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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S022821/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Industry-Inspired Photonic Imaging, Sensing and Analysis
Principal Investigator: Reid, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Wilcox, Dr KG Marshall, Professor S Turnbull, Professor GA
Flockhart, Dr GMH Hands, Dr PJW Lavery, Professor MPJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Adaptix Ltd Amethyst Research Ltd AWE
BT Canon Medical Research Europe Ltd Cascade Technologies Ltd
Chromacity Ltd. Coherent Scotland Ltd Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL
EDF Fraunhofer Institut (Multiple, Grouped) Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd
Gooch & Housego Leonardo UK ltd Lightpoint Medical Ltd
National Physical Laboratory NPL NHS Optocap Ltd
OPTOS plc Oxford Lasers Ltd PhotonForce
pureLiFi Ltd Renishaw Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Scottish Funding Council Scottish Univ Physics Alliance (SUPA) SINAPSE
ST Microelectronics STFC Laboratories (Grouped) Thales Ltd
The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd Wideblue Ltd
Department: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2028 Value (£): 5,346,752
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Image & Vision Computing
Optical Devices & Subsystems Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Communications Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel P – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In a consortium led by Heriot-Watt with St Andrews, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Dundee, this proposal for an "EPSRC CDT in Industry-Inspired Photonic Imaging, Sensing and Analysis" responds to the priority area in Imaging, Sensing and Analysis. It recognises the foundational role of photonics in many imaging and sensing technologies, while also noting the exciting opportunities to enhance their performance using emerging computational techniques like machine learning.

Photonics' role in sensing and imaging is hard to overstate. Smart and autonomous systems are driving growth in lasers for automotive lidar and smartphone gesture recognition; photonic structural-health monitoring protects our road, rail, air and energy infrastructure; and spectroscopy continues to find new applications from identifying forgeries to detecting chemical-warfare agents. UK photonics companies addressing the sensing and imaging market are vital to our economy (see CfS) but their success is threatened by a lack of doctoral-level researchers with a breadth of knowledge and understanding of photonic imaging, sensing and analysis, coupled with high-level business, management and communication skills. By ensuring a supply of these individuals, our CDT will consolidate the UK industrial knowledge base, driving the high-growth export-led sectors of the economy whose photonics-enabled products and services have far-reaching impacts on society, from consumer technology and mobile computing devices to healthcare and security.

Building on the success of our CDT in Applied Photonics, the proposed CDT will be configured with most (40) students pursuing an EngD degree, characterised by a research project originated by a company and hosted on their site. Recognizing that companies' interests span all technology readiness levels, we are introducing a PhD stream where some (15) students will pursue industrially relevant research in university labs, with more flexibility and technical risk than would be possible in an EngD project.

Overwhelming industry commitment for over 100 projects represents a nearly 100% industrial oversubscription, with £4.38M cash and £5.56M in-kind support offered by major stakeholders including Fraunhofer UK, NPL, Renishaw, Thales, Gooch and Housego and Leonardo, as well as a number of SMEs. Our request to EPSRC for £4.86M will support 35 students, from a total of 40 EngD and 15 PhD researchers. The remaining students will be funded by industrial (£2.3M) and university (£0.93M) contributions, giving an exceptional 2:3 cash gearing of EPSRC funding, with more students trained and at a lower cost / head to the taxpayer than in our current CDT.

For our centre to be reactive to industry's needs a diverse pool of supervisors is required. Across the consortium we have identified 72 core supervisors and a further 58 available for project supervision, whose 1679 papers since 2013 include 154 in Science / Nature / PRL, and whose active RCUK PI funding is £97M. All academics are experienced supervisors, with many current or former CDT supervisors.

An 8-month frontloaded residential phase in St Andrews and Edinburgh will ensure the cohort gels strongly, and will equip students with the knowledge and skills they need before beginning their research projects. Business modules (x3) will bring each cohort back to Heriot-Watt for 1-week periods, and weekend skills workshops will be used to regularly reunite the cohort, further consolidating the peer-to-peer network.

Core taught courses augmented with specialist options will total 120 credits, and will be supplemented by professional skills and responsible innovation training delivered by our industry partners and external providers.

Governance will follow our current model, with a mixed academic-industry Management Committee and an independent International Advisory Board of world-leading experts.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk