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Doctor of Engineering (EngD): Optical Communication and Image Processing for Space Applications (OCIPSA) (STAR-Dundee)- University of Dundee

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Reid
    Dr K Wilcox
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project not available to non UK/EU applicants.

The EngD is an alternative to a traditional PhD aimed at students wanting a career in industry. Students spend about 75% of their time working directly with a company in addition to receiving advanced-level training from a broad portfolio of technical and business courses. On completion students are awarded the PhD-equivalent EngD.
The successful applicant will be a registered student of the University of Dundee.

STAR-Dundee designs signal and image processing systems and data communications networks for use on-board spacecraft. STAR-Dundee played a leading role in the research and development of the SpaceWire spacecraft on-board network technology, which is now being used on more than 100 spacecraft. It is currently working on the next generation, high-performance, high-availability spacecraft network technology, SpaceFibre, which can run over electrical or fibre optic cables. SpaceFibre will be used to interconnect image and other sensors on-board a spacecraft to the on-board processing and data-storage sub-systems.
The OCIPSA project will research and develop optical communication technology and image processing technology for space applications. It will explore the use of fibre optics in high-availability SpaceFibre networks, considering lane and link redundancy to provide the high reliability and high availability capabilities required on-board a spacecraft. Experimentation is expected to include the design (in VHDL for FPGAs) of digital communication protocol engines driving fibre optics, the construction of fault tolerant networks, the integration of an image sensor and image processing application, and the overall evaluation of the performance of the fibre optic network in the event of transient, persistent and permanent lane and link failures.


The successful candidate will have a 1st class or 2:1 (or equivalent) in a Electronic Engineering degree or similar. The candidate will have an interest in space technology or astronomy and have the ability to work under minimal supervision, but also as part of a team.

It would be advantageous to have experience of VHDL or Verilog design, electronic circuit design and FPGA design. A knowledge of digital signal processing, image processing and experience of software development would be desirable.


It is expected that papers will be presented at the International SpaceWire Conference which is sponsored by ESA, NASA, JAXA and Roscosmos, the IEEE Aerospace Conference, NASA MAPLD Conference, and/or the ESA ADCSS Conference.
A paper may be submitted for the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems journal.
It is also expected that the student would present his or her work at the ESA SpaceWire Working Group meetings.

Funding Notes

This 4-year (including CDT taught-courses) project is funded jointly by STAR-Dundee and by the CDT in Applied Photonics, run by Heriot-Watt University. The annual stipend is approximately £20,000, which includes an enhancement from STAR-Dundee. A substantial consumables and equipment budget is provided by a concurrent EPSRC grant. Travel funding for conference presentations is also available.



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