Early Stage Researcher Fibre Optic Non-linear Technologies-European Industrial Doctorate

Birmingham, United Kingdom
£32,750 pa.
29 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
28 Apr 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Engineering & Applied Science

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (3 years)
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours GMT on Tuesday 30 April 2019
Interview Date:  To be confirmed

Development of new optical transmission methods based on nonlinear Fourier transform.

Applications are invited for a three year prestigious Postgraduate studentship as MSCA Early Stage Researcher, supported the School of Engineering and Applied Science through MSCA ITN European Industrial Doctorates project FONTE [ ], to be undertaken within the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) [] at Aston University.  The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on the applications of the nonlinear Fourier transform signal processing method for the fibre nonlinearity mitigation and the development of the new generation of extra-high-capacity optical networks and related concepts.  

Secondments: The studentship is offered in collaboration with world-leading industrial unit: Nokia Bell Labs (NBL), Stuttgart, Germany (no less than 18 months at NBL). The project research time and trainings will be equally split between AIPT and NBL. Close collaboration and visits to other three FONTE partners, Technical University of Denmark, Telecom ParisTech (France), and Technical University of Delft (the Netherlands), will be carried out along the project.

The position is available to start in early 2019 (subject to negotiation)


The successful candidates will be employed on a full-time basis with a competitive salary in accordance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions regulations for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and the personal circumstances of the applicant. The successful candidate will receive a financial package consisting of MSCA living allowance and mobility allowance, together £32,750 pa. Eligible candidates will also receive an additional family allowance according to the rules of the MSCA.

PhD studentship bursary

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees. Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, the difference currently being £12,005 pa in 2017/18.  Confirmation that this funding support is in place for the full duration of the PhD studentship will be required as part of the application process. 

Background of the Project

Nonlinear transmission effects in optical fibre are now a major limiting factor in modern fibre-optic communication systems. Nonlinear propagation effects make optical fibre channels very different from traditional linear communications channels such as wireless or copper cables. There is a clear need for radically different methods for the coding, transmission, and processing of information that take the nonlinear properties of the optical fibre into account. The nonlinear Fourier transform (NFT) that is to be used in place of the conventional Fourier transform, offers new opportunities for the development of fundamentally novel engineering techniques for the coding, modulation, transmission, and processing of information in optical fibre channels. The student will work on the theoretical development and experimental verification of new coding and modulations techniques for NFT-based optical transmission systems under the supervision of world-class mentors: Prof. S. Turitsyn (AIPT, main supervisor), Drs Y. Prylepskiy (AIPT), H. Buelow (NBL), and M. Yousefi (TPT). FONTE ESRs will benefit from cross-disciplinary joint supervision by world experts in optical communication in academia and industry.

Person Specification

FONTE is looking for candidates with exceptional skills in signal processing, optical communication or applied mathematics. Preferred skill requirements include experience in experimental work, knowledge of scientific programming and computing, physical optics, communications.     Knowledge in differential equations, mathematical physics, numerical analysis, information and communication theory, or machine learning is an asset. Applicants with a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Physics, or equivalent, are especially encouraged to apply. The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in engineering or physics.  

For informal enquiries about this project and other opportunities within the AIPT, contact Prof. Sergei Turitsyn by email:

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at 

Additional Requirements:

1. Academic Entry Requirements

You should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent qualification in engineering or physics. Preferred skill requirements include experience in experimental work, knowledge of scientific programming and computing, physical optics, communications. If your qualification are from an overseas institution please provide transcripts of the marks you have already achieved with your application.

2. English language

For applicants from non-English speaking countries, it is necessary to have taken either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the British Council IELTS test (taken no more than two years before the start date of your course). Minimum requirements are:

  • TOEFL IBT: 93 (23 in Writing, 19 in Speaking, 18 in Reading and 19 in Listening) 
  • IELTS:   6.5 (6.0 in Writing Speaking, Reading and Listening).
  • Pearsons English language test: 63 with no less than 57 in each band

Further information can be found at

3. MSCA Eligibility

Applicants must be Early Stage Researchers (ESR), i.e. be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

Full-time equivalent research experience is measured FROM the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited) – even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged. Research Experience is measured TO the first day of the FONTE employment contract of the researcher.

4. MSCA Mobility:

Researchers may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the first day of the FONTE employment contract of the researcher.

5. MSCA Compliance Form [FONTE]

All applicants to the FONTE-EID are requested to complete the MSCA Compliance Form.