Proposed EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Acoustics

The Universities of Salford, Bristol, Sheffield and Southampton are putting together an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) application for a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Acoustics. We are asking you to fill in a survey to help us to assess the demand for the proposed centre.

What is the proposed CDT?

This CDT is an opportunity for the UK to be a global leader in researching and creating a more sustainable sound future. The CDT will focus on the user need of businesses, society and government to create a more Sustainable Sound Future. This cuts across the Frontiers of Engineering and Technology. In EPSRC’s Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges, the sound of drones and environmental noise are highlighted as needing innovative solutions. However, the CDT is broader than that, contributing to seven out of eight Tomorrow’s Engineering Research Challenges, because noise and vibration cuts across many sectors such as transport, energy, environment, construction and manufacturing. We will address recruitment issues faced by the UK’s £4.6 billion acoustics industry. Our partners tell us they struggle to find doctoral-level graduates who have acoustic expertise. Cohort training will give an unprecedented depth and breadth of knowledge to the CDT’s graduates. This is needed because of the complexity of the challenge, from reengineering machines, systems and buildings, through to understanding how sound affects the health and well-being of humans and other animals.

This CDT brings together four powerhouses in Acoustics: the Universities of Salford, Bristol, Sheffield and Southampton, along with industrial partners, regulatory bodies, members of the public and the third sector. Current PhD training in Acoustics is too piecemeal to tackle a problem that cuts across sectors, regulators and society. This CDT will create a unique cohort of future research leaders and innovators, with the ability to create a step-change in how noise is tackled by working across disciplines. A key part is a paradigm shift from simple noise and vibration control to engineering positive sounds for a better aural future. The CDT builds on the UK Acoustics Network Plus, which already has over 1,500 members including 500+ early career researchers. 

Proposed programme and range of facilities

The CDT will give students access to an extraordinary breadth of expertise and range of laboratories for their training. All four institutions are offering student projects supervised by world-leading experts in areas of sound and vibration research and also supervisors in fields such as psychology, ecology and architecture to enable interdisciplinary research. The team have an extensive track record in key skills such as public engagement, commercialisation and policy engagement.

Salford is strategically well-placed to lead the CDT, as it is investing £18M in a new Acoustics building with expanded laboratories. Moreover, the range of facilities available to post-graduate researchers (PGRs) across the CDT is unprecedented: anechoic chambers, wind tunnels, human response to sound and vibration labs, dynamics labs, reverberation chambers, measurement equipment, simulation tools etc.

We will provide a high-quality, defined research training programme, delivering the benefits of cohort training, including broader training and experience beyond doctoral research. The training programme will have four themes: machine learning, human and other animal perception, new sound sources and positive use of sound. The training will develop technical skills for acoustics (simulation, measurement, machine learning, psychoacoustics, etc.) and key skills for research (project planning, entrepreneurship, public engagement, policy influencing, responsible innovation, etc.).

Individual personal career development plans will be used for planning, recording and measuring training and progress. Cross-CDT training, placement, group projects and summer school and conference opportunities will be provided. This Cross-CDT training will be on responsible research and innovation, EDI, sustainability, and trusted research. Stakeholder placements will play an important role in ensuring the cohort learns about context and how to create impact from their research.

The learning outcomes of the training have been co-created between academics and stakeholders to ensure that CDT graduates have the skills, knowledge and understanding to tackle noise and create a more sustainable sound future for all.

Who should fill in our survey?

Please respond to our survey if you are (i) someone who does not have a PhD but is considering studying for a PhD in Acoustics; (ii) an academic or industry person who would like to see more PhD graduates in Acoustics applying for related positions; (iii) someone who feels that more PhD graduates in Acoustics are essential for the success of the UK.

Link to survey and contact information

You can access our anonymous survey here. The deadline is 5pm Thursday 24th August. Please share widely to ensure that we can assess the real demand for the proposed centre. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can use a non-identifying email address.

If you have any questions or concerns, send an email to Simone Graetzer at