Electrothermal Thrusters for a High Efficiency Upper-Stage for Enhanced Launch Vehicles - Rocketry Research, Teaching and Training (R2T2)

Rocketry Research,Teaching and Training (R2T2) is an integrated doctoral programme, run across eight UK universities, which seeks to provide the opportunity to pursue a PhD space launch technologies. 

Start date

1 October 2024


4 years

Application deadline

Funding source


Funding information

Fees covered, UKRI standard stipend for 4 years.

£19,237 for 2024-25.


The programme is fully funded, and a budget of approximately £50k will be available to support practical experiments according to the needs of the specific project. In addition, a practical and online training scheme will be put in place, designed to offer an introduction to the skills required in the space launch industry. These will likely include project management skills, propellant handling, gas/cryo safety and many more. Parts of this training programme will be delivered at Westcott.

This specific project, at the University of Surrey and supported by the company URA Thrusters Ltd, focuses on the development of electrothermal thrusters to be used in a high-efficiency solar-electric upper-stage for launch vehicles for enhancing the range of reachable orbits. The project comprises plasma physics and engineering modelling, design, prototyping and testing of the thrusters under investigation.

Eligibility criteria

Open to any UK or international candidates. Up to 30% of our UKRI funded studentships can be awarded to candidates paying international rate fees. Find out more about eligibility.

This project is suitable for a student with a first-class degree in engineering, physics or a closely related physical science.

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our Space Engineering PhD programme.


How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Space Engineering programme page.

In place of a research proposal, you should upload a document stating the title of the project “High efficiency upper-stage for enhanced launch   vehicles - Rocketry Research, Teaching, and Training (R2T2)” and the name of the relevant supervisor.

Please use the earliest admission date available on the programme page

Studentship FAQs

Read our studentship FAQs to find out more about applying and funding.

Application deadline

Contact details

Andrea Lucca Fabris
27 BA 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686444
E-mail: a.luccafabris@surrey.ac.uk

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