The new Portuguese PhD programme APPLAuSE is very different from standard PhD courses: Addressing physics and engineering students worldwide, it grants up to ten students a four-year doctoral scholarship. The programme also includes a one-year secondment to one of the international institutions IPFN collaborates with. And students are assigned a personal mentor who will help him or her to maximise their potential.

The overall objective of APPLAuSE is to provide each student with a broad knowledge in the field of plasma science and engineering. This will enable them to build a career in areas such as fusion science, astrophysics, space science or high-energy-density physics. The programme is designed to bring students into contact with renowned specialists and to motivate them to develop in-depth expertise in their chosen area of specialisation. The curriculum sets off with basic plasma science and continues with controlled nuclear fusion, high-energy-density physics, space and astrophysical plasmas and low temperature plasma science and engineering.

40 students – eight of them female – applied for the first year. Most of them are from Europe, but some come from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The applicants’ backgrounds range from plasma physics, astrophysics and quantum mechanics to instrumentation, electronics and lasers. The students were mostly attracted by the novelty and the curriculum of the doctoral programme, the prestige of Lisbon Technical University, and, of course, by the included PhD grant. The selection process is now underway and the course will start in January 2014.

APPLAuSE stands for Advanced Programme in Plasma Science and Engineering. It is an English language PhD programme hosted by Instituto De Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN) at Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon. The doctoral scholarships offered by APPLAuse are supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.