Skip to main content


Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advance Data Storage

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage (PIADS) brings together academic excellence and expertise from across Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Glasgow and the Irish Photonic Integration Centre in Cork and Dublin. 

Our well-established training programme, delivered by leading academics from the University of Glasgow and Queen’s University Belfast, leads to unique and jointly awarded PhD and EngD degrees. It provides opportunities for well-qualified students from diverse backgrounds to research the novel scientific and engineering developments in highly manufacturable photonic integration related to the storage of digital information technologies.  Students are trained in an interdisciplinary environment encompassing five themes of robust semiconductor lasers, planar lightwave circuits, plasmonic device, advanced characterisation and materials for high-density storage. 

The training embeds a strong ethos of intellectual enquiry, empowering doctoral students to move between fundamental and applied research. It combines high level technical & scientific research training with courses in innovation, management, leadership and personal effectiveness alongside industrial seminars & placements. Training also takes place through a core set of student-led activities such as conclaves, public engagement and winter schools. 

Graduating PIADS doctoral students are equipped with the high level scientific and engineering research skills needed to address the challenges of integrating photonics and advanced materials as well as with the entrepreneurial, leadership and teamwork capabilities needed to lead and operate at the highest levels in industry.  The programme is a gateway to a vast array of career paths from data storage, semiconductors, telecommunications, biophotonics and more.  CDT students can progress into a range of research and development, technical and management roles in industry or academia.

Programme Details

During Phase One students complete taught skills courses and research projects across the institutions, allowing them to explore research areas and interests, before they are matched to a substantive PhD research project.


Industrial Exposure

The CDT programme has been designed in close consultation with our impressive range of industrial partners.  Our students benefit from ongoing and plentiful opportunities to engage with these partners, through placements, annual conclaves, industry-led seminars and site visits.  They also have exclusive access to bespoke training provided by partners, such as the highly regarded "teamwork and collaboration skills in a cross-geographical environment"  delivered by Seagate Technology as part of their Global Leadership Programme. 


We value inclusivity and are committed to creating and sustaining a positive environment for all applicants, students and staff. We take a proactive approach in supporting a diverse set of students from a range of different academic disciplines and backgrounds and have a good track record in supporting our doctoral researchers from a range of ethnic backgrounds, of different nationalities and those with health issues and family responsibilities.

In renewal, PIADS staff, students and partners will embrace a prioritised Diversity agenda and work closely with colleagues across the departments, universities and our industry partner base to further champion diversity in science and engineering research.

We welcome applications and enquiries from all applicants who can fulfil the prerequisites for admission to the CDT PIADS programme and we are happy to connect with potential applicants on a one-to-one basis about any queries they may have about their suitability for the programme. Candidates can make contact, in confidence, to Mrs Brenda Morris using the Key Contacts information to be found at the left of the screen.

Queen's University Belfast Crest

University of Glasgow Crest