I have undergraduate degrees in Physics and Mechanical Engineering. I'm pretty bored by my work as a systems integration engineer and am strongly considering doing a phd in plasma physics. I've been told that the quality of my supervisor, his/her contacts and the amount of funding they can requisition will be large factors contributing to the likelyhood of my success. Could you guys give me any tips on what to look out for in a supervisor and what I should look for in a topic? I am very interested in innovations in instrumentation, signal processing and plasma control methodolodies to allow us to glean more from experiments, and possibly achieve improved plasma stability. I figure that my practical background will allow me to shorten the research and implementation lifecycle. I am a bit worried that I might get stuck for fundamental innovations in this field because it is so implementation based and possibly been well researched already. I'm also worried that I'm not good enough. I basically have two universities to choose from. One is 300kms away (ANU) and the other is relatively close by (20ks or so). ANU have a much better reputation, are more research oriented and have a lot more funding. Is it worth taking the lifestyle hit for the better institution? Here's a masters topic that piqued my interest: Real Time Signal Processing and Analysis for Plasma Experiments: (V,H,MPh) A LabView-based control system for fast acquisition of vacuum magnetic surfaces (Poincare plots) will be extended to include data acquisition and initial analysis of a 720 view x 64 channel tomographic system. This system will display data in various raw and analysed forms during acquisition to allow the quality of data to be improved, and to feed back into the experiment to allow the scan parameters to be chosen strategically. Using Labview and Research Systems we expect that a measurement campaign of days can be performed in hours. Thanks.