Plymouth University thermography PhD project

Matthew Fox

PhD projects explored a number of innovative technologies, including thermography.


Each PhD was a collaborative project involving a Cornwall-based business and at least two of the Combined Universities Cornwall (CUC) partner institutions. All studentships were based around themes related to the Cornish economy.

Businesses or business clusters were at the centre of each PhD project and were actively involved in the research throughout its duration. As the projects progressed they explored how the research can be exploited and bring not only benefit to the external partner but also the wider Cornish economy.


Climate change and low carbon economic development

This theme focused on identifying and addressing the skills shortages that must be overcome to put Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly at the forefront of exploiting new opportunities, in both established and emerging sectors.

Projects investigated the challenges and opportunities faced by Cornwall as a result of environmental change and explored new low carbon technologies which may contribute to an environmentally sustainable future for the county.

Enterprise and entrepreneurship Projects within this theme contributed to increased growth and productivity of small enterprises through fostering entrepreneurial and enterprising behaviour, improving leadership and management, increasing new starts and a broad range of demand led learning, training and skills provision.
Key sectors

This theme focused on demand led skills provision and employer engagement for key sectors in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. These included tourism, marine, ICT, transport, retail, construction, care, health and biotechnology, environmental technologies, creative industries, manufacturing and engineering and food and drink.

Digital economy Projects within this theme investigated the infrastructure provision in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and develop the skills required to capitalise on this infrastructure, empowering people to increase the use of ICT and computer systems in the day-to-day operations of businesses.
Eco-town and sustainable communities These projects explored a range of areas that contributed to sustainable communities such as sustainable buildings, politics, socio-economics, energy policy, behavioural change and cultural heritage.
Health and wellbeing

These projects explored health and wellbeing in greater depth to help identify examples and methods that can inform policy and develop business opportunities.

There is a growing evidence suggesting use of and exposure to natural environments can be beneficial for physical and mental health. The environment can promote physical activity, create healthy workplaces, develop custodial attitudes and tackle problems such as childhood obesity. However, it can also pose threats from natural and manmade hazards such as radon and chemical pollutants.

Creative industries

Projects within this theme focused on high level critical, analytical and interpretative skills to contribute to the economic development of creative industries in Cornwall.

The projects built research capabilities in sustainable design and production, creative arts and cultural identity and garden design. They explored the application of innovative technologies and initiatives to enhance sustainable community development and stimulate growth and demand for creative industries in Cornwall.

Biodiversity and conservation

These projects focused on building knowledge, tools and skill sets to better understand and mitigate the potential impacts of a rapidly changing climate on Cornwall’s natural environment.

The projects developed a better understanding of how ecosystems function, the inter-relationships between plants and animals, how animals and plants cope with environmental stressors and how they evolve in different environmental conditions over time. Similarly, pest control in agriculture and combating spread of disease associated with climate change, can only be achieved through building the scientific information on the virulence capabilities, mechanisms, and adaptive capabilities of pests and diseases.

These projects expanded scientific knowledge and equipped the students with skills that will contribute to the development of the environmental sector in Cornwall.

The studentships were fully funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), under its Convergence funding for Cornwall.