Graduate studentships & Job vacancies


We currently have funding for one EPSRC Industrial-CASE studentship with Merck. For more details see below.

Alternatively, if you are interested in joining our group through the Departmental and University Studentships/Scholarships then please contact either Dr Stephen Morris or Professor Steve Elston directly.

For other funding possibilities for graduate students please see the following links:


For DPhil (PhD degree) at Oxford

Potential DPhil (PhD) projects include:


Multidimensional structures in liquid crystalline devices for photonics and 3d display applications

Stretchable photonic gels for micro-actuators and responsive membranes

Tuneable organic laser devices for medical imaging and display applications

Perovskite structures in chiral liquid crystal media for lasers and LED applications



I-CASE Studentships available:


3.5-year EPSRC I-CASE D.Phil studentship with Merck, available from 1st October 2016

(subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area - Direct Laser Writing of 3-Dimensional Polymeric Structures in Liquid Crystalline Materials for Next-Generation Photonic Devices


The studentship is being jointly undertaken by the University of Oxford (Professor Steve Elston, Professor Martin Booth and Dr Stephen Morris) and Merck under the EPSRC Industrial CASE award scheme. The studentship can, in principle, start at any time from the 1st October 2016.

Photonic crystal structures have a multitude of potential applications ranging from low/zero-threshold laser devices to on-chip waveguides. However, the fabrication of such structures is by no means trivial, often requiring layer-to-layer assemblies that are generally time-consuming and dependent upon the availability of large capital equipment. Alternatively, one of the more potentially elegant routes towards fabricating photonic crystals and photonic structures, in general, is to use organic, polymer materials combined with direct laser writing (DLW). This is because DLW exploits the nonlinear behaviour of 2-photon absorption such that polymerisation only occurs within a very small volume around the focal point. Furthermore, with the advances made in adaptive optics, it is now possible to create nano-sized features directly within materials and devices through the use of aberration correction. Creating such photonic structures/materials would be of significant importance for a range of current and future technologies including laser devices, coherent sources, waveguides, single-photon sources, optical circuitry, and next-generation 3D displays. Furthermore, given the sensitivity of materials such as liquid crystals to a range of external stimuli it should be possible to alter the characteristics of the photonic structures in-situ, thereby leading to a change in the behaviour of the photonic device, something that is not readily achievable using the current state-of-the-art technologies.

The objective of this DPhil project would be to create a new catalogue of liquid crystalline-polymer structures and to test these in terms of their potential for new photonic devices. This would be achieved by creating polymer defect structures and networks at precise locations within the material and, using holographic techniques, to create multiple structures simultaneously so as to build-up a lattice structure. Following the fabrication of these materials, studies will be carried out to characterise their optical and electro-optic properties. As the project develops, we will experiment with writing various 1, 2 and 3-dimensional network structures into liquid crystal materials and devices in an attempt to form, stabilise, and explore the behaviour of entirely new liquid crystal director arrangements. For this project, the DPhil student would be based in the Soft-Matter Photonics group and the Dynamic Optics and Photonics group (http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/dop) in the Department of Engineering Science.

Award Value

The studentship covers University fees at the level set for UK students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £14,296 p.a. for the first year (with up to an additional £3k), and at least this amount for a further two and a half years. The studentship does cover the payment of college fees (c £2765 p.a.).


To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) a student must be a UK citizen.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

A first class honours (or high 2.1) degree in Electrical Engineering, Physics, or Materials;

  • Strong interest in photonics;
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills.

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  •  Ability to program in C/C++;
  •  Ability to program in Matlab,
  •  Experience with Linux and Windows.

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to studentship@eng.ox.ac.uk :

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees


NOTE: Candidates are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria available at www.eng.ox.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate/study-here/postgraduate/admissions-criteria and a full graduate application must be made at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Your studentship application will not be considered until you have submitted a graduate application. Further details about making a graduate application are available at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply

Please quote SMM_Merck in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to . Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. 

Application deadline:  Until filled



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