Maria Petrou PhD Scholarship for Women

Scholarship overview

  • Degree level

    Postgraduate doctoral

  • Value

    Tuition fees (Home & Overseas), bursary (UKRI rates with London allowance + £500 per annum)

  • Number of awards


  • Academic year


  • Tuition fee status

    Home, Overseas

  • Mode of study

    Full time

  • Available to

    Prospective students

  • Application deadline

    01/03/2024 Closed

  • Additional information

    Scholarship page

  • Available to applicants in the following departments

    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Eligibility criteria

Applicants of any nationality are eligible for consideration for this prestigious academic scholarship. Eligible applicants do not apply directly for this scholarship: if they have been made a PhD offer by the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, an application can be put forward by their supervisor. Please discuss this option with your supervisor at your PhD interview.

Please note: This scholarship is not available to continuing students.

Application process

Submit PhD application to Electrical and Electronic Engineering department by 1st March 2024.

Additional information

About Professor Maria Petrou

The scholarship honours the life and work of Professor Maria Petrou (1953-2012), who was the first woman Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She received numerous honours, including a fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2004, and was a passionate advocate for women in engineering.

Maria Petrou was born in Greece and studied Physics at the University of Thessaloniki, scoring the country's highest mark in her entrance exam, before moving to Cambridge to complete her doctorate.

She began her academic career in Astrophysics, but at a time of increased UK government funding for the applied sciences in the early 1980s, Maria - who described herself as a problem-solver - began an academic migration towards research in robotic vision and remote sensing.

Throughout her career in this field, Maria was interested in improving the ability of robots and computers to extract important information from raw data, detecting patterns, and overcoming difficulties associated with textures in images. She is noted for the development of a completely novel type of image representation known as trace transform. This allowed her to manipulate, compare and identify 2-D images by scale or rotation - allowing significant breakthroughs in, for example, face recognition software. She developed advanced techniques for edge and line detection, for texture analysis and for image segmentation, and was a specialist in colour image processing.

Professor Petrou posed an open challenge to her peers to develop a robot for ironing clothes, after her great-aunt came across a news report of a robot football world cup and said: "Why can't (men) develop something really useful, like an ironing robot?" Her great-aunt's challenge became a three-year EU-funded project.


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