Centre for Doctoral Training to focus on laser accelerators

Improved treatment for cancer and stronger homeland security will be among the goals of a new UK-wide centre of excellence for training the next generation of researchers to use laser-operated accelerator devices.

Physicists at Strathclyde University in Glasgow are leading the Centre for Doctoral Training, which will also include Queen’s University Belfast and the universities of Huddersfield and Surrey.

It will train more than 30 PhD students in the practical applications of innovative accelerators, which are powerful, compact devices driven by lasers or by intense high-frequency electric fields.

The intensive training will cross traditional academic boundaries, combining physics with biology and medicine, and will offer students opportunities to work with industry and health authorities. This will also enhance their skills by giving them experience in leadership, entrepreneurship and management.

The centre is to receive £2m from the EPSRC with matching support from the universities and industry. It will be delivering applications for accelerator technology being developed in three existing projects involving Strathclyde, Queen’s, Huddersfield and Surrey.

The announcement comes shortly after Strathclyde University unveiled plans for the Technology and Innovation Centre at Strathclyde (TIC), a research hub for academics and industry in the centre of Glasgow. The new Centre for Doctoral Training will work in parallel with the TIC.