (IMPS) and impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to investigate charge transfer and recombination kinetics of the developed electrodes. Advanced materials characterisation techniques (e.g. SEM, XRD and TEM) will also be utilised. The most promising materials will be examined, with the aim to produce a small-scale demonstrator reactor.

(SURESENG02) Analytic Assessment of Head Impacts in Rugby Union
ContactDr Rowan Brown (

In rugby union there is concern about the effect physical collisions have on the immediate and long-term well-being individuals. Of particular concern is the regular occurrence of concussions sustained during or resulting from impact events intrinsic to the game, e.g., tackles, scrummaging or lineouts. It’s now well documented that repeated sub-concussive impacts can cumulatively result in an alternate route to concussive events.

To-date there has been no robust metrology to quantify either of these routes to concussion. In partnership with Ospreys regional rugby union, SWA1 and Keytree, SU has developed an intelligent mouth guard (iMG) to address this shortfall in player well-being. The iMG is a component within the internet of things, which measures real-time the forces imparted to a player’s head during an impact.

This PhD project will involve analysis of the iMG data - linear and rotational accelerations for each individual impact over a 100ms window, providing classical time-series data, linked to the individual and spatiotemporal position within the field of play. It will develop bespoke computational analyses based around recurrence, multivariate and machine learning algorithms to characterise severity of impact, sub-population patterns (impact type) and to produce a stratified roadmap of recovery, increasing player well-being protocols.

(SURESENG03) Simulation of Coastal Erosion under Storm Surge Conditions
Dr Min Luo ( and Professor Dominic Reeve (

Large waves and rapid flows can cause serious coastal erosion/scouring, being a great hazard to the coastal communities. This problem is exacerbated by more extreme weather events and rising sea level. Although research efforts have been devoted on scouring problems, the physical process of coastal erosion/scouring under storm surge conditions is still not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, the PhD project aims to conduct a comprehensive numerical study to explore the fundamental mechanism of the interaction between violent water waves and soil particles. The numerical work will be based on a particle method called Consistent Particle Method (CPM), which has intrinsic advantages in modelling large fluid deformation and soil particle motions. Compared to other particle methods, the novelties of CPM lie in the accurate computation of spatial derivatives (e.g. Laplacian and gradient operators) and the capability of modelling discontinuities in fluid properties between different phases. For validation and supplement to the numerical work, experimental studies will be conducted in the wave flume of the research group, focusing on measuring the velocity field of the scouring area. The expected outcome of the numerical-experimental research will give better insight into coastal erosion and provide guidelines for coastal protection.


  • Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a first class honours degree (or equivalent) and/or distinction at Master's.
  • Applicants, who are yet to complete their qualification, should attach transcripts to evidence their progress towards achieving either a first class honours degree or a distinction at Master's.
  • Applicants who hold degrees from a non UK University should attach academic transcripts and certificates.
  • Where applicants have multiple standalone Master's Degrees, a distinction must be achieved in that most relevant to their intended doctoral degree.

Due to funding restrictions, the scholarships are available to UK/EU students only. Applicants liable for overseas fees are not eligible to apply.


Each scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual stipend at the UKRI rate (to be confirmed for 2019/20) for three years. The current 2018/19 stipend is £14,777 per annum. 

There will also be up to £1,000 per annum available to support immersive training experiences, engagement with industry, international collaborative opportunities and cohort building.

How to Apply

Applicants should apply online via

Applicants should be careful to select the appropriate scholarship code (e.g. SURESCOS01, SURESENG02) on page 3 of the online application form.

All applications must be accompanied by a structured research proposal, to include the following sections:

  • Project Title
  • Aims and Objectives
  • Literature Review
  • Research Methodology
  • Expected Outcomes

Research proposals should be a maximum of 2,000 words, in addition to a bibliography.

The deadline for applications is Friday, 4 January 2019.

Applicants should be aware, College/School shortlisting panels are expected to sit between 21 January and 8 February 2019. Shortlisting panels may contact candidates within this period. Interview panels are expected to sit in the week commencing 4 March 2019.

General enquiries on the scholarship scheme may be sent to Dr Vivienne Jenkins (

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