AiPT PHD Programme in photonics

PhD positions at Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies

Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AiPT) PhD program in photonics

AiPT provides a multidisciplinary environment for first-class research and education as well as for the generation of knowledge and innovation in Optics & Photonics. Apart from self-funded PhD projects, AiPT offers competitive scholarships, using a variety of supporting mechanisms, ranging from the Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) College to research project or European Training network funded PhD projects. Regardless of the specific funding mechanism, AiPT PhD students will be fully integrated and will be treated as a cohort throughout the entire PhD Program.

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Funding Opportunities

AiPT Research groups are always searching for talented and motivated researchers interested to join their groups to work on a wide range of cutting-edge research projects. Check opportunities page where some specific projects of interest may be posted. Reach out to Group Leaders who are conducting research in your area of expertise to open a conversation about potential collaborations.

Standard PhD scholarships (funded by EPS or AiPT)

Standard PhD scholarships are offered on a competitive basis to outstanding PhD candidates with the projects aligned with the research activities in AiPT research groups. 

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MSCA Fellowships

Horizon Europe Maria Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Network projects awarded to AiPT provide attractive earlystageresearcher fellowships to outstanding PhD students to carry out ambitious PhD-projects at AiPTThese fellowships are highly competitive. 

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Self-funded PhD Positions

Our self-funded PhDs give you the chance to work with our academics in an area we have identified as a priority for research. You will be able to select from a range of pre-defined research topics. Applicants should either be confident they can cover the costs from their own resources or be applying for an external scholarship. As part of the application, you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this funding

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Industry funded PhD scholarships

Industry funded PhD Scholarships within AiPT give you the opportunity to undertake research in collaboration with an industry partner from wide AiPT Network, providing practical experience while you complete your doctoral studies. You will conduct relevant, impactful research that responds to industry needs.

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Available Projects

Current PhD projects recruiting at AiPT (not yet advertised)

Highly Integrated Coherent optical fibre Communications

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AI in multi-source large scale health data securing, fusion and analysis

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Laser technologies in developing advanced human stem cell models

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Machine learning for optical communications

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Photon sensitive laser detection

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Smart photonic sensing for resilient civil engineering infrastructures

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Mid infrared fibre device, sensor and sensing technology

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Real-Time Digital Backpropagation for Fibre-Optic Communication Systems

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High capacity optical transponders for next generation communication systems

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Ultra-Fast Data Transmission in Free-Space Optical Communications

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Development of sapphire based optical fibre sensors for extreme condition monitoring

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Optically Enhanced Transponders for Digital Futures

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Novel photonics based techniques for biomedical applications

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All-optical frequency conversion

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Excellence in PhD education

Our excellence in PhD education has been recognised by the European Commission (EC), who awarded AiPT the coordination of 8 H2020 Initial Training
Networks, covering 69 PhD students, making it the 6th most successful European university and the top UK university in coordinating European ITNs. Moreover, we are ALSO the 6th most successful university in Europe and top University in the UK winning the coordination of H2020 European Industrial Doctorates (with 18 months immersion in the industry), clearly demonstrating the high quality of our cohort-based PhD training regime.


Why choose AiPT

AiPT is one of the world’s leading photonics research centres, cultivating an environment where academics, post-doctoral researchers and students work together on major scientific and engineering challenges in a welcoming and collegial atmosphere. Our successful track record of scientific achievements ranges from medical lasers and bio-sensing for healthcare, to the high-speed optical communications technology that underpins the internet and the digital economy.
AiPT is one of the largest photonics centres in the UK with a workforce ~100: 20 Faculty, ~45 postdocs/Fellows, ~25 PhD students, ~10 managers. We have a vibrant team of researchers guided by world-leading academics, with 10 members of staff at AiPT appearing in the Stanford database [1] of ‘Top 2% of scientists worldwide’.

[1] DOI: 10.17632/btchxktzyw.3 




Fellows & Postdoctoral Researchers


PhD students

Research Areas

Optical Communications

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Optical sensing

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Laser  Material Processing

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Nanoscale Photonics

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Nanoscience Research Group

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Nonlinear Photonics and Fibre Lasers

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The Optoelectronics and Biomedical Photonics Research Group

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Machine learning and unconventional computing group

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We are a sustainable Centre of Excellence in photonics, with global international visibility, a reputation as a trailblazer in research and innovation, as well as strong industrial links and knowledge transfer. Our researchers make significant achievements in all aspects of light-based information and communication technologies.

AiPT is a well-funded centre of excellence with a diverse portfolio of projects and research grants worth ca ~£40 Mill, from blue-sky research to technology industrial projects and applications-focused research.

The mission of AiPT PhD programme in Photonics is to provide the best possible environment for first-class research and education as well as for the generation of knowledge and innovation in Optics & Photonics. In addition to the regular courses, a variety of special lectures and workshops is offered by AiPT and AiPT’s network. doctoral candidates benefit from the close collaboration between AiPT and some of the world’s leading companies in the field of optics, photonics. Interdisciplinarity is an inherent part of our philosophy. AiPT provides a variety of courses that help students acquire additional knowledge in complementary sciences, as well as essential transferable skills, e.g., project management, leadership, or developing a scientific career. AiPT students also fully benefit from the large choice of skill courses offered by the Aston University’s Graduate School and ECRs development courses.

AiPT is a University Research Institute at Aston University, which has been named Guardian University of the Year 2020 and the Times Higher Education Outstanding Entrepreneurial University(2020). Our green campus is located in the heart of vibrant multicultural Birmingham, UK’s second largest city, and has outstanding transportation links nationally and internationally via Birmingham Airport.

Picture by Edward Moss Photography All rights reserved. Aston University

Some of Our Partners

AiPT excels in applications-focused research, fostering strong links to the international photonics industry. We collaborate with over 100 companies ranging from SMEs through to major corporations such as BT, IBM, Nokia Bell Labs, Infinera, Coriant, Orange, Huawei, Telecom Italia, France Telecom, Bruker, Thales, BEA Systems etc). We have close collaborations with leading universities around the world.


Facilities at AiPT

Our recently built world class and broad photonic research facilities, include ~30 laboratories (1500 square meters) with state-of-the-art equipment, including brand-new facilities and clean-room. The Wolfson Centre for Photonics for Food and Agri-Tech was established in 2019 with the major support of the Wolfson Foundation for development of specialist facilities and infrastructure for research in food and agri-tech. Advanced facilities include:

• Gbit/s to multi Tbit/s communications testbeds
• UV and fs-laser systems for fabricating optical devices
• Class 10,000 (locally 1000) cleanroom
• Environmental test chambers
• A range of other equipment for laser and sensing system development
• Advanced Prototyping Facility / 3D printing facilities
• High Performance Computing ‘HPC Midlands+’, a supercomputing facility

Our AiPT PhD Graduates

Here is a flavour of recent PhD research theses completed at AiPT.
After graduation, AiPT PhD students become high-achievers in Industry, Academia and Professional Bodies
Here is a selection of positions AiPT PhD Graduates hold today.
Still not convinced? Watch here what our alumni have to say about opportunities at AiPT.