Department of Engineering of Cambridge University

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MPhil, Taught MPhils, MSc, PhD,
Department of Engineering of Cambridge University, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, Cambridge, United Kingdom
App Deadline 
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+44 (0)1223 748233
+44 (0)1223 332662


The Department of Engineering has a long and distinguished history, covering more than 125 years of engineering progress. Today we have an outstanding international reputation for our research and teaching and for several years we have topped the league table for UK university engineering departments.

Key research areas

  • Energy and environment, Aerospace and aerothermal engineering, Fluid mechanics, Turbomachinery

The research builds on the core disciplines of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. It spans from fundamental investigations to a wide range of applications and is characterised by the extremely close integration between experiment and modelling.

  1. The applications researched include the effective generation and use of energy using internal combustion engines, turbines, fluidised beds, fuel cells and other power cycles. Underpinning research includes combustion, instrumentation, multi-phase flows, particle transport, thermoacoustics. Much of the work is driven by the need to meet environmental constraints and there is a particular emphasis on reducing emissions.
  2. In fluid mechanics, there is a discipline focus on: experimental, computational and analytical fluid mechanics; fluid dynamics; aerodynamics; aeroacoustics; flow instabilities and control. This expertise is applied to aircraft, the motor sports industry, flood mitigation, dispersal of pollutants in the environment and related, homeland security issues.
  3. Turbomachinery research includes aeroacoustic and aeromechanical behaviour as well as the aerodynamics, blade cooling and heat transfer in general of all types of turbomachines. The objectives are to develop design methods and new technologies that lead to performance improvements, reduced environmental emissions, lower manufacturing/operating costs, and/or greater reliability.
  • Electrical engineering

Research covers four main areas:

  1. Semiconductor/nanoscale electronics, novel device concepts with associated fabrication, electron and tunnelling microscopy, MEMS (microelectromechanical systems)
  2. Electrical power includes integrated and discrete semiconductor devices for power switching, solar power generation, power electronics, electrical machines and drives, computational electromagnetics, rf, microwave and plasma power conversion
  3. Photonics includes most aspects of spatial light modulators for optical signal processing, novel concepts using optical fibres in sensors and laser diodes
  4. New concepts in flat panel displays and display systems. Contact:
  • Information engineering

Research is divided among four laboratories:

  1. Control - research includes robust control, model predictive control, the stability and performance of communication systems, the control of biological and quantum systems and applications in the aerospace and automotive industries.
  2. Computational and biological learning - the group uses engineering approaches to understand how the brain works and to develop artificial learning systems. Research includes Bayesian learning, computational neuroscience, statistical machine learning and sensorimotor control. The work on human learning includes both computational modelling and experimental approaches using robotic and virtual reality interfaces. The work on machine learning includes both theory and applications to vision, information retrieval and bioinformatics.
  3. Signal processing and communications - research focuses on fundamental statistical signal processing theory based on Bayesian inference, MCMC, sequential Monte Carlo and particle filtering, support vector machines and machine learning, non-Gaussian and non-stationary signal processing, and multi-resolution wavelet methods with applications including tracking, multi-sensor data fusion, audio analysis and enhancement, image understanding and object recognition, computer vision, change detection, seismic analysis, medical imaging, radar, communications, quantum information and bio-informatics.
  4. Machine Intelligence - computer vision including geometric algebra, real-time detection and tracking, 3-D reconstruction, image processing using complex wavelets. Medical imaging, especially ultrasonic imaging, analysis of the radio-frequency ultrasound signal, acquisition and the visualisation of freehand 3D ultrasound systems and their use for measurement. The speech group focuses on machine learning approaches to a range of speech and language processing application areas including large vocabulary speech transcription, speech understanding and spoken dialogue systems, statistical machine translation, speech synthesis, information extraction, multi-media systems. Contact:
  • Micromechanics and materials

The Cambridge Centre for Micromechanics is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental centre for the mechanics of materials. Based in the Engineering Department, the current research themes are: the mechanics of composites; processing; active materials. Work is also done on metal forming and machining; impact mechanics, mechanisms of plasticity and creep, fracture mechanics and fatigue; process modelling; composites, polymers and cellular materials; failure of ceramics; tribology and surface contact phenomena; bioengineering; materials selection, process selection and design. Contact:

  • Design

The Engineering Design Centre (EDC) undertakes research into fundamental design methodologies for the design of technical systems. Research is divided into five generic themes: design synthesis, design optimisation, materials selection, knowledge management and usability engineering. Industrial applications form an integral part of the programme, providing test beds to validate the ideas, methods and software developed, with a focus in the aerospace, healthcare and architecture engineering and construction (AEC) sectors. Contact:

  • Dynamics and vibration and transport technology

Research ranges from fundamental studies of the properties of vibrating systems to applied work in conjunction with industry. Specific topics include the analysis of noise and vibration in aerospace, marine and automotive structures, the transmission of vibration in the ground and in buildings, vehicle dynamics and active roll-control, vehicle-road interaction and road damage mechanisms, impact mechanisms and the dynamics of ballistic separation. In addition, there is significant activity in musical acoustics and signal processing using wavelet analysis. Contact:

  • Manufacturing and Management

Research takes place under the umbrella of the Institute for Manufacturing which strongly encourages an integrated view of manufacturing industry, embracing process technology, management, economics and policy. Current research areas include:

  1. Industrial photonics: nanofabrication; high-brightness fibre lasers; rapid manufacturing
  2. Production processes: flexible metalforming processes; industrial inkjet printing; sustainability issues
  3. Distributed information and automation: operations analysis; distributed automation; product information; RFID
  4. Strategy and performance: decision modelling; competence, capability and resource analysis; performance measurement; servicisation; strategy for start-up companies
  5. Technology management: strategic technology management; technology enterprise; innovation and design management; software management
  6. International manufacturing: mergers and acquisitions; manufacturing networks; supply networks; service and support networks; emerging industrial structures and global trends
  7. Economics and policy: innovation and industrial policy; measurement of innovation outcomes; economics of production; adaptive regulation of emerging technologies. Contact:


  • Geotechnical engineering:

Research includes site characterisation and field monitoring, mechanical and chemical testing; centrifugal testing of soil models (static and dynamic), and the physical and numerical simulations of construction activities (tunnelling, grouting, drilling, trenching, pile driving and soil stabilisation), environmental hazards (pollution migration, clean-up, site remediation), and soil-structure interaction (foundations on-shore and off-shore, earthquake engineering). Contact:

  • Structural engineering:

Research is carried out on: reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete structures, including the use of new materials for repairing existing structures; bridge strength and safety assessment; lightweight and deployable structures, including the stability of balloon structures; structural dynamics, including wind and people-induced vibration of bridges; smart stuctures; and biological structures. Contact:

  • Engineering for sustainable development:

Research is based in the Department's Centre for Sustainable Development and includes: the development of technical innovations in relation to the provision of energy and water services, waste containment and remediation; knowledge management; as well as in developing assessment methodologies for monitoring the uptake of sustainable development approaches in engineering sectors such as the construction, mining and water industries, together with the provision of sustainable infrastructure in developing countries, and for disaster relief. Contact:

Research collaborations

They collaborate with other Cambridge departments, and extensively with industry and other universities, in the UK and abroad. Many of these collaborations result in projects, which form a significant fraction of the Department's £90 million research portfolio.

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