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PhD Studentship in Electrical and Electronic Engineering: Enabling Net Zero Power Systems through Distributed System Service Provision

   School of Engineering

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  Dr Matthew Deakin, Prof Janusz Bialek  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


This PhD provides an exciting opportunity to explore new ways of addressing the challenges that grid operators around the world face as energy systems transition to zero carbon operation.

To reach Net Zero, power systems require new ways of maintaining stability and resilience as converter-interfaced energy sources (e.g., wind, solar) become the dominant source of energy globally. One largely untapped source for these services is distributed energy resources (e.g., electric vehicles, smart demands). It remains unresolved as to both the most appropriate control strategies and role these resources can have in providing these system services. There is, however, significant potential to reduce build-out of expensive, legacy equipment (e.g., synchronous condensers) that system operators currently favour.

In this ambitious PhD research project, you will explore and demonstrate ways that system services can be provided from distributed resources. Modern ‘grid-forming’ services will be considered, considering how demands can be co-ordinated and controlled to provide these services. Newcastle’s state-of-the-art Smart Grid Lab has facilities for a possible physical demonstration of these new strategies.

This PhD project is a part of the activities of a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship held by Dr Deakin. You will be a member of Newcastle’s vibrant power systems group, with access to academic and industrial collaborators through Newcastle’s Centre for Energy, Supergen Energy Networks hub, and the Global Power Systems Transformation (G-PST) consortium.

Number Of Awards


Start Date


Award Duration

3.5 years


EPSRC – Engineering and physical sciences research council


Dr Matthew Deakin

Prof. Janusz Bialek

Eligibility Criteria


  • A very good first degree (2.1 or higher, or equivalent) in engineering, science or mathematics.
  • Experience programming in scientific languages (e.g., Python, Julia, Matlab).
  • Good writing and communication skills
  • International applicants may require ATAS (Academic Technology Approval System) clearance certificate prior to obtaining their visa and to study on this programme


  • Knowledge of grid-following and grid-forming power converter control.
  • Knowledge of power system dynamics, and/or digital signal processing techniques.
  • Hands-on experience in electrical or electronics labs.
  • Experience implementing embedded hardware and software for power electronics, power systems or electric drive applications. 

Home and international applicants (inc. EU) are welcome to apply and if successful will receive a full studentship. Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.  

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

  • search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8060F
  • Research Area: Electrical & Electronic Engineering

select 'PhD Electrical and Electronic Engineering (full time) - Electrical & Electronic Engineering' as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Questions’ section:  

  • a ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  
  • the studentship code ENG101 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  
  • when prompted for how you are providing your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.

Contact Details

Matthew Deakin, [Email Address Removed]

School of Engineering

Funding Notes

100% of fees covered and a minimum tax free annual living allowance of £17,668 (2022-23 UKRI rate).
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