Optimisation of power and control systems for high-speed motor/generators and Active Magnetic Bearings for sustainable and cost-effective aerospace propulsion systems Reference NEMA-01-2023

   Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Electric Propulsion

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  Dr Leigh Stanger, Prof Mark Johnson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This PhD project is part of the CDT in Sustainable Electric Propulsion. The successful PhD student will be co-supervised by academics from within the Power Electronics, Machines and Control (PEMC) Group at University of Nottingham and work alongside our external partner NEMA.

About the project

The goal of sustainable air travel is driving the electrification of aerospace. Electrified aerospace calls for high-power and low-weight electrical machines. High power densities are achieved by operating at the highest speeds. A critical element of achieving reliable, cost-effective, high speed electrical machinery is the proper control and application of power exchange between the machines and other components in the aircraft. Control systems and power electronics are required to drive rotation and magnetically levitate the rotating part. Levitation removes the need for conventional bearings, unlocking the highest speeds and power densities.

NEMA Ltd, based in Rochdale, are a SME that designs and manufactures electric motors and generators, primarily for aerospace applications. NEMA are looking for a candidate to engage with the doctoral training centre for sustainable electric propulsion over a four-year course. After the first year spent bedding in with the cohort, expanding their knowledge base and getting up to speed in the field, we expect the student to form a close working relationship with NEMA. This will give the candidate valuable industrial experience and allow for a clear and contextualised understanding of the application of their research.

The project includes elements of: electro-mechanical modelling, system modelling using functional mock-up interfaces, control techniques/architecture, power electronics and high-speed sensing. The candidate will be guided by their industrial and academic supervisors and their own interests in navigating which elements they should concentrate on throughout their research. High speed motor/generator control and active magnetic bearings have a significant bank of literature to draw on to provide academic context. Recent advances in sensing, control and power electronics mean there is wide scope for innovation, and therefore publication in the field.

How to apply

You should complete an application by submitting the following mandatory documents via University of Nottingham portal. You must ensure that you include the title of the project and reference number quoted above in the project title field in the covering letter: 

  • CV 
  • Covering letter (including title of project and reference number)
  • Degree transcripts and certificates
  • If English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

Please ‘Create a new account’ on the postgraduate application system. During program selection, select ‘Postgraduate Research’ > ’2023 Academic Year’ > Search with Keyword: ‘CDT’, Subject Area: ‘Engineering’, and choose ‘Doctor of Philosophy - Power Electronics: Sustainable Electric Propulsion’. Confirm by checking the course code is ‘U8PPESEP’. In the covering letter please ensure you quote Professor Mark Johnson, Co-Director of the CDT and state how your interests and experience relate to the CDT.

Eligibility criteria

Available to Home UK students for a PhD at University of Nottingham.

Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Bachelor level degree in an Engineering or Science discipline

About the CDT 

The overall vision of the CDT is the creation of a new generation of UK specialists driving the electric revolution in the transport sector. As this sector is reliant on a reliable supply of low carbon electricity, development of wave energy is seen as a potentially important part of this sector. 

We aim to create a new school of thinking amongst engineers and scientists, capable of leading the transformation from fossil fuel transport to sustainable and environmentally friendly electric transport.

Our partners 

A collaboration between two of the UK's largest and most forward-thinking research groups in electric propulsion: the Electrical Power Group at Newcastle University and the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group at the University of Nottingham.

The CDT is supported by over 30 industrial and network partners to deliver unprecedented high-quality research and comprehensive training.


We have developed a radical new training programme that will equip our students with a new school of thinking for solving problems to ensure maximum research impact. 

Highlights of the training programme include: 

  • Fusion-Training-Units - a revolutionary new training method combining technical knowledge with professional skills. 
  • Supervisor-on-Demand scheme - students will get support from their main academic and industrial supervisor and also from a pool of experts throughout training and research. 
  • A large choice of taught modules and laboratories - subjects in engineering, science, business tailored to students' needs.
Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

This project is a funded studentship for 4 years in total and will provide UK tuition fees and maintenance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£16,062 per annum). A budget for Travel and Consumables for the PhD project is also available to the student.
Please refer to the CDT website for further information on mandatory documents required as part of the application process.
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