VOILAb PhD opportunities


We do not foresee any further open position in VOILAb for a start in 2021.
If you are interested in a project with us, please read further but do not apply until a position is open.

Who should apply for a PhD in VOILAb

We welcome applications from outstanding and ambitious students, with the potential of becoming extraordinary scholars. We select less than 2% of the applications that we receive, and the only selection criteria is excellence.

Successful applicants have a very diverse background, including engineering, mathematics, physics, biology, etc. Our research group is very diverse for gender, race, nationality, career ambition, etc. We strongly value the diversity in our group, and thus applicants from groups tipically under-represented in academia are strongly encouraged to apply. Find here the minimum entry requirements by country.

Being fluent in both spoken and written English is essential. We accept the following English language qualifications at the minimum grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.


Our research focuses on the fundamental fluid mechanics underlying the force generation of rigid and flexible bodies within a fluid. Applications include:

  • Wind and tidal turbine blade fluid-structure interaction
  • Yacht sails aerodynamics
  • Seed aerodynamics
  • Insect-scale gliding drones

In 2022, we will consider applicants for the following project 

Intersted applicants shoul not apply now but wait for further informaiton to become available on this website. 


Both home and international students can apply for a full scholarship.

Funds are available to both Home (UK and EU students with settled/pre-settled status who have lived in the UK for 3+ years) and International students. However, only 30% of the scholarships can be awarded to International students. Applications are reviewed by accounting for this quota.

To increase their chances of success, home and international students may conisder applying also for other scholarships in addition to stating that they want to be considered for the scholarship associated with the project for which they apply. These additional scholarships are listed at https://www.eng.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/research/phd-scholarships. Some of these scholarships require an independent application process in addition to the application for the PhD programme. Note that most of these scholarships are awarded in January and February. Before applying for these additional scholarships, applicants are strongly encouraged to verify their eligibility and the process to apply with the Postgraduate Office of the School of Engineering: EngGradOffice@ed.ac.uk

How to apply

To be accepted for a PhD programme within VOILAb, you must apply through the online University system. This is necessary both for externally funded students seeking to enroll in a PhD programme, and for those who are also seeking a PhD scholarship from the University of Edinburgh.

It is important that you highlight your background in fluid mechanics and any other skill and expertise relevant to the project, and that you explain your motivation to work within VOILAb.

You should not submit your own research proposal but you should indicate which of the research projects you are applying for. To ensure that your application is forwarded to the VOILAb team, state in the online form that you want to be supervised by Dr I.M.Viola.

Within the application, you must state if you intend to self-fund your studies, if you have secured funds from a sponsor (and which one), or which scholarships to you intend to apply for.

For any query on the online application process, please contact directly the Postgraduate Office of the School of Engineering: EngGradOffice@ed.ac.uk.

There is no closing date for this position. The position will remain open untill filled. Applications will be reviewed from 1st February 2021. 

Informal Enquiries

Applications must be submitted through the online University system. Informal enquiries (excluding questions on the application process and scholarships) can be sent by email to Dr Ignazio Maria Viola at i.m.viola@ed.ac.uk. Please clearly state your questions in the email and confirm that you have read this webpage. Questions on the application process and scholarships should be directed to the Postgraduate Office of the School of Engineering: EngGradOffice@ed.ac.uk.

Within your enquiry, it is strongly recommended that you attach a detailed CV including all of the following:

  • Details of every qualification
  • Academic career history, including explanation of any gap and interruption
  • Explain any academic success in detail. For example, state how you ranked in your class and of how many students was your class made of; provide factual and verifiable statement of how prestigious are every award you received; state how many people competed for any scholarship you received; etc.
  • If you have published any conference or journal paper, clearly state your contribution
  • State if you intend to self-fund your studies, if you have secured funds from a sponsor (and which one), or which scholarships to you intend to apply for.