Research projects for self-funded students

We are actively seeking self-funded students for the following research projects. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and you are very welcome to contact your department of interest to discuss research options.

You can find more information about the costs of studying a research programme, as well as advice on securing funding on our fees and funding pages.

If you are looking for a project with funding attached, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

 

Computer Science: Self-Funded PhD Project: Re-shaping the Expected Future

Computer Science: Self-Funded PhD Project: Re-shaping the Expected Future: Novel Interactions for Emergent Users

Closing date: Applications accepted throughout the year

Project description:

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity available at Swansea University's College of Science and based in the Department of Computer Science.

The concern in this project is for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) users, that is, those who are the most socio-economically disadvantaged. These BoP or Emergent users are the hundreds of millions of people from the poorest regions of the world. Challenges in these areas range from low technological and textual literacy, a paucity of relevant, appropriate content, to a lack of affordable, high-bandwidth data connections. 

The most likely future in the next 5–10 years is that emergent users will have access to handsets that “developed” world users are now taking for granted — devices that are equipped with rich sets of sensors, connectivity facilities and output channels.

While there is plentiful research on how to use and extend these platforms for more “natural” interaction, the work has largely been from a “first world” perspective; designed to fit a future, in terms of resource availability, cultural practice and literacy, that is out of joint with that lying ahead for emergent users. 

The aim of this project is to work with emergent end-users to radically innovate for key information interaction needs. The aspiration is to uncover fundamental, generally applicable interaction and transaction techniques for these sorts of users. In the developed world there are key base interfaces and interactions, such as textually-rich query-result search, drag and drop, document cutting and pasting, and persistent network-dependent content. A driving question in this work is, “what are the equivalents of these sorts of enabling interfaces for emergent users?”

Eligibility

Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours or a Master's degree (with Merit) in a relevant discipline.

Funding

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project.

How to Apply

Please send the following to science-scholarships@swansea.ac.uk:

A comprehensive CV to include:

  • Details of qualifications, including grades
  • Details of any current and relevant employment or work experience
  • A covering letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project

 Informal enquiries about this project are welcome and may be directed to Matt Jones (matt.jones@swansea.ac.uk), Jennifer Pearson (j.pearson@swansea.ac.uk) or Simon Robinson (s.n.w.robinson@swansea.ac.uk).

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Applying nanotechnology

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Applying nanotechnology to solve environmental problems. The conversion of waste products into carbon nanomaterials

Closing date: Applications accepted throughout the year

Project description:

This is a description of self-funded PhD opportunities that are available at Swansea University’s College of Engineering which are based in the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI).

The aim of this project is to positively impact the environment both locally and globally. This will be done by taking carbon waste and turning it into carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs can be used to transmit electricity under a wide range of temperatures, they are much lighter so they offer mass savings, and specialized forms are ballistic conductors which can transmit electricity with near zero loss.

Solid waste products such as plastics can be increasingly difficult to recycle, but they can be repurposed to form CNT electrical conductors. Other waste materials such as carbon dioxide is the most relevant greenhouse gas, and it has also been positively shown to be an effective feedstock for the synthesis of CNTs. They can be formed by either using chemical vapour deposition (CVD) or by using electrochemistry, this allows the researcher an opportunity to explore multiple pathways to success while also developing an expanded set of technical skills.

This project has three goals. Firstly, to explore the full range of materials that will have the greatest impact when used as feedstock for nanotube growth. Second, to improve the conversion rate of waste carbons into carbon nanotubes. Third, to integrate the technology into current industrial standards and practices. Industrial partners, collaborators and stakeholders will be sought in order to increase the impact of this research. The successful PhD student will be expect to present their work at relevant conferences and meetings with stakeholders, and to assist in the publication of journal articles.

There are a range of specializations that can be pursued and will be agreed according to the applicant’s abilities and interests. These specializations range from (but are not limited to): repurposing plastics, conversion of carbon dioxide to CNTs, electrical characterization, construction of ancillary devices, formation of ultralong single walled carbon nanotubes, carbon nanotube amplification and cloning. The details of each specialization can be discussed prior to starting.

Additional details of the work in this group may be found at the following links:

Eligibility: 

  • Candidates must be eager to learn, be willing to fail, and not be deterred by failure.
  • Candidates will be preferred if they have a first, or upper second class honours or a Master’s degree (with Merit) in a relevant discipline such as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, or a related science.
  • Swansea University is an equal opportunity employer, and we welcome applications regardless of gender, race, or self-identity.

Funding:

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project. However, applicants will be encouraged and supported during their PhD to apply for travel grants, fellowships, and any relevant awards or funding that become available.

How to apply:

Informal enquiries about this project are welcome and may be directed via email.

