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A novel future ion therapy accelerator

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Proton therapy is the most rapidly-expanding method of radiotherapy, with a number of new proton treatment centres being established around world that are primarily based on high-intensity isochronous cyclotrons; an example of this is the recently-installed 250 MeV Varian cyclotron at which a research beamline has been installed where Dr. Appleby and Dr. Owen are carrying out research into rapid beam delivery.

Although proton therapy is now well-established clinically with over 100 treatment rooms presently in operation, there are comparatively few facilities that offer radiotherapy with other ions. There are several European and Japanese facilities that concentrate on carbon therapy and which utilise synchrotrons, but there is a need to establish a future design of facility that can offer more rapid treatment and also offer variable ion type. There is as yet no consensus as to the correct technology, but it is likely that either synchrotrons or FFAs (Fixed-Field, Alternating-Gradient) accelerators will offer the best performance. We propose to conduct a study of a compact accelerator that offers rapid variation of p, He and C ions in a single accelerator; the likely best option for this is an FFA based on the previous PAMELA proposal, but where we will simplify the design to allow it to be more cost-effective.

The design will be informed by the significant experience of the supervisors, who have all worked extensively on FFA systems that include the PAMELA medical FFA project. We also maintain collaboration with the CBETA project that has recently demonstrated wide energy acceptance in a comparable system designed for a separate application. We will also engage with CERN and its HITRI/NIMMS project, and the PhD student will join the SEE collaboration toward a future facility for South-East Europe. Both the UK and Australian clinical communities have held discussions about the potential of ion therapy facilities in each country, and we hope that the work will assist in informing decisions about a future UK and Australian facilities.

The outcome of the PhD project will be an optics design and performance estimation of a candidate ring for multi-ion delivery.
Travel funds will be used to facilitate visits to the UK to gain experience at existing proton therapy centres, and to augment the student’s experience through working with other researchers in the Cockcroft Institute who carry out a large programme of related projects in medical accelerators.

Principal investigator at Manchester: Robert Appleby
Principal investigator at Melbourne: Suzie Sheehy

For more details, email (Lead supervisor)

About the Manchester-Melbourne Golden Awards, Dual-award between The University of Manchester and The University of Melbourne -
The University of Manchester has existing, highly productive links with the University of Melbourne and now wish to extend this relationship to our Global Doctoral Research Network (GOLDEN) by establishing collaborative postgraduate research projects.

This dual-award programme offers candidates the opportunity to apply for a project with a strong supervisory team both in Manchester and in Melbourne. A dual award is a PhD programme which leads to separate awards from two partner institutions. PhD candidates will be registered at both Manchester and Melbourne and must complete all of the requirements of the PhD programme in both the home and partner university.

PhD candidates will begin their PhD in Manchester and will then spend at least 12 months in Melbourne. The amount of time spent at Manchester and Melbourne will be dependent upon the project and candidates will work with their supervisory team in the first year to set out the structure of the project.

PhD candidates on a dual-award programme can experience research at two quality institutions and applying for a dual-award programme will support you to develop a global perspective and will open the door to new job opportunities. Boost your intercultural skills and experience the opportunities studying in Melbourne and Manchester by applying to one of our available projects.
The University of Manchester has ten studentships available and is now offering candidates the opportunity to apply to one of the following projects to start in September 2020.

You will spend at least 12 months at each institution and will receive a dual PhD at the end of the 3.5 year programme.
Funding for the programme will include tuition fees, an annual stipend at the minimum Research Councils UK rate (around 15,000 for 2019/20), a research training grant and student travel to Melbourne.
Contact for further information:

How to apply:

Anticipated Start Date: September 2020 for 3.5 Years

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