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Materials for Demanding Environments (M4DE) CDT

Three researchers in conversation around a wooden table


Students on the M4DE CDT focus on researching problems and challenges on which our industry partners have an active interest.

Giuliana Giunta

The CDT gives us the opportunity of doing world class research on relevant and modern topics in collaboration with industrial and technological companies and this is the reason why I decided to be part of it.

Giuliana Giunta / M4DE CDT student

Our Centre for Doctoral Training addresses the complex challenges faced by industries that require materials to perform well in demanding environments.

This four-year course begins with a taught programme that delivers the knowledge that underpins the following three research years; in years two to four students undertake a PhD research project, guided by a supervisory team.

Academic and professional training are linked throughout the programme. Our students take part in a number of short courses in order to enhance taught aspects of the programme in year one and enhance enquiry-based learning in years two to four.

Further information about both parts of the programme can be found below.

Year 1

Our students come from a diverse range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics backgrounds. In year one, we ensure everyone has the core knowledge they need to underpin their research projects during years two to four.

This core is delivered through lectures, tutorial and laboratory sessions. Highlights include guest speakers from industry and short cohort-based skills training focusing on advanced techniques in electron microscopy, x-ray tomography and photoelectron spectroscopy.

In preparation for the PhD research project at the end of year one we move towards an enquiry based learning approach. The Structural Integrity Casebook Team Project introduces students to the scope of real-world challenges encountered in engineering.

Our industrial partners are committed to working with us to create a suite of Aerospace, Oil and Gas, and Nuclear case studies based around problems actually faced within industry. Led by a mentor, the team will apply knowledge gained throughout the year and combine their complementary skills to meet the challenge.

Years 2 to 4

At the beginning of the second year students embark on their PhD research project, guided by their supervisory team. Students meet with their main supervisor once a week and with the co-supervisor and the industrial supervisor regularly in order to get further technical input.

In addition to the PhD research project a programme of activity ensures students gain a wide body of skills, enabling them to frame their knowledge in an industry-relevant context. Year two begins with a foundation course in research computing covering the fundamentals of computing, basic programming, software engineering, data interpretation and research data management.

In years three and four students take part in an industrial secondment and an industrial consultancy to gain insight into real world scientific issues, applying their expertise to find solutions.

During years two to four students take short courses focused on career development, project management, commercialisation of research and equality and diversity. They enhance their skillsets through outreach activities, participating in cohort meetings, debating in a Cafe Scientific event and attending, presenting at and organising the annual M4DE CDT Summer Symposium.