Engineering Doctoral Programme

Application Process
Possible Projects
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Programme Overview

The engineering sector has a crucial role to play in delivering growth and maintaining competitiveness in a rapidly growing global market and in designing and shaping the technologies of tomorrow. Engineering is vital to our everyday lives – from essentials like running water, transport and power generation through to household appliances, computers and mobile phones.

According to Engineering UK, the engineering sector is contributing over £1 trillion to UK's economy, which amounts to nearly 25% of the turnover for all businesses in the UK. Between 2010 and 2020, engineering companies are projected to have 2.74 million job openings, of which 1.86 million will be workers who are likely to need engineering skills.

Engineering has long been a mainstay of research and innovation in De Montfort University: it is at the heart of the UK Government’s STEM agenda and is a popular subject for overseas investment in research capability.  Engineering covers a broad range of individual subjects and is organised within the School of Engineering and Sustainable Development into four main Centres.  The DTP in Engineering develops research and technical skills of the PhD students through a programme of modules as well as a structured programme of personal development to facilitate the student’s development as independent researchers.

The purpose of the DTP in Engineering is to provide both research experience and the training to be a successful researcher. The training component is delivered through a series of taught modules and seminars. 

This programme involves several research centres providing a breadth of engineering research, including opportunities to work across traditional disciplines. With more than 20 academic researchers involved in supervision, there are a lot of specialist interests a candidate could work with.

The research centres involved in this programme are:


Taught modules and seminars include:

Year 1

  • Engineering Business Environment (semester 1)
  • Research methods (semester 2).  This course is complementary to REST7013 in that it concentrates on the development of a research question, review of literature, project management etc. over the whole semester, allowing students to question, reflect and discuss their project over an extended period of time.
  • Plus two additional modules from existing MSc courses.  Ideally, one will be from the MSc closest to their intended research theme.  The other should be quantitatively based (such as numerical methods or signal processing, etc.) or a ‘broadening’ module taken from a different MSc area.  

Year 2

Two workshops will be held:

  • Summarising technical papers and articles
  • Oral presentations

Year 3

One workshop will be held:

  • The structure and language of a research paper

Year 4

One workshop will be held

  • Dissecting an engineering thesis and identifying good practice

Students will also undergo a mock ‘public’ defence with a panel of academics asking questions on the draft thesis and other fourth year DTP students invited to attend and observe.  This exercise will prepare the students well for the final version of their thesis and their viva and for life after their doctoral programme.

Other courses that form part of the training component are run by the Graduate School Office and will be taken, generally, in the second half of the course:

  • Media training
  • Winning grant funding
  • Advanced presenting your research to an audience
  • Building an in-depth career profile.

The standard offer of a PhD place at De Montfort University is on to a four year doctoral programme. All students on the Doctoral Programme are research students of De Montfort University and are subject to the University's Code of Practice. You should always consult this when you submit any paperwork, such as your registration, transfer, extension requests etc. to ensure you are filling in the correct form.

Application Process

Applicants should complete the Application Form and submit it to De Montfort University. Reference forms should be passed to the two referees for completion.

The admission points onto the Doctoral Programme are 1 October, 1 January and 1 April.

Applications are accepted for full time (typically 36-48 months) and part-time (typically 56-66 months) modes.

It is possible for students based overseas to study on the 'International Programme' where the students spends almost all their time in their home country. However, the admission requirements for such students are higher than they are for students who study in Leicester, and an experienced local supervisor to the student is also required.

It is expected that students will apply to the DTP, identifying one or more key research themes based on the principal research themes of the staff listed in the document.  The details of the supervisory team will be agreed during the application/interview process.


Supervision in Engineering doctoral programme is carried out in teams consisting of at least a first and second supervisor. In many cases we will have an additional second supervisor and external advisors. This is due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research, which often requires different areas of expertise.

