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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. We provide a cutting-edge and innovative research environment for doctoral students to develop the new technologies, products and systems required to address the expanding data storage needs of today’s fast moving digital world.

We welcome and encourage applications from well qualified students from diverse backgrounds to join the CDT where they can undertake an exciting range of topical doctoral research projects that cut across physics, materials, electrical and optical engineering through to applications diverse as data storage and bioscience. The research themes encompass our expertise in underlying science and materials for next generation data storage and information-processing technologies. Further information about current students and their research projects can be found here.

About the PIADS Doctoral Training Programme

The PIADS well-established 4-year doctoral training programme is delivered by leading academics. There are two routes – PhD and EngD – both leading to doctoral degrees jointly awarded by Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Glasgow.  The Centre takes advantage of a critical mass of world-leading staff to ensure that each of our doctoral researchers has supervisory contact from both QUB and the University of Glasgow; doctoral projects are often supervised and supported by leading experts from the Irish Photonic Integration Centre and our industrial partners too.

CDT 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.  Our training embeds a strong ethos of intellectual enquiry enabling doctoral reseachers to move between fundamental and applied research. The programme equips participants with high-level and sophisticated technical training and skills alongside much sought after skills in distributed working, collaboration, entrepreneurship and business planning skills.

CDT students are exposed to best practice commonly used in large scientific and development projects, including annual conclaves for the dissemination of ideas and network building, and peer-to-peer learning and training in world-leading fabrication, characterization and analysis techniques. They enjoy close-knit community of postgraduate research students who are supported by world-leading researchers from Queen's University's Centre for Nanostructured Media, host to the largest global Seagate Technology university engagement, and from the University of Glasgow whose capabilities include the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre in the Engineering & Microscopy facility of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Click here for further programme details.

CDT PIADS Enhanced PhD and EngD Package

PIADS PhD and EngD students have their annual university tuition fees paid and they receive an annual maintenance stipend of £17,668 (PhD) and £21,668 (EngD). They also access a generous budget of up to £27,000 to support their individual research costs such as start-up equipment, access to facilitates, research consumables and conference participation.

Access to World-class Facilities

Throughout the programme students work in a cross-geographical environment and make use of the state of the art experimental and computational facilities in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre and the Kelvin Nanocharacterisation Centre at the University of Glasgow, the Centre for Nanostructured Media at Queen’s University Belfast and at the Irish Photonic Integration Centre in Cork.

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 exclsuive access to bespoke training provided by partners, such as the highly regarded "teamwork and collaboartion skills in a cross-geographical environement"  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 responsibilitiesWe 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. 

Employment Prospects

The PIADS programme is a gateway to a vast array of career paths from data storage, semi-conductors, telecommunications, biophotonics and more. CDT students complete a programme which has ongoing and rich interactions with our impressive range of industrial partners. They develop sophisticated technical, research and management skills equipping them to progress into a range of research and development, technical and management roles in academia or industry.

“Photonics is a major growth area both in the UK and worldwide. Integrated photonics is a key driver and its application to data storage is set to underpin significant technology development. This CDT is therefore excellently positioned to drive forward vital R&D and ensure the provision of the necessary industrial skills. ” Mat Wasley, Knowledge Transfer Manager for Photonics - Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

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