Cryogenic Power Electronics for Superconducting Electric Motors in Aviation

Host Faculty: Engineering
General Subject Area: Engineering (ENEL, ENMT), Power Electronics
Project Level: PhD
View the Research Website
FIND A PROJECT - Engineering

We have a fully-funded three-year PhD position for a Power Electronics researcher, to be primarily based at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, on the “High power electric motors for large-scale transport” research programme. This is an exciting, leading edge opportunity to contribute and learn in a field of extreme importance to sustainable human existence on planet Earth.
The research programme is a part of the New Zealand government’s Strategic Science Investment Fund into an Advanced Energy Technology Platform, investigating superconducting electric machines and cryo-cooled machine drives as an enabling technology for electrification of aviation and heavy transport:

The multi-million dollar programme is a collaboration between several New Zealand academic and technical institutions as well as overseas collaborators.
The power electronics work stream is being driven by the Power Electronics Group at The University of Auckland (UA), in conjunction with the University of Canterbury (UC) and the University of Cambridge, in the UK, and is concerned with power electronic drives for superconducting motors. These drives can take advantage of the cryo-cooling, provided for the superconducting motor windings, to run at low temperature and thus achieve very high efficiencies and power conversion densities, using emerging switching devices based on wide bandgap semiconductors, such as GaN.

For more information about the research team and UC’s role in the research programme, please check our website: 


Supervisor: Bill Heffernan

Key qualifications and skills

• Bachelor with honours or master's degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering or a closely related field
• Good knowledge of power electronics, drives and electric machines
• Experience with programming in MATLAB, and modelling using COMSOL, or similar software
• Excellent academic track record and ability to work in a collaborative environment
• High proficiency in written and spoken English
• Industrial or practical experience desirable
Enthusiastic applicants (any nationality) with the above attributes that want to make a positive impact in the world are strongly encouraged to apply. Opportunities to carry out some of the research at partner institutions worldwide may be available.

Does the project come with funding

Yes - $28,000 stipend per annum for 3 years, plus fees

Final date for receiving applications



power electronics; superconducting motors; drives; wide bandgap semiconductors