Aston University and the British Council to help boost global number of female photonics experts
  • Aston University to support more women carve out a career in photonics
  • Three new grants available for women from eligible countries across east Asia
  • Scholarships will be based in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Birmingham, UK -- Aston University and the British Council are aiming to support more women carve out a career in photonics. The British Council is funding three grants for women who have recently completed a PhD or equivalent and are from eligible countries across east Asia.This scholarship programme aims to increase opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for women. 

According to data from the UN Scientific Education and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), fewer than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women and only 30 percent of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. 

Globally, the representation of female scientist is particularly low in information and communications technology (three percent), natural science, mathematics, and statistics (five percent), and engineering, manufacturing and construction (eight percent).

The scholarships will be based in the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and will be centred on the study of photonics – the science of light. They are open to women with a passport and permanent resident of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam who are not currently working in an academic role. 

Director of Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) Professor Sergei Turitsyn said “This is a very exciting opportunity for women who wish to have a research experience at a UK university or research institution, converting their doctoral work into publications or other academic outputs, and establishing new research relationships.

“We are looking for candidates who are interested in a variety of areas of photonics such as nano-photonics, photonic technology for food industry, and machine learning for environmental sensing. They will be provided with a mentor, and support from AIPT which has a successful track record from medical lasers and bio-sensing for healthcare, to the high-speed optical communications tech that underpins the internet and the digital economy.”

In 2022, Aston University’s College of Engineering & Physical Sciences was awarded an Athena Swan Golddepartmental award for its commitment to advancing the careers of women.

The closing date for applications is 23.59 hours BST on Wednesday 31 May 202. More details can be found at