UK/EU students

EPSRC Studentship – Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Value of award

100% tuition fees and UK/EU rate for 4 years of study (MSc year + 3 years PhD), plus an annual stipend of £14,533.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2017 (MSc Year) to September 2021.

Application closing date

31 July 2017


First principles modelling of the excited state & simulated spectroscopy


Electrons move in solids in a fashion dictated by the laws of quantum-mechanics, so that everyday observations, such as the colour of a crystal, cannot be explained without grasping the wave-like nature electrons.  Wave functions of electrons observed be seen directly, and it is a key role of computational science to provide much of this detail. 

Using computers to solve from first principles the equations that govern the interactions between, for example, the light and matter, is non-trivial and requires the use of both sophisticated algorithms and lots of time on parallel-computing systems. 

It is crucial that the quantum-mechanical modelling is directly relevant to observations, both quantitatively and qualitatively, but this is an extremely challenging problem.  A key example is the case of colour centres in diamond (defects that give the diamonds colour).  For example, the “NV” centre can be charged, has a variety of magnetic properties, and is at the heart of diamond in quantum-computing, colour-centre lasers and single-photon sources used in quantum-encryption.  The optical and magnetic properties of this colour centre depend upon the electrons in a complicated, many-body way.  In the PhD project, defects, such as NV, will be modelled using in-house developed density-functional-theory software, with key objectives in both determining the origins of observed phenomena from experiment, and making predictions of the arrangements of atoms and electrons that provide sought-after properties for a range of scientific and technological reasons.

The PhD project, as part of the Diamond Science and Technology Centre for Doctoral Training, is based in Newcastle University, with an initial MSc year in Warwick University and mini-projects in Physics in Warwick University and the Strathclyde Institute of Photonics.  Through these contacts both an appreciation of the challenges in obtaining the experimental data and of the unresolved colour-centre structures will be built, and these links will be maintained to ensure that the modelling and experiment continue to inform one another.


Applicants with a good bachelors or a master’s degree in the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, engineering, materials) are encouraged to contact Prof Patrick Briddon at or Dr Jon Goss at  The position consists of a 1 year MSc in Warwick University, followed 3 years in Newcastle University.  Details of the programme offered through the Centre for Doctoral Training, including the taught element in the first year and the available funding, can be found online

The project supervision will be led by Jon Goss (Senior Lecturer), who has been publishing in the field of QM-modelling for 22 years, and co-supervised by Patrick Briddon (Professor of Computational Physics), who has developed the research software at the heart of the research activity.  Both supervisors are in the Materials Modelling Group, which lies within the Emerging Technologies and Materials division of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in Newcastle University.

With 190 PhD students working in state of the art newly refurbished laboratories and offices the successful applicants will become part of a thriving research community.  As a PhD scholar you will receive the highest standards of research training and have the opportunity to develop your technical excellence within one of our world leading research groups:


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Jonathan Goss and Professor Patrick Briddon, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Physics)

Eligibility Criteria

UK citizen with a good bachelors or a master’s degree in the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, engineering, materials).   Other qualifications may be considered, and we encourage those interested in the project to make informal enquiries with the supervisors.

How to apply

Applications must be made using the University's online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must be completed.  The following information will help you us to process your application. You will need to: 


In the first instance, please email Professor Patrick Briddon or Dr Jon Goss

Alternatively, you can make enquiries through the Doctoral Training Centre.