Some of the key facilities associated with the DTP will include use of:

  • Communications laboratory
  • Physical Layer Laboratory
  • Lean engineering laboratory
  • Infra-red imaging laboratory
  • Water Sustainability Laboratory
  • Engine Test Cell  
  • A small in-house fabrication capability
  • A full scale manufacturing cell
  • Facilities to test fabrics
  • Research facilities in the Materials Laboratory

Students are expected to develop their engineering knowledge, develop their key skills and broaden their horizons.  Hence, their first year will include studying Master’s level modules from a variety of master’s programmes. 

Students will be expected to attend the Faculty research seminars and contribute to these during the course of their studies.  This will provide support for them on a number of fronts: promoting a sense of community, providing new insights and developing communications skills.

As part of the development of DTP students, they are expected to support laboratory and tutorial sessions in order to help develop their presentation and communication skills and improve their ability to convey and explain complex concepts to an audience in a simple way.

Past Projects include

Shakeel Ahmad , “Optimized Network-Adaptive Multimedia Transmission over Packet Erasure Channels”
Dawn Coleby “Assessment of Techniques for Electromagnetic Modelling Validation”
Richard Hopper “Accurate thermal measurements of Electronic Devices’ PhD examination”
Hugh Sasse “Enhancing Numerical Modelling Efficiency for Electromagnetic Simulation of Physical Layer Components”
James Glover “Temperature measurement of integrated thermoelectric coolers”
A. Aldsbbagh “Hybrid Electromagnetic and Thermal Modelling of Semiconductor Devices using the Transmission Line Matrix (TLM) Method”
Karen Stockton “Lean manufacturing”
Dimitris Labovas “Developing integrated performance measurement systems for improving the efficiency of mixed model flow lines
John Fresco “Automated process modeling and continuous improvement
Riham Khalil Predicting the effect of variability on the efficiency of flow processing systems”
Jason Ardon-Finch “Evolving design and control strategies for production systems”
Nicola Bateman   “Modelling manufacturing systems flexibility”
Kosov, S., Intelligent Pressure Control and Diagnosis of Water Distribution Networks, Water Software Systems”
AbdelMeguid , H.S.  “Pressure, Leakage and Energy Management in Water Distribution Systems”
Mohamed Al Kaabi  Dimitris Labovas “Improving Project Management Planning and Control in Service Operations Environment”
Taher Tourki “Implementation of Lean within the Cement Industry”
David Black - “Fabrication of hybrid inorganic and organic photovoltaic cells”         
Divine Khan Ngwashi - "An investigation of the performance and Stability of Zinc Oxide Thin Film Transistors and the role of High-k dielectrics"
Raheel Shah - “Scattering in nanoelectronic devices”
Ibrahim Al-Naimi , “Advanced Multimodal Approach For Non-Tagged Indoor Human Identification And Tracking Using Smart Floor And Pyroelectric Infrared Sensors”
Wei Feng , “Remote Service Provision for Connected Homes”
Mohamed Hussein , “Integrated Real-virtuality System and Environments for Advanced Control System Developers and Machine Builders”
Yeo San Ho , “3D-based Advanced Machine Service Support”
Aimin Yang , “A Study on the Design and Control of Energy Efficient Pneumatic Drives”
Hongtao Pan , “Design & control of components based Integrated servo pneumatic drives”
Richard Bailey “Surface engineering of titanium alloys”
Maxim Demenkov “Geometric algorithms for input constrained systems with application to flight control”


All DMU students have at least two supervisors, sometimes three. The first supervisor should be your first port of call for any queries. We typically meet with all supervisors about once a month for full time students.

It is important to realise that ownership of the research project lies with the research student. Your supervisors do not tell you what to do or how to do it. They provide guidance and give input to shape your thinking. Responsibility for accepting or rejecting this guidance lies with the student.

Your first supervisor is also your personal tutor: the member of staff in the University who you should go first to if you have personal, emotional, family, health, money or other welfare issues. Do not worry about going to the same person who comments on your academic work: indeed if they know the personal issues going on, they might be more sympathetic about you not having done as much work as they were hoping.

For an informal discussion or for more information please contact:

Dr Cristian Serdean, +44 (0)116 207 8400
Dr Alistair Duffy,  +44 (0)116 257 7056

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