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Course information


The CamBridgeSens CDT course consists of a one year taught component, leading to a Master by Research (MRes) qualification.  Successful candidates will then go on to pursue a three year PhD research programme in a sensor discipline of their choice.  All PhD projects span at least two departments and research supervisors, and have to be interdisciplinary in nature.

Throughout the course you will be part of a student cohort and there is a strong emphasis on developing your team and leadership skills throughout the programme.

MRes (Master by Research)

The first year will consist of a number of taught lectures, lab rotations and team projects to lay the foundations on which to build a successful PhD research programme.  You will be taught on topics ranging from the physical principles of sensing to the application and management of sensor innovation. In addition to the technical knowledge you will learn about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship in a science and technology environment.


Lectures will include the foundation course, "Principles of Sensing", delivered by leading researchers from across the University. Laboratory practicals run parallel to the lecture series. This will give you an overview of the expertise and infrastructure available in Cambridge. You will also choose four specialisation modules from a number of University departments.

Guided sensor project

A "guided sensor project" will introduce you to the practical side of sensor development and application. You will design a sensor from concept to working device, acquiring the practical skills to set you up for independent PhD research.

Mini research project

You will perform an individual research project in the laboratory of one of the CDT supervisors.  This will give you the first real glimpse of practical PhD research and will permit the development of more specialised interests.

Sensor team challenge

A key module in the Sensor CDT MRes is the "Sensor Team Challenge". One or more of our industrial partners will define and organise an industrially motivated research challenge that the entire cohort will tackle in unison. Leadership skills, research management and communication are essential to succeed in this exercise.  Professional coaches will act as mentors and support the programme throughout.

Nurturing and Managing Innovation in Science

The NanoDTC will run this course which is designed to help emerging scientists understand the factors at play in the process of converting lab based research to commercial products and services. Students will learn to identify and analyse innovation opportunities, and build and present a business plan to a panel of industry experts by the end of the course.

A typical timetable for the MRes course is available here:

Download 2014-15 MRes Term calendar.

PhD project

Your PhD project will be carried out in one of the participating departments and supervised by at least two of about 50 PhD supervisors participating in the Sensor CDT. Your research work will be supplemented with cohort activities and transferable skills workshops.

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