Funded research projects

Funded research projects

Abertay offers a range of funded PhD and Masters projects for enthusiastic and ambitious candidates who are interested in pursuing a research degree at Abertay University.

Funded PhD and Research Masters projects are available to students who hold (or expect to gain) either a First Class Honours degree, an Upper Second Class Honours degree or a Masters qualification.

The studentships described below are divided into three categories:

Open – Applications are currently open for these studentships. You can find further details on the Abertay jobs page and

Closed – These studentships are now closed for applications, however, you may be interested in seeing the topics we have funded previously.


Please check this page regularly for updates.

Project Title: BARIToNE Project 9 - towards climate-positive cropping: developing model-based approaches to identify pathways, and evidence benefits.

This project will be based at the James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie and the appointed student will registered at Abertay University as the degree awarding institution.

This four-year PhD studentship is fully funded by the BARIToNE Collaborative Training Partnership and offered (from Oct. 2022) by Abertay University, Glenmorangie Distillers, and the James Hutton Institute. 

The project aims to identify approaches to reduce the carbon (C) footprint of cereal (barley) production as a model crop species in-line with net-zero targets. Agriculture is a significant contributor to UK and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and Scotland has committed to reach net-zero C-emissions by 2045. While crop research trials have identified potential approaches to reduce barley C-footprint for distilling, these have not been critically examined.

Candidates should have a high-class Honours degree (equivalent to 2:1 or above) and/or an excellent postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject. The project benefits from a highly experienced supervisory team, including: Profs Graeme Walker and Daniel Gilmour, Abertay University; Gillian Macdonald and Peter Nelson, Glenmorangie; and, Drs Pietro Iannetta and Colm Duffy, James Hutton Institute. Before applying, we recommend contacting, or, providing a CV and explaining why this project is of interest to you.

How to Apply: Please visit the main BARIToNE programme page for more details




Project Title: 5G Edge- XR for unlocking compelling immersive experiences

PhD Studentship: R-LINCS2 funded. The Studentship is available for a February or June 2023 start.

A PhD studentship that comprises tax-free stipend of £17000 (increasing in line with UKRI per annum) per year over 3.5 years, student tuition fees paid, and a generous study package (e.g. limited research consumables, travel budget, and training when appropriate). 

The pan-University Graduate School offers an integrated training programme to the postgraduate community within a single centre, serving to inculcate interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers.

Interviews are likely to be online in 14.11.2022.

Project Description: There is an ever-increasing demand for immersive xR (mixed reality) applications across many sectors – sport, retail, gaming and healthcare. To date these applications are designed for in-door applications. This is due to xR technology requiring high computation and bandwidth to transfer data required for immersion. 5G technology can address these issues providing the required processing and bandwidth to users on the go and outdoors. The convergence of 5G and xR is in its infancy - this studentship will develop a technical pipeline which can be applied in new contexts and will seed new collaborations and research opportunities.

Key project phases:

  1. Prototype a simple XR application: determine and create a prototype XR application that displays interactive and high-fidelity 3D objects
  2. Using mobile devices for XR applications: experimentally investigate the use of 5G and edge computing to overcome the challenge of limited processing on mobile devices.
  3. Multiuser and shared XR applications: explore the use of 5G, distributed computation and edge computing for multiuser immersive experiences.

It is anticipated that the output of this research be widespread and with significant outreach opportunities which could lead to improved interventions for encouraging gender equality across subjects and careers. The project would also involve engaging with our industrial advisory board to keep abreast of the latest products and technologies that could support and enhance this project. This aspect of the studentship will provide excellent experience beyond Abertay for the student as well as increasing the impact of the research. The theoretical underpinning and novelty of the research will contribute to the academic fields of 5G, edge computing, XR, multi-user experiences, immersive technologies and the metaverse. Research findings would be published at both academic and public audiences, building both theoretical and practical advances with real-world impact.

Find out more on our Jobs page. 




