The University of Southampton

OPTO6014 Industrial Project (R&D Project)

Module Overview

The topics of research projects will be decided by collaboration between an ORC or P&A supervisor and an industrial supervisor based in a local company. Topic areas will include different concepts in photonic materials and in design, fabrication and testing of device-oriented applications in photonic technology. Each student will work under a supervision of a senior research/academic staff member and a representative of the company involved. A project will start with a meeting between a student and their supervisors, where technical goals, a workplan and the schedule of work will be agreed. This plan will be written up by a student, checked by his/her supervisors and then submitted for approval to the Project Course coordinator. The research work will be performed primarily within the University at the ORC or P&A labs or offices. Regular meetings will also be arranged with the industrial supervisor to report the progress and confirm the plan for the next period. While the daily supervision will be done by the academic supervisor, the contact with the industrial supervisor and the feedback from them on the performance should prove valuable and the students could, for example, ask for a letter of reference upon successful completion of their MSc R&D projects. Weekly meetings will then take place throughout the project duration with a supervisor or, if a supervisor is unavailable, a delegated deputy. The Project course coordinator will need to be notified about such arrangements and know the names of those temporary deputies. Following the research part of the project, a report will be written up by a student that will cover both the results achieved as well as covering in-depth their relevant physics and engineering background. An additional short report covering the relevance of the project work within the context of the company’s future plans will make up part of the final assessment. The students should aim to complete all research and data analysis by the end of August to allow sufficient time for writing up reports. The deadline for submitting the reports is the end of September. In case of late submission, the standard, University approved penalties will apply, except for well justified cases. Any such extensions have to be requested in advance and in writing to the Project Module coordinators. A part of the project for all students is the “industrial showcase” which involves interaction with the relevant industry (photonic technologies) giving a flavour of the business aspect of the technology to the students. The students learn how to conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate the performance of a business and are asked to write a short essay. The industrial showcase takes place during the Easter holiday and includes a full week of interacting with local industry. The assignment should be completed within 15 days after showcase week. The industrial showcase work is independent of the student’s industrial project work, and is common to both the industrial and standard MSc project modules.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are: 1. Develop advanced practical skills and enhance in-depth understanding of relevant background knowledge and in a chosen specialist subject. 2. Embed the correct approach and methodology for independent work carried out in a research-led environment, with a focus on the applied and R&D side, in particular within the cleanrooms and optical labs of the ORC. 3. Train in technical and hands-on research skills to gain technology insight into concepts covered during taught courses to prepare for a career in research and development. 4. Introduce the students directly to the business aspect of research.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Important scientific and technological principles relevant to a chosen topic of a project.
  • Use and applications of specialist tools, equipment and techniques used to design, fabricate, test or characterise the materials or devices developed in a project.
  • The basic principles of operation of the components used, both in terms of the scientific as well as the technical background.
  • Current state of the art, including the research advances as well as in device or fabrication capabilities, relevant to a scope of a project.
  • Relevance of research to industry, feasibility study of taking ideas out of the lab to be ready for potential commercial exploitation.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Have confidence and practice in gaining new knowledge and understanding through critical reading of research resources such as scientific papers or books.
  • Discuss their results, review methods used, draw conclusions and plan future work.
  • Apply the newly acquired knowledge to solving specialist design or characterisation problems.
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess and discuss the research part of the project to evaluate the viability of potential new devices and therefore learning to encompass the principle of concept to device.
  • Assess the commercial importance of a research project within a given industrial context.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Experienced in a range of practical and experimental lab-based skills.
  • Present specialist technical information in written and verbal forms.
  • Able to work independently on a significant research project.
  • Able to defend the results and the report in front of senior scientists who will explore both the fundamental and practical understanding as well as abilities.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Operate and control specialist tools and processes with the cleanroom environment.
  • Fabricate photonic devices with due care paid to health and safety and current operating procedures relevant to a cleanroom environment.
  • Write a project dissertation that will provide a coherent, logical and accurate description of the work carried out and capturing the most important achievements of the project.


The topic or topics covered will be agreed by negotiation between a student and a supervisor who is allocated to support each project.

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice52
Completion of assessment task98
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

There is no referral opportunity for this syllabus in same academic year.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 8%
Dissertation 50%
Presentation 16%
Report 16%
Review 10%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: OPTO6013

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