Spacecraft electric propulsion

Start date

1 October 2024


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

UKRI and/or University of Surrey

Funding information

We are offering the UKRI standard stipend (currently £18,622 per year) with an additional bursary of £1,700 per year for full 3.5 years for exceptional candidates. In addition, a research, training and support grant of £3,000 over the project is also offered. Full home or overseas tuition fees (as applicable) will be covered.


​​We are recruiting a PhD student for a research project within the Spacecraft Electric Propulsion group of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey. The successful candidate will work on the development of novel plasma-based propulsion technologies for advanced spacecraft application such as electrothermal thrusters for space tugs or components of an Air Breathing Electric Propulsion platform. 

​In particular, the PhD project involves the following activities:  

  • ​Design and development of a novel electric propulsion concept.  
  • ​Design and implementation of testbeds for the development of electric propulsion systems. 
  • ​Performance characterisation of plasma propulsion devices.  
  • ​Design, development and implementation of plasma diagnostic systems.  
  • ​“Low-temperature” plasma physics. 

Eligibility criteria

Open to both UK and international candidates.

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

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

​​This project would be suitable for a student with a first-class, upper second or Masters degree in engineering, physics or a closely related physical science. 

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Space Engineering PhD programme page. In place of a research proposal, you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for and the name of the relevant supervisor.

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Application deadline

Contact details

Andrea Lucca Fabris
27 BA 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686444

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