  • PhD Research Studentship: Reframing the ‘social’ in social return on investment: constructing more meaningful monitoring and evaluation in sport for development and beyond.
  • PhD Research Studentship: Investigating the impact of police communications and initiatives on public perceptions of progress in enhancing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: A case of Police Scotland
  • PhD Research Studentship: How, when and where can preconception interventions be utilised in Scotland
  • PhD Research Studentship: Co-creating Performance and Play: Supporting community cohesion and well-being through mixed-media co-production
  • Masters by Research (MbR) with technical work experience.
  • PhD Studentship: Towards climate-positive barley: developing model-based approaches to identify pathways and evidence benefits
  • PhD Research Studentship: Investigating the potential of Extended Reality for alternative understandings of forced migration and devastated Middle Eastern Cultural Heritage Sites.
  • PhD Research Studentship: Using avatars in investigative interviews with children.
  • PhD Research Studentship: How do we best teach our children to be cyber secure?
  • PhD Research Studentship: Machine learning to determine soil properties: a smartphone-based solution for stakeholders
  • RLINCS PhD studentship: The effect of different types of omega-3 fatty acids on exercise capacity in the elderly
  • RLINCS PhD studentship: Using Affective Computing to Create an Emotional Bond between Users and Virtual Agents for Enhanced Social Interaction
  • R-LINCS PhD Studentship: Using VR to Investigate the Visual Features that Determine the Effectiveness of Disruptive Camouflage
  • R-LINCS PhD Studentship: Eco-grief and community experiences of changing water practices in Malawi
  • PhD Studentship: Seals as sentinels of antimicrobial resistance: mapping antimicrobial resistance genes in UK waters
  • PhD Studentships: A 4D Virtual Tumour for Cancer Ecology.
  • RLINCS PhD Research Studentships: Investigating the Chemistry of a Cold Smoking Process and its Impacts on Food Safety and Quality; Deep Learning Intrusion Detection System for the Internet of Things; Characterising fat tissue structure and function in grey seals, an animal model of extreme fat deposition and mobilisation, using novel in vivo and in vitro approaches; Applying the self-reference effect to improve children’s mathematical problem solving; Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in female athletes.
  • Master by Research Studentships in Mental Health Nursing: Various areas of research focus will be considered. 
  • Master by Research Studentship: Developing a successful food new product development tool linking effective testing (using facial electromyography) with sensory attribute selection
  • PhD Research Studentship: Exploiting yeast diversity in whisky fermentations for biocatalysis of desirable flavour compounds. 
  • PhD Research Studentship: Evaluating the effect of plant species on soil carbonation flux
  • PhD Research Studentship: Fluid-aerosol modelling of cloud evolution in substellar atmospheres (R-LINCS)
  • Master by Research Studentship: Developing a successful food new product development tool linking effective testing (using facial electromyography) with sensory attribute selection
  • MSc Research Studentship: Utilising crushed dolerite columns to stabilise unstable substrates using microbial-induced calcite precipitation (MICP): coupling ground improvement and climate mitigation - laboratory approach 
  • Games and Media Facilitated e-Learning 
  • Developing a successful new food product development, tool linking effective testing (using facial electromyography) with sensory attribute selection
  • A generic framework for atmospheric fluid-aerosol modelling with applications in astrophysics, computer games and environment
  • Utilising crushed dolerite columns to stabilise unstable substrates using microbial-induced calcite precipitation (MICP): coupling ground improvement and climate mitigation – numerical modelling approach
  •  Exploring self-reference effects in children with ADHD
  • Application of focused 'omics' approaches to the study of biological phenomena implicated in musculoskeletal ageing. (R-LINCS)
  • CLOSED - Modelling of multiphase flow in deformable agricultural soils (Hosted at Abertay University for Tayside Centre for Geotechnical Engineering in Natural Environments)
  • Development of Effective Guidelines and Communication Tools for the Protection of Rural Private Water Supplies from Sources of Pollution 
  • Detection, analysis and clinical application of spermatozoa biochemical profile using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). (R-LINCS)
  • Multiple missing: an exploration of behavioural consistency in repeat missing adults. (R-LINCS)
  • Application of focused 'omics' approaches to the study of biological phenomena implicated in musculoskeletal ageing. (R-LINCS)
  • Connecting Performance and Play: interdisciplinary design methods for the development of games and performance – ARCS/ SGSAH  studentship (Abertay University, National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
