This Doctorate is co-managed by the French Defense Innovation Agency (AIDE) and the UK MODDefense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
93 Doctorate scholarships have been awarded since the start of the program in 2011. The intention is that 5 additional doctorates will be funded by the UK in this last call.
The program is seeking proposals in the following areas of interest:
- biochemical calculation
- organic electronics
- quantum materials
We are interested in further suggestions on how goal-oriented computational tasks could be performed in biomolecular systems, as opposed to the more usual use of electronics and logic gates. The self-assembly properties of biomolecules, for example, can incorporate typical computational functions or support new forms of computation.
The biochemical flows and reactions can be triggered by an electrical output across a dedicated sensor, or can be in direct response to an environmental signal such as incident light of a particular color. Hybrid systems incorporating biomechanical components are of interest, but bioelectronic circuits are not included in this call.
Typically, nano-platforms are considered small unmanned vehicles (UxV), under remote or autonomous control, weighing less than 250 g, generally in a size range of less than 100 mm, with low power consumption. Future generations will be even smaller, integrating hard robotics, soft robotics, or both. We are interested in proposals that extend our point-to-point communication options between such devices when operating in fluids such as air or water, and potentially benefit from a low probability of interception.
With a strong emphasis on miniature (submillimeter) and low power components, one goal might be to understand the physical properties and limitations of a new form of transmitter and receiver, where controlled information can be exchanged, ideally with a demonstration of robustness, two-way communication. All modes and bands are interesting.
Organic electronics, also known as plastic electronics, is a field that studies organic compounds (including polymers) that have electronic or photonic properties that are generally electrically conductive, semiconductor, or ionic (or their combinations). Silicon electronics are generally limited to a higher operating temperature of 85 ° C; organic electronics offer the potential for higher operating temperatures, with broader military utility.
We would like to receive proposals that investigate the high temperature possibilities of organic systems; an example could be research to study an organic field effect transistor operating at a much higher temperature than a silicon equivalent.
In this class of materials, collective quantum behavior and complex emerging effects are caused by interactions between large numbers of electrons, or quasiparticles. These quantum effects remain apparent at macroscopic levels and their properties at these scales cannot be accurately described using classical approximations. 2D materials such as graphene are perhaps the most well-known cases in which the motion of electrons is constrained in two-dimensional sheets, but in this call we are particularly interested in research on quantum materials whose properties do not derive not of reduced dimensionality. .
By way of example, a field of application could be the use of topological quantum materials for a new class of thermoelectric devices whose performances exceed those of the Seebeck effect. The investigation should ideally provide evidence to illuminate the broader and longer term implications for the selected material.
Proposal evaluation criteria
Scientific quality and innovation
What is the state of the art / possible in this field and how is the proposed research new and innovative? What key scientific element does this project seek to develop and what is its value?
The proposal must have a description of:
- the challenge that work seeks to meet
- the work to be done
- the proposed methodology
- the novelty of the proposed work in relation to the context, and the deadlines
- how the proposed work is ambitious, adventurous and transformative
- an impact path for the proposed research
Results of Doctorate supervisors and university
The proposal must describe the relevance of the research center or group. The information required here is:
- How the candidate’s expertise aligns with the topic of the call:
- What aspect (s) have you been looking for and for how long?
- How much Doctorate students have you supervised / supervise?
- How is offered Doctorate will contribute to your work?
- Proof that the research group or research center is a leader in the proposed field:
- What is the goal of your research group?
- What is the particularity of this area?
- What are the potential fields of application of this research?
Dstl business process following the evaluation of the proposal
|Commercial valuation||Compliance (pass / fail)|
|The Contractor must confirm their full acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Authority’s contract as detailed on the competition page on gov.uk||Pass / Fail. Failure to confirm unreserved acceptance of the Authority’s terms and conditions will render your proposal non-compliant and will no longer be considered.|
|The contractor’s proposal does not exceed the Authority’s funding limit of £ 100,000 per proposal||Pass / Fail|
Not selected for funding
If, following the evaluation, the proposal is not selected for funding, the university’s commercial contact point (POC) will be notified by e-mail of Dstl Commercial before January 31, 2022.
Selected for funding
If, following the evaluation, the proposal is selected for funding, the following process will apply:
- Dstl Commercial will email the university commercial POC detailed on the application form advising that the proposal has been selected for funding and in order to move forward, ask to complete and return certain mandatory forms, for example the personal data research form.
- Once the forms are received by Dstl Commercial and deemed satisfactory, a contract offer will be issued.
Please note that a contract offer will not be issued until a student has been identified and approved by Dstl.
UK and French academic supervisors
Each proposal of Doctorate the scholarship must have a name UK director and co-director of a French university / laboratory.
Research Doctorate student requirements
Doctorate students (UK or French nationals only) will have to spend time both at the UK and French institutes during the Doctorate. In view of this, applicants should have, or demonstrate a plan to develop, strong language skills in both English and French.
Each student must:
- spend a minimum of 6 months at the French institute (during years 1 to 3)
- attend a defense initiation day in France which is normally held in the spring of each year (first year only)
- participate in the 2 Anglo-French days Doctorate Conference (which alternates between UK and France in summer each year (years 1 to 3); for information, the 2023 conference will be held at UK)
- attend a 2-day workshop at Dstl every year (organized in winter or spring) (years 1 to 3)
In addition, the University must provide electronic copies of the Doctorate Thesis and any publication (for example, conference and journal articles) by the student.
Dstl technical support
Government oversight of Doctorate is carried out through a Dstl Technical partner and a AIDE Tutor. The Dstl The technical partner is also responsible for fostering university engagement. As part of this role, and Doctorate surveillance, the Dstl The technical partner will visit the university twice a year (years 1-3) for up to 3 days per visit. The visit dates are to be agreed between the supervisor and the Dstl Technical partner.
The general conditions of contract provided in the context of the competition, as advertised on GOV.UK will apply to any resulting contract placed in connection with this competition.
The cyber risk profile for this requirement identified by the cyber risk assessment is [Not Applicable] (Reference RAR-NDKA7JQV). Application process.
Each proposal is for 1 Doctorate, which must have a supervisor both of the UK and French university establishment. There is no limit to the number of proposals in which an organization can be involved.
Submission of proposals
Proposals must be submitted electronically by Friday November 26, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. via the Defense Sourcing portal (DSP). The Authority reserves the right to reject any offer received after the date and time indicated.
Completed proposals must include:
- completed application form
- Supervisor CV in the UK (2 pages maximum – must list experience and publications relevant to the topic of interest)
- Supervisor’s CV in France (2 pages maximum – must list experience and relevant publications in the subject of interest)
- a single PowerPoint slide that summarizes the scope of the proposed work
- a personal data research form duly completed for each student (if already identified) and supervisor who will work on the UK Dstl funded needs.
Proposals are requested from universities in areas of interest and must propose a French co-director.
Applicants will be informed of the result before January 31, 2022.
For more information, please contact through the Defense Sourcing portal (DSP). Please include in the subject line “Anglo-French Doctorate Call 2022 ′.