Revolutionising the design of trains: autonomous control and condition monitoring of mechatronic rail vehicles PhD

Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Entry requirements:
3 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
01 October 2018
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
09 March 2018



in the UK for research quality

REF 2014


in the UK for Mechanical Engineering

The Complete University Guide 2018


of 2 Queen's Anniversary Prizes


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

Rail vehicles have used the same fundamental passive mechanical guidance mechanism for nearly 200 years. The Control Systems Group aim is to challenge this entrenched thinking and revolutionise how rail vehicles are designed and operated. The vision is for future vehicles to be autonomous, self-guiding and self-diagnosing mechatronic systems that will dramatically improve performance and reliability. This project will investigate cutting edge algorithms from the control, autonomy and artificial intelligence areas to produce proof of concept demonstrators to influence key thinkers in the rail sector who will implement these disruptive technologies in the future.

The Control Systems Group have been investigating concepts in this sector for more than 30 years and this is evidenced by the large industrially supported research programme that the group is growing. This project is a great opportunity to be part of this expanding and fascinating area, helping shape the future of rail travel.


Primary supervisor: Dr Christopher Ward

Secondary supervisor: Prof Roger Dixon

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Christopher Ward or register your interest and ask us a question.

to find out more, you can also watch the Control systems group research video or visit the Control systems group website.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an electrical or mechanical engineering discipline or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: control engineering; dynamics; condition monitoring; hardware-in-the-loop simulation.

Applicants must meet the minimum English Language requirements, details available on the website.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

Please note that these studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or the following 30 projects that have been prioritised for funding; job advert ref: WS01 – WS30

If awarded, each 3 year studentship will provide a tax-free stipend of £14,786 p.a ( provisional), plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,262 p.a). While we welcome applications from non EU nationals, please be advised that due to funding restrictions  it will only be possible to fund the tuition fees at the international rate and no stipend will be available. Successful candidates will be notified by 30th April 2018.

How to apply

 All applications should be made online.  Under programme name, select Electronic & Electrical Engineering

 Please quote reference number: WS09

Application details

Reference number:  WS09
Start date: 01 October 2018
Application deadline: 09 March 2018