The Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


The theme area of this Centre is core-discipline Condensed Matter Physics (CMP), a field of research that impacts on numerous technologies and other fields of science such as engineering, biophysics, photonics, chemistry and materials science. Its continued ability to do so requires the production of people who have received internationally leading training in its core intellectual tools, both theoretical and experimental. Many of our colleagues world-wide have commented to us over the years (and some in their letters of support for this Centre) that the lack of rigour of our PhD training disfavours our graduates in the international market-place. It was therefore no surprise to hear these sentiments echoed by the 2005 International Review of Physics. A DTC in CMP with a fully internationally benchmarked training component will rectify this deficit, and enable us to provide the UK with a generation of CMP staff who will both advance the field itself and contribute to many other fields of interdisciplinary science and technology.National need for the graduates that we will produce is high, as demonstrated by the large number of support letters provided by companies and organisations who wish to be formally affiliated with our DTC as Industrial Associates. We draw particular attention to the range of disciplines covered by these companies. In addition to the scientific consultancies such as Detica and manufacturers of scientific equipment such as Oxford Instruments and e2v, who would be expected to be among our core users , the list includes scientific publishers, software houses, companies small and large from the energy sector, large multinationals such as Unilever and Toshiba Europe, and representatives of the finance and patent law sectors. This evinces a key attraction of graduates possessing the high-level core skills that ours will have: they possess a discipline-hopping ability prized by employers in a world where years of vocational training can sometimes be undermined very quickly by a technological or intellectual paradigm shift. As the UK embarks on this adventurous DTC scheme it is therefore vital that centres like this which will advance core skills are created. In doing so, we will be laying the foundations for tomorrow's interdisciplinarity, and therefore complementing the support of today's.


10 25 50