Should you wish to apply then please send the following to Dr Alvin Orbaek White (Alvin.OrbaekWhite@Swansea.ac.uk)

  • CV, include details of any current and relevant employment or work experience (also include contact details for a reference)
  • A cover letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project and in which specialization you are most interested to solve.

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Electrochemistry at CYP51A1 Thin Films

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Electrochemistry at CYP51A1 Thin Films: a Novel Electrochemiluminescence (ECL)-based Approach to Evaluate Inhibition towards Studies Related to Antimicrobial Resistance

Closing date: Applications accepted throughout the year

Project Supervisors: Dr. Paolo Bertoncello (Engineering) and Prof. Diane Kelly (Medicine)

Project description:

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity available at Swansea University's College of Engineering and based in the College of Engineering.

Electrochemiluminescence (ECL) is a kind of luminescence produced as a result of electrochemical reactions. ECL is a process in which electrochemically generated species combine to undergo highly-energetic electron transfer (redox or enzymatic) reactions that emit light from excited states. ECL has several attractive features, including the absence of a background optical signal, precise control of reaction kinetics offered by controlling the applied potential, and compatibility with solution-phase as well as thin-film formats. As such, ECL is a very versatile and useful electroanalytical technique to analyse and quantify enzymatic processes.  

This is a collaborative project between Dr. Paolo Bertoncello (Engineering) and Prof. Diane Kelly (Medicine).

Aims of the project:

The main objective of this proposal is the fabrication of CYP51A1 and polymer/CYP51A1 composite thin films and their deposition on electrode substrates for ECL studies. These ECL studies will provide the basis for the development of a novel electrochemiluminescence biosensor for azoles detection, as well providing insights into the mechanisms of ECL quenching operated by azoles in the presence of NADH and H2O2 as coreactants. The ECL studies of CYP51A1 herein performed go beyond their electroanalytical applications, since they provide useful insights to understand mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with obvious beneficial repercussions in the medical and biotechnology sectors.

Eligibility:

Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours or a Master’s degree (with Merit) in a relevant discipline. This project will require a background in chemistry/materials science, with strength in electrochemical characterisation methods. Knowledge of deposition of thin films using the Langmuir-Blodgett/Langmuir-Schaefer methods would also be desirable, but is not essential.

Funding:

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project.

How to Apply:

Please send the following to p.bertoncello@swansea.ac.uk:

A comprehensive CV to include:

  • Details of qualifications, including grades
  • Details of any current and relevant employment or work experience
  • A covering letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project

Informal enquiries about this project are welcome and may be directed to Dr Paolo Bertoncello (p.bertoncello@swansea.ac.uk).

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Nano-electronic devices

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Nano-electronic devices based on size-controlled nanoparticles

Start date: 8 January 2018

Project description:

This project will investigate using size-controlled clusters of nano-particles deposited on to patterned supports to create novel electronic devices.

A collaboration between Prof Richard Palmer and Dr Richard Cobley, the project will include the development of a miniature matrix assembly cluster source (MACS) and the fabrication of novel supports by thin film deposition on to patterned substrates within the cleanroom at Swansea’s Centre for Nanohealth. Prototype devices will be characterised using multi-probe ultra high vacuum measurements, scanning tunnelling microscopy, auger microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

Eligibility:

Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours degree and a Master’s level degree (or about to complete) both in physical sciences, engineering or nanotechnology.

Potential students should have gained practical experience in a laboratory research project, be familiar with working in a laboratory and describe their bachelors and masters research projects in their application, with particular attention to the experimental techniques they have used.

Funding:

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project.

How to apply:

Please send the following to Dr Richard Cobley (richard.j.cobley@swansea.ac.uk):

  • CV
  • Covering letter

Informal enquiries about this project are welcome and may be directed to Dr Richard Cobley (richard.j.cobley@swansea.ac.uk / +44 (0)1792 602066).

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Projection-driven climate impacts studies

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Improving understanding and representation of uncertainties in projection-driven climate impacts studies on floods and droughts

Closing date: Applications accepted throughout the year

Project description:

Climate change impact on hydrological processes have been one of the focal points in climate change related studies, partly due to the fact that this is an area easily perceived by general public and more importantly, researchers are well equipped with data (simulations) and models already. Most of the published studies take an approach of projection-driven model simulations attempting to look into how relevant processes are going to be affected by future (projected) climate change scenarios.  However, errors and uncertainties are yet to be addressed properly in such coupled model scenarios, let alone climate simulations have not been able to reach the necessary accuracy and fine scales. This project is set to look into this issue aiming to develop a framework to guide and assess the uncertainty representation in this coupled model context. World class High performance computing facility as well as cutting-edge climate/hydrological models via the collaboration with other key industry players.

