Science and Engineering: Fully Funded EPSRC iCASE and NPL PhD: Metrology and Process Integration for Defect Mapping of Next Generation Semiconductor Materials and Devices (RS577)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 1 April 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 1 April 2024

Funding providers: EPSRC iCASE and the National Physical Laborotory (NPL), Teddington UK  

Subject areas: Physics / Electrical Engineering / Chemistry 

Project start date:

  • July 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-June)
  • October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)


Aligned programme of study: PhD in Chemistry or Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description:

This highly innovative PhD project will develop new analysis tools for investigating semiconductor wafers and devices – focussing on the latest semiconductor materials (including compound semiconductors).

This studentship is linked to an exciting new Doctoral Training Initiative “UK Semiconductor Industry Future Skills” (UK-SIFS). UK-SIFS will provide valuable and highly practical skills relevant to the UK semiconductor industry such as formal cleanroom fabrication training, vacuum systems, process control (six sigma) in semiconductor manufacturing, semiconductor supply chains and export control, semiconductor packaging, and technology translation in the semiconductor sector. This PhD will be part of two cohorts of students in 2024 and 2025 across Swansea University and the University of Leeds, the Royce Institute, and partners including KLA, and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), amongst others. Our partners will co-deliver the training content, plus co-supervise PhD research projects, and supervising a programme of secondments at partner sites. UK-SIFS provides not only the considerable benefits of research training and collaboration across a multidisciplinary cohort working in areas such as semiconductor devices, device characterisation and metrology, power electronics, clean energy, bioelectronics and sensing, THz devices, optoelectronics, molecular semiconductors, quantum technology, electronic glass and advanced heterogeneous integration, but is also a unique opportunity for those students who may want to connect closely with the semiconductor and related industries for their PhD and aspire to be the future leaders of the sector in the UK and beyond.

This highly innovative PhD project, led by Swansea University and based at NPL in London, aims to create new tools for analysing semiconductor wafers and devices, focusing on the latest materials like compound semiconductors. Compound semiconductors, important in the UK’s semiconductor strategy, are used in various technologies like electric vehicles, sensors, and quantum technologies. They are more efficient than traditional silicon, but are sensitive to defects, which can lead to production issues and high costs. The project will develop methods to inspect wafers more effectively, using machine learning to identify critical defects in the latest semiconductor materials like SiC, GaN and β-Ga2O3. These materials offer profound advantages for power devices over silicon technologies. This PhD work is critical as low production yields lead to wastage and slow market growth.

The project is funded by an iCASE award to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). The award will fund a Swansea University student to undertake a PhD at NPL’s Teddington laboratories near London.

Further project description for RS577

Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM)

For more details please see here:

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold 1) an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline, OR 2) an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level in chemistry or a related subject, or a master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’ in chemistry or a related subject (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University). If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency.

English language requirements (Full details of our English Language policy, including certificate time validity, can be found here):

  • For PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering- IELTS 6.5 Overall (5.5+ each comp.) or Swansea University recognised equivalent
  • For PhD in Chemistry- IELTS 6.0 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

EPSRC ICASE studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students, once the limit has been reached, we are unable to make offers to international students. We are still accepting applications from international applicants. International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements. 


Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website.

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer.

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in.


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24).

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How To Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

1. Course choice – please select Electronic and Electrical Engineering or Chemistry / PhD / Full-time / 3 Years / July (or October)

In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

2. Start year – please select 2024
3. Funding (page 8) –

  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS577 – Defect Mapping’

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University:

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised closing date, where possible:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Professor Owen Guy ( / Professor Mike Jennings (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

Who is eligible to apply?

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

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