EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials (PhD studentship, EPSRC ICase): Antenna efficiency and match manipulation using metamaterials Ref: 2825

About the award

This PhD studentship is will be awarded as part of the EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2) in the College for Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences on the Streatham Campus in Exeter.  Its aim is to undertake world-leading research, while training scientists and engineers with the relevant research skills and knowledge, and professional attributes for industry and academia.

The studentship is funded via the EPSRC Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) scheme, via a grant awarded to Leonardo.  The successful applicant will be registered on the XM2 programme of study and follow that assessment and training programme.  He or she will normally be required to undertake regular reporting and visits to the sponsor.  The student will not have the flexibility to change topic after the initial 6 month project.  For more details about the Industrial CASE scheme, see https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/coll/icase.

The studentships are of value around £110,000, which includes £25,000 towards the research project (travel, consumables, equipment etc.), tuition fees, and an annual, tax-free stipend of approximately £16,500 per year.

Sponsor requirements dictate that applicants must be UK Nationals.

Please visit www.exeter.ac.uk/metamaterials to learn more about our centre and see the full list of projects that we have on offer this year.

Statement of Research

Joint supervisors: Prof Alastair Hibbins, Prof Roy Sambles

External supervisor: James Dalley

Industry partner: Leonardo

This project will investigate the use of metamaterials for optimising antenna performance.  The antennas of interest are very broadband covering tens of GHz similar to antenna types used by Leonardo for airborne defence purposes. The novelty of this studentship is in the application of metamaterials to optimise the antenna performance. This can take the form of improving antenna efficiency and/or match across the full antenna bandwidth or in selected parts of the bandwidth. It is quite possible that active or reconfigurable metamaterials are investigated or developed in the course of the studentship. The metamaterial will almost certainly form an intimate part of the overall antenna structure. Polarisation manipulation (to maximise the efficient use of the antenna aperture) is also of interest and within the scope of the project. In defence applications, radar cross-section (RCS) can also be important and so will also be considered for favoured antenna and metamaterial options.

About XM2

Metamaterials are fabricated microstructures having properties beyond those found in nature. They are an important new class of electromagnetic and acoustic materials with applications in many technology areas: energy storage and improved efficiency, imaging, communications, sensing and the much-hyped ‘cloaking’. Having recruited nearly 70 new PhD researchers in its first four years, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (XM2) hosted by the University of Exeter (www.exeter.ac.uk/metamaterials) will admit its fifth cohort of PhD students in September 2018.

The first year of the studentship includes an assessed, stand alone project, and a substantial programme of training. Students will choose from a wide range of taught modules, and participate in academic and personal development skills-based workshops, together with creativity events and conference-style meetings. The cohort will also be expected to disseminate their results to the international community via high-impact publications and international conferences. They will spend time working with our academic and industrial partners.  Full details of the programme are available here, or download a copy of our prospectus.

How to apply

Application criteria

During the application process you will need to upload the documents listed below. Please prepare these before starting the application process.

  • A statement describing why you would like to study for a PhD in Physics or Engineering,
  • A statement describing why you are considering a PhD programme that offers a cohort-based doctoral training model,
  • An academic CV,
  • A cover letter that discusses your preferred area(s) of study and/or your interest in a particular project/supervisor,
  • A document outlining your research interests and any relevant expertise,
  • Degree transcript(s) giving information about the qualification awarded, the modules taken during the study period, and the marks for each module taken,
  • The contact details of two academic referees.

Please note that of all the projects advertised we expect, as a Centre, to fill 15-20 posts only.

Shortlisting and interviews

Applications will be reviewed by members of the XM2 management board and candidates will be short-listed against a set of agreed criteria to ensure quality while maintaining diversity. Failure to include all the the elements above may result in rejection. Criteria will include:


  • Excellence in a lower degree in a relevant discipline;
  • Excellence in written and oral skills in English;
  • Evidence of knowledge of XM2 ethos, research themes and/or supervisors.


  • Specialist knowledge about one or more XM2 topics;
  • Research outputs (e.g. papers) and/or has undertaken training in research methodology (e.g. undergraduate research projects);
  • Ability to work collaboratively

Short-listed candidates will be interviewed by a panel of two academic members of staff drawn from the management board. If successful, a second interview will be undertaken by the potential academic supervisors for the student concerned. Offers are normally made shortly after a successful second interview.



Application deadline:31st July 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:The studentships are of value around £110,000, which includes £25,000 towards the research project (travel, consumables, equipment etc.), tuition fees, and an annual, tax-free stipend of approximately £16,500 per year.
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Prof. Alastair Hibbins (Admissions Tutor) metamaterials@exeter.ac.uk