Space and Plasmas Physics and Engineering

A PhD in Engineering Physics is a starting point for a research career in Space Engineering or Plasma Engineering in industry or academia. These disciplines are at the interface of Physics and Engineering and rely on advanced physics knowledge. They operate in a highly international environment where infrastructures at ground and space and industry bring together entrepreneurs, researchers and engineers from all over the world. This environment will be key to your future employability.

At ProDEF you will find a highly skilled and internationalised team of professors and researchers that can guide your PhD in the field of Space and Plasma Engineering Physics and bridge to other areas of engineering. They have expertise in the following general areas of knowledge:

  1. Advanced data science methods for space and plasmas engineering, including machine learning, image processing and data fusion;
  2. End-to-end instrument development for space and ground stations, including optics and photonics, electro-optical and mechanical systems, modelling and detectors;
  3. Plasma physics and engineering, including thrusters, plasma discharges (cold plasmas), plasma fusion (hot plasmas), tokamaks, instabilities;
  4. Space physics and engineering, including space environment, orbital dynamics, project management and scientific requirements.

The curricular part of the PhD includes tutorial courses aimed at complementing and extending your expertise. The thesis part of the PhD will take place in the research units associated with ProDEF, these units bring together teams of professors, researchers and fellow PhD candidates, state-of-the-art laboratories and computing facilities, funding opportunities and connections with industry and international organisations. All candidates are expected to publish their original research work in refereed journals and present it in international conferences.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact our professors and researchers for potential thesis topics and funding opportunities.

National associated research units


International (intergovernmental organizations with Portugal as member state)

Fusion for Energy; ESA; ESO; JET