Frequently asked questions

What is an Engineering Doctorate (EngD)?

The EngD in Formulation Engineering is a four year postgraduate programme of study and research, based mostly in industry. The taught component of the course consists of 12 week-long Masters Level modules covering the fundamental science and engineering behind Formulation Engineering, as well as some business, legal and marketing components.  It is intended that most of the modules are taken in the first two years and they are assessed by examination and coursework.

What is Formulation Engineering?

Classical Process Engineering is concerned with the processing of simple chemicals on a bulk scale (for example petroleum products and intermediate bulk chemicals), the physical properties of which can be described using thermodynamics.  The properties of these products are hence independent of the process history (shear, temperature, time). However, modern processes are concerned with the creation and production of materials whose structure is complex for which the process history becomes important.  Examples of these materials include foodstuffs, pharmaceutical and speciality products such as paints, catalyst supports, polymer films, cosmetics, detergents and agrochemicals.

In all of these, the material microstructure controls the physical and chemical properties which are essential to their function.  To process these materials efficiently thus requires combined understanding of the chemistry, process and material science.  By definition this is an interdisciplinary subject.

What is the difference between an EngD and a PhD?

A PhD is a 3 year programme of research taken by a 'student' mainly within a University leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. An EngD is a 4 year programme of study and research taken by a 'Research Engineer' based mainly within industry leading to the quailification of Doctor of Engineering.

How is the EngD funded?

The Research Engineer is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and an industrial sponsor.

The EPSRC pays the course fees plus an enhanced tax free stipend to the Research Engineer of £14,400 (September 08 Figure) plus the company top up is £5,000 giving a tax free bursary of £19,400 p.a. Whereas the PhD students get approx £12 - 13,000.

What are the Entry Requirements?

The usual EPSRC entry requirements must be met.  Candidates must:

  • Hold a UK passport
  • Have an Honours Degree at  2(i) or above in a relevant discipline (physical sciences, engineering or material sciences).

Candidates may also be acceptable if they have relevant industrial experience

Where will the Research Engineer be based?

EngD projects are intended to be strongly industrially based hence it is expected that the Research Engineer would spend the majority of his/her time within the company.  The Research Engineer will complete the teaching and assessment of the taught module element at Birmingham or another affiliated University.   If the research requires use of specialised University facilities, then the Research Engineer will spend a larger proportion of time within the University.

What Taught Modules must I take?

Research Engineers must take 120 credits worth of modules, which essentially means 12 one-week intensive courses.  The modules which are taken will depend upon the Research Engineer's previous experience and the intended project.  The choice of modules will be made by the Research Engineer in conjunction with the EngD programme manager and the supervisor.

What is the role of the EngD Programme Manager?

The Research Engineer is expected to work closely with the Programme Manger as well as the academic and industrial supervisors. The Programme Manager is based in the Professional Support Office and his/her role is to:

  • Liase with Industry to secure funding for projects
  • Liase with academics to develop projects
  • Recruit Research Engineers along with the industrial sponsors and academic supervisors
  • Ensure the Research Engineer submits progress reports, attends conferences, writes paper and submits the thesis on time!