What is a Centre for Doctoral Training?

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences https://www.epsrc.ukri.org

Students undertake a 4 year PhD, where the first year allows students to explore the research area and build strong expertise in their “home” discipline while developing the skills and knowledge to cross disciplinary boundaries effectively. Students also undertake a formal programme of taught coursework to develop and enhance technical knowledge across a range of appropriate disciplines, as well as enhancing skills.

I’ve had no experience or knowledge of fusion during my UG degree, does this put me at a disadvantage?

Don’t let this intimidate you! The Fusion CDT programme is a 4 year PhD programme which gives us plenty of time in the first 6 – 12  months to teach you all you will need to know to fulfil a successful research project.

I’ve just finished my UG studies and I wondered what would give me the best chance to achieve a place on the Fusion CDT programme.

We always have a lot of applicants for the Fusion CDT Programme and our responsibility is to choose the people we feel are best suited to the project and the supervisor. If you have achieved a high level honours degree and you are enthusiastic about Fusion Energy, we will look forward to hearing from you. If perhaps you didn’t achieve the highest award or you would feel happier having some fusion energy knowledge before you apply, you may be interested in completing a Masters in Fusion Energy before you apply to the programme.

What advantages are there to studying with the Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training?

You will be paid a minimum of the equivalent to the EPSRC stipend each year.

You will receive additional funding over your 4 year PhD to enable you to attend conferences and summer schools all over the world.

Funding will be available to fund a collaborative project which is sourced by you with the help of your supervisor. The project can be linked to your research or you can choose to venture into a different area and increase your knowledge and international network of colleagues.

There will be an amount of funds held by your supervisor for research consumables and equipment.

As we are a partnership of five universities you get the chance to be taught at all five partner institutions, York, Durham, Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford by world leading academics in the field.

I’m really interested in the Fusion CDT programme but how do I find out more about it?

Each year we link with Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and other leading universities to offer an Open Day for students interested in a PhD or Masters degree in fusion energy.
The Open Day features:

  • Opportunities to meet our world leading academics and to talk to our current PhD students.
  • Talks on magnetic fusion, materials science and engineering.
  • A chance to tour JET and MAST experimental facilities.

The Open Day usually takes place in November/December and more details will appear on our website and  on CCFE’s website here: https://culhamphd.uk/

I’ve submitted an application and received an acknowledgement but when will I know if my application is successful?

We start accepting applications when the current projects are advertised in late September/October. You should receive an email acknowledging your application so you know we have received it. Depending on which partner institution you have applied to the events may differ slightly.

Plasma strand applications
If you have applied to Durham, Liverpool or York for a Plasma strand project your application will be held on file until the first closing date which is usually the 31 January. Your application will be shared with the relevant project supervisors. They will decide if you will be invited to interview and if you are, the interviews usually take place at the end of February. The decision making process can be slower than we would like as there are often at least three universities involved in the process. We will contact you as soon as possible if we want to make you an offer. We will not necessarily let you know immediately if you have not been selected in the first round as we do look again at applications and interviews and may come back to you with alternative suggestions.

Materials strand applications

Applications to Oxford, Manchester and Durham (materials strand) can be made throughout the year although Oxford and Manchester do have application deadlines which can be viewed from the link on the ‘Study with us page’. Successful applicants will be interviewed. For Oxford there will be a specific date for interviews, for Manchester and Durham you should contact the individual supervisor or the main contact for that university to find out more details if you are unsure.

Does the Fusion CDT offer part-time PhD positions?

The Fusion CDT welcomes part-time applications. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition to the usual considerations including funding and suitability for doctoral study, assessment of part-time applications will include, typically in discussion with the candidate following interview, whether the requirements of the project are compatible with the applicant’s non-PhD commitments.

Offers for part-time study can only be made when the registering university offers part-time doctoral study and when it is known that two consecutive years of the taught portion of the programme can be delivered.

If you are interested in part-time study please contact the relevant project supervisor to discuss. Please also contact the Fusion CDT programme director (Roddy Vann – roddy.vann@york.ac.uk) to discuss the taught programme.

Can Overseas students apply for the Fusion CDT?

We welcome applications from suitably qualified overseas applicants, although the availability of fully funded positions is limited.

Can a Fusion CDT student be self-funded?

Yes, if you can arrange funding from a sponsor or other funding agency, this would greatly improve your opportunities within the Fusion CDT.