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Stranger Things: Self-powered sensing for microclimate observations within a forest ecosystem

   Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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  Dr S Theodossiades, Dr H Fu, Dr A Hajjaj  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Many organisms live in environments where microclimatic conditions differ substantially from those measured by weather stations. Since they are close to the ground or the surface of vegetation, temperatures are influenced strongly by radiative fluxes. Reliable estimation of microclimatic conditions is key to understanding how ecosystems function and is essential for predicting the ecological consequences of climate change and pest invasions.

In forests, which host two-thirds of the world’s terrestrial biota, microclimate conditions vary considerably, and its measurement requires the deployment of a high-density of sensors recording at frequent time intervals, and adequate means of retrieving data from these sensors.

The key aim of this project is to design appropriate hardware that will enable the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) within forest ecosystems. IoT is primarily based on deploying robust self-powered sensing nodes, forming a network for data collection and transmission to establish a detailed picture of the microclimate within the ecosystem. The proposed research will develop a self-powered sensing node hardware (for microclimate observations within a forest ecosystem) that comprises a bespoke energy harvester (electromagnetic or piezoelectric) integrated with sensors. The node will be autonomous, and self-sustained with marginal human involvement.


Primary supervisor: Stephanos Theodossiades

Secondary supervisor: Hailing Fu & Amal Hajjej-Ep-Zemni

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualification) in engineering, physics, applied mathematics or a related subject. A relevant master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: mechanical engineering, vibrations and dynamics, solid mechanics, applied mathematics, physics and design.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

How to apply

  • Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word document format.
  • All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select “Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering’”. Please quote reference CENTA23-LU2 when completing your online application.
  • During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.
  • Interviews for short-listed candidates are expected to be held in the period 6-17th February 2023.

Apply now

Funding Notes

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.
The studentship is funded for 3.5 years starting from October 2023 and provides a tax-free stipend of £17,668 per annum (in 2022/23) for the duration of the studentship.
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