University: University of Bristol. Supervisor: Prof Paul Wilcox. Sponsor: TWI. Contact: Start date: Immediate

TWI and the University of Bristol are seeking exceptional candidates for a research studentship using Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the field of Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) techniques leading to the award of an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) degree. Applicants with an interest in industrial NDE, artificial intelligence, data analysis, programming, image processing or mathematics are encouraged to apply.

Ultrasonic inspections are used throughout high-value industries such as aerospace, nuclear, transport and petrochemical to ensure structural integrity. Detecting indications before they cause a fault is vital to maintain public safety and avoid environmental disasters. Understanding and interpreting ultrasonic data requires skilled operators with extensive training. This project will investigate how AI can be used to improve and potentially automate this complex data analysis.

The proposed research will seek to establish a solid understanding of available AI methods and establish their suitability for NDE. The primary focus of the EngD project will be the application and development of state-of-the-art AI algorithms to classify ultrasonic data. The project will also include the use of modelling and optimisation techniques. The benefits and limitations of the chosen approaches should be assessed through validation experiments on real-world industrial samples.

This EngD programme will be undertaken in partnership with the industrial sponsor, TWI. During the 4 years you will spend approximately 9 months on advanced technical and professional development courses – usually spending the first year at Bristol University and the remaining time at TWI Technology Centre, Wales. The project will require occasional travel on a short-term basis within the UK and overseas.

About TWI

TWI Technology Centre Wales is a regional office of TWI Ltd. It is a state of the art facility offering research and development in cutting edge inspection technologies vital to industrial structural integrity management. The aim is to ensure that industry is provided with safe, reliable and cost effective solutions and services. Located in Port Talbot, TWI Wales is within easy reach of Cardiff, (Wales’ capital City), Swansea City, as well as the Gower and Pembrokeshire peninsulas.

Funding Notes

The post is supported by a bursary and fees (at the UK/EU student rate).

You will receive a tax-free stipend circa £21K pa for the first year rising to £24K as part of an initiative known as AEMRI (Advanced Engineering Materials Research Institute), which is funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) using European Regional Development Funds (ERDF).