Rolls Royce UTCin Combustion System Aerothermal Processes

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training

In Future Propulsion and Power

Fully-Funded PhD Studentships with Rolls-Royce

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Propulsion and Power is an exciting partnership that brings together three internationally recognised universities, Loughborough, Cambridge and Oxford and global industry partners to create a unique consortium for turbomachinery training and research.  The new Centre builds on the success of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics. It will provide training in the key skills that future engineers in the field of Propulsion and Power will need to become leaders in research and design.  The two new themes are:

1- Data, Learning and Design

The Centre will provide training to enable engineers to derive learning from the ever-increasing supply of data (from experimental tests, from computations and from real engines in the field) and hence develop improved concepts and technologies.

2 - Systems Integration

As well as delivering training in advanced aero-thermal science, the Centre will expose students to the requirements of Future Propulsion and Power systems, such as: integrated propulsor-airframe concepts; hybrid-electric propulsion; compact and flexible operation power generation.

The CDT in Future Propulsion and Power is a four year programme which comprises of year one study at the University of Cambridge for an MRes in Future Propulsion and Power. The MRes provides a platform to the PhD phase in years 2 to 4, where students undertake an industrially-focused PhD project.

The three-year industrially-focussed PhD project at Loughborough University will be based within the Rolls-Royce Technology Centre (UTC). The research group is set to expand again, with 2017 marking the construction work on the new National Centre for Combustion and Aerothermal Technology (NCCAT), a multi-million pound development funded through a partnership comprising the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, with support from Rolls-Royce and Loughborough University. Opening in 2020, NCCAT acts as the UK’s primary hub for research focusing on the development of future low emission aerospace combustion systems that will reduce the environmental impact of aircraft, with opportunities for wider exploitation beyond aerospace (e.g. energy).

PhD projects will be developed during the first year which will be relevant to current and future technologies being developed by Rolls-Royce. Loughborough has a specific track record of research excellence in gas turbine aerothermal processes, one of the three major components of turbomachinery (compressor, combustor and turbine). CDT students will hugely benefit from the network of experts and the portfolio of skills that they have built up at the heart of the CDT.

Several four-year studentships are available with EPSRC funding for UK students and EU students only covering tuition fees and an annual tax-exempt stipend of £18,846 (2020/21 rate) plus p.a plus fees for the duration of the 4 year programme.  However, a number of places are also available to those who fall outside this category.  Please refer to EPSRC for further information on student eligibility.


The CDT in Future Propulsion and Power follows a "1+3" model. In year one, students study for a new University of Cambridge master’s degree in Future Propulsion and Power. In years 2 to 4, students undertake an industrially-focussed PhD project at Loughborough University.

Year 1 MRes

The MRes in Future Propulsion and Power is a University of Cambridge degree.


Part 1 - Modules

During Part 1 of the MRes (October-December) students undertake a combination of core and elective modules.  The modules give students a world-leading background in the theory of gas turbine aerodynamics as well as practical aspects of both experimental and computational research. 

  • Foundation concepts (Introductory course)
  • Advanced turbomachinery aerodynamics (Flagship MRes course in advanced aerodynamic concepts)
  • Turbomachinery aerodynamic design process (Fundamentals, and hands-on experience, of computational methods for blade design)
  • Experimental methods (Practical course in experimental fluid dynamics)
  • Researcher skills (Non-technical skills needed for successful research)
  • Elective modules
Part 2 - Mini-projects

In Part 2 (January-April), students experience working in the research laboratories of each of the three participating universities and also in industry. The mini-projects at Cambridge, Loughborough and Oxford will focus on compressor, combustor and turbine aerodynamics respectively; the industry courses will look at the challenges of integrating these, and other, components together into a successful machine.

Part 3 - Research proposal dissertation

For the final part of the MRes (May-September), students work with an individual supervisor, and a broader team of experts drawn from the CDT partners, to develop a detailed proposal for the PhD phase.

Year 2-4 PhD Phase

The MRes provides a springboard to the PhD phase of the CDT. Students register for a PhD at Loughborough University, one of the partner universities. Loughborough University provides an internationally recognised environment for gas turbine machinery research, but CDT students also benefit from the network of experts, and the portfolio of skills, that they have built up during the MRes phase. In addition, the full cohort is regularly reunited for CDT seminars and workshop events.


Entry into this exciting new programme is competitive and will take account of qualifications, aspirations and experience. Successful applicants are likely to have an engineering background with some specialisation in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics; students from related fields will also be considered. Students are normally expected to have a 2.1 or 1st class honours degree from a UK University or an equivalent standard from an overseas university. 

The majority of successful applicants must be eligible for EPSRC funding but a number of places are also available to those who fall outside this category.

To find out if you need to take a language test as part of your application, please see the Graduate Admissions site here.

Students must partake in the MRes year even if they have a Master’s qualification already.  The MRes is specially designed for the Future Propulsion and Power CDT and is an integral part of the course.

How to apply

Applications for starting in October 2020 are now closed.  Applications for October 2021 will open in Autumn 2020.  Places are very limited and will be allocated throughout the year, so early application is advised.

Applications for this programme should be made on the standard graduate admissions form, stating course code EGEGR8 (EPSRC CDT MRes + PhD Future Propulsion and Power).

The MRes in Future Propulsion and Power is only available as part of the CDT in Future Propulsion and Power. On successful completion of the MRes, students will begin the PhD phase of the CDT.

In the Research Proposal section of the form enter Loughborough University as the university at which you would like to study for the PhD phase of the CDT.

General enquiries about the CDT programme at Loughborough University should be made to the CDT Administrator, Sharon Hayward-Fryer.

The deadline by which applications must be submitted is June 2021.