Eligibility:

Applicants should have (or expected to have by the time of enrolment) an MSc in Civil / Environmental / Water Science Engineering with an average grade of upper second or above. 

English Language requirement IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or Swansea University recognised equivalent.

Funding:

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project.

How to apply:

Interested applicants and/or organisations are welcome to make direct contact with Dr. Yunqing Xuan (y.xuan@swansea.ac.uk).

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Rainfall nowcasting

Engineering: Self-Funded PhD Project: Improve radar-based rainfall nowcasting for urban water/drainage management

Closing date: Applications accepted throughout the year

Project description:

Weather radars have long been used as an important alternative for severe storms monitoring and warnings. The last two decades have seen a large number of their applications in flood risk management. More recently, high-resolution, easy to maintain X-band radars have become a new equipment in urban water management in terms of flood prediction and drainage management, thanks to their instantaneous availability and better spatial representations of rain storms. Most importantly, weather radars can provide very short forecasting (nowcasting) of severe storms hence extended lead time for decision makers. This project is set to study on radar-based rainfall estimation and nowcasting, with very focus on small urban catchment and new x-band radar technologies. The undertaker is expected to work interdisciplinary with other researchers in urban flood modelling, numerical weather predictions.

Eligibility:

Applicants should have (or expected to have by the time of enrolment) an MSc in Civil / Environmental / Water Science Engineering with an average grade of upper second or above. Applicants with an MSc in Computer Sciences (especially Computer Vision, AI and or Signal Processing) are also welcome to apply. 

English Language requirement IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or Swansea University recognised equivalent.

Funding:

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project.

How to apply:

Interested applicants and/or organisations are welcome to make direct contact with Dr. Yunqing Xuan (y.xuan@swansea.ac.uk).

Mathematics: Self-Funded PhD Project: Commutative Algebra and Matroids

Mathematics: Self-Funded PhD Project: Commutative Algebra and Matroids

Closing date: Applications accepted throughout the year

Project Supervisors:

Project description:

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity available at Swansea University's College of Science and based in the Department of Mathematics.

Commutative algebra, the study of rings and ideals, is one of the pillars of 20th century mathematics, playing a major role in modern geometry and algebra.  Matroids appeared about 70 years ago and remain to this day important objects in discrete mathematics.  

The goal of this project is to push the tools and ideas of commutative algebra into a new and exciting frontier that has opened up in the last couple of years: tropical geometry and matroid theory.  

The principal project supervisor, Dr Giansiracusa, has been one of the world leaders in developing this new research direction and is at the forefront of its current development.  Together, we will study the shadow of commutative algebra that remains when linear algebra is replaced by the combinatorics/discrete mathematics of matroids, developing abstract tools and computer algorithms or relevance in algebraic geometry, number theory, and possibly other areas of mathematics.

Eligibility

Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours or a Master's degree (with Merit) in a relevant discipline. 

This project will require a background in pure mathematics, with strength in algebra and particularly ring theory. Graph theory would also be desirable. Knowledge of computer algebra systems such as Mathematica, SAGE, GAP, or Maple would also be desirable but is not essential.

Funding

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project.

How to Apply

Please send the following to science-scholarships@swansea.ac.uk:

A comprehensive CV to include:

  • Details of qualifications, including grades
  • Details of any current and relevant employment or work experience
  • A covering letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project.

 Informal enquiries about this project are welcome and may be directed to Dr Jeffrey Giansiracusa (j.h.giansiracusa@swansea.ac.uk)

 

Physics: Self-Funded PhD Project: Duality in Quantum Field Theory and String

Project Supervisors:

Closing date: Applications accepted throughout the year

Project description:

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity available at Swansea University's College of Science and based in the Department of Physics.

The aim of this project is to understand a number of dualities in String Theory, most notably the AdS/CT duality, then apply these dualities to calculate observables in gauge theories at strong coupling. The project will also aim to construct new geometries from different quantum field theories.

Solution generating techniques will be an essential tool in this project. Applications to condensed matter, particle physics and mathematical physics will be the most interesting and desirable outcome.

Eligibility

Candidates must have a first class degree and a Masters degree (with Merit) in either Physics or Mathematics. An important requirement for applicants is to have a very strong background in Quantum Field Theory and Gravity and String Theory. The successful candidate must pass a mathematically intensive interview process.

Funding

Please note that this is a self-funded PhD project.

How to apply:

Please send the following to science-scholarships@swansea.ac.uk:

A comprehensive CV to include:

  • Details of qualifications, including grades
  • Details of any current and relevant employment or work experience
  • A covering letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project.

Informal enquiries about this project are welcome and may be directed to Prof. Carlos Nunez (c.nunez@swansea.ac.uk)