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Early-Stage Researcher in European Industrial Doctorate “Fibre Optic Non-linear Technologies FONTE”

Engineering and Applied Science - Studentships

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Salary:  £32,750 per annum
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (3 years)
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Tuesday 30 April 2019
Interview Date:  To be confirmed
Reference:  R180220

Development of new optical transmission methods based on nonlinear Fourier transform

Applications are invited by Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) for a prestigious three year postgraduate position  as Early Stage Researcher (ESR), within the European Industrial Doctorates project FONTE [ ]. The project is supported through the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

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 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. The successful applicant will work on the theoretical development and experimental verification of new coding and modulations techniques for NFT-based optical transmission systems under the cross-disciplinary joint supervision of world experts in optical communication in academia and industry: Prof. S. Turitsyn (AIPT, main supervisor), Drs Y. Prylepskiy (AIPT), H. Buelow (NBL), and M. Yousefi (TPT). 

Training and Secondments: The ESR positon is offered in collaboration with a consortium of world-ranking academic institutions from across Europe and leading industrial partners Nokia Bell Labs (NBL), Stuttgart, Germany, where the ESR will spent 50% of the appointment. Close collaboration with consortia partners and their recruited ESRs as well as 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. In addition FONTE researchers will benefit from further continuing education including a suite of bespoke training activities and active participation in external scientific training events, conferences and workshops. 

The position is available from  early 2019 (subject to negotiation) for a duration of 36 months.


The successful candidates will be employed on a full-time basis with a competitive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for 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.

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. The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in engineering or physics. Applicants with a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Physics, or equivalent, are especially encouraged to apply.

For informal enquiries about this project contact Prof Sergei Turitsyn by email:

The successful applicant is expected to register for a PhD at Aston University and therefore will have to comply with minimum PhD Entry Requirements to be found in the section “Entry Requirements” detailed here. The position includes a PhD tuition fee waiver to the level of UK Home/EU fees. Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between ‘Home/EU’ and ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, the difference currently being £12,005 pa in 2017/18.


  • BSc or MSc in Engineering, Physics or equivalent.   
  • Knowledge of scientific programming and computing, physical optics, communications. 
  • Experience in experimental work
  • English Language: Minimum requirements can be found in the section “English Language Entry Requirements” detailed here
  • Comply with MSCA eligibility and mobility criteria as listed below

MSCA Eligibility

Applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers, and not have 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.

MSCA Mobility:

Applicants 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 FONTE employment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

As part of your application form, you will need to attach the following documents:

  • Degree Certificate(s). If your qualifications are from an overseas institution please provide transcripts of the marks you have already achieved with your application
  • English Language Certificate if appropriate 
  • A copy of your passport (All pages) 
  • Completed and signed MSCA Compliance Form

Additional studentships and speculative applications to AiPT

AiPT is always open to speculative applications from students to projects other than FONTE. 

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available at

Such applications must also be accompanied by a research proposal giving an overview of the main themes of the research, and explaining how your knowledge and experience will benefit the project.

Details of how to write your project proposal are also included in the How to Apply section, 

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

Further details:    University Information    
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Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via






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