  • Investigation into and Development of Processes for the Enhancement of Safety and Shelf Life of Fresh Produce. (R-LINCS and James Hutton Institute)
  • Ecology at play: An exploration of natural data through game design. (IW Stewart PhD Studentship) 
  • Developing of 4D Imaging Methods to Quantify Soil Structural Dynamics with applications to Soil Science and Environmental Engineering. (R-LINCS)
  • Addressing the Fundamental Problems of Cyber-Security through Anti-Patterns. (R-LINCS)
  • Interaction between emotion and communication. (R-LINCS)
  • Investigating structural synaptic plasticity as a novel therapeutic target for functional recovery from spinal cord injury. (R-LINCS)
  • Securing cyberspace: Development and validation of a novel research and evaluation toolset. (R-LINCS)
  • The Social and Organisational Construction of Ethical Hacking. (R-LINCS)
  • A systematic study of the effect of ultrasound on food enzymes and bioaccessibility of bioactive compounds (model and real food systems). (R-LINCS)
  • Assisting Digital Forensic Reconstruction via Exploratory Information Visualisation. (SICSCA)
  • Exploring the Role of Monitoring Agents and Affective Feedback in Enhancing Cyber Security for Average Users. (SICSCA)
  • Games Design, a new Approach for a New Industry. (ESRC)
  • Design and Action. (AHRC)
  • Exploring Interactive Design Engineering Methodologies. (AHRC)
  • Investigation of the performance of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) on the Scottish Trunk Road Network (STRN). (BEAR)
  • Factors controlling root growth in heterogeneous substrates: physical structures and root behaviour. (R-LINCS in partnership with James Hutton Institute)
  • When do dialects become languages? (Leverhulme)
  • Computer and Web Enabled Food Product Evaluation. (MacPhie of Glenbervie Ltd)
  • Customer Honesty in Self-Service Interactions. (R-LINCS)
  • Nano-and bio-technologies for food science and technology. (SORSAS)
  • Role of Second Generation Phosphodiesterase Inhibitor(s) and Adenosine-Triphosphate on Human Sperm Motility. (SORSAS)
  • Influence of soil structure on the spatial and temporal distribution of bacteria in soil. (SORSAS)
  • Ecosystem service goods and benefits accruing from sustainable approaches to urban water management (SORSAS)
  • Understanding Early Intervention: A Case Study of Dundee (SIPR)
  • MPhil Research Studentship, 2 years: Project Title: Games and Media Facilitated e-Learning
  • PhD Research Studentship: Mapping for Social Innovation
  • MPhil Studentship: Development and validation of sequencing and bioinformatics methodologies to identify pathogenic mutations in candidate male infertility genes.
  • PhD Studentship: Parental Involvement in Sport: Improving the Quality of Children’s Sport Experiences and Wellbeing
  • PhD Studentship: Co-Design Mapping for Social Innovation Project.
  • PhD Studentship: Enhancing Scotland’s resilience to climate change.
  • PhD Studentship: Active transport of Gold-coated iron oxide superparamagnetic nanoparticles: A universal delivery vehicle.
  • PhD Studentship: BARIToNE CTP - Towards climate-Positive barley: developing model-based approaches to identify pathways and evidence benefits (PROTECT)


Further information


A related Masters-level qualification is desirable, but not essential. Otherwise you must have, or expect to obtain, a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree in a discipline relevant to the studentship you are applying for. 

English language requirements

We accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

For candidates whose first language is not English or your undergraduate/Master’s degree was not awarded from a University from a UKVI designated English Speaking country, you are required to show evidence of one of the following qualifications:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL “My Best Score” to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 62 overall with at least 59 in each component.
  • NECO English at B (4)
  • WAEC English at B (4)

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

To identify whether or not you need to apply for a student visa, please see here or visit the UKVI website.

How to apply

All available studentships are listed on the Abertay Jobs page, as well as The individual listings will specify the steps you need to follow. We only accept online applications submitted via the Abertay Jobs portal.

Every single studentship will have its own specific requirements. Make sure you read them carefully.

More to Explore

Learn more about our Postgraduate Research application process, and explore the available funding options.

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Postgraduate Research

Find Doctorate and Research Masters opportunities with expert supervision within a multidisciplinary Graduate School and research environment.

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Postgraduate Research Applications

Learn more about research opportunities, entry requirements, submitting a research proposal, English language requirements, and applying for a visa.

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