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Fully-funded PhD opportunities

Fully-funded PhD opportunities to join the Solar and Space Physics Research Group at Northumbria University

The Solar and Space Physics research group is inviting applications for fully-funded PhD studentships for a September/October 2023 start. We offer both 3.5-year, fully-funded PhD studentships, and 4-year, fully-funded STFC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science PhD studentships. Start Date is 1st October 2023 for the 3.5-year PhDs or 25th September for the 4-year PhDs.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 31st January 2023. This year, we are offering PhDs on the following topics:


3.5-year, fully-funded PhD studentships (funded by STFC Doctoral Training Partnership)

These PhD studentships are for 3.5 years and include full fees, a living allowance (this was £17,668 for 2022/23) for full time study, and additional funding to cover research costs and national/international travel such as conferences.


4-year, fully-funded PhD studentships as part of the STFC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science 

These PhDs are offered as part of the NUdata Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science - - which Northumbria leads. These PhD studentships are for 4 years and include full fees, a living allowance (this was £17,668 for 2022/23) for full time study, and additional funding to cover research costs and national/international travel such as conferences.

Full details of the PhDs can be found *here* and details of individual projects can be found below:


Please note:

If you wish to discuss your application informally then please feel free to contact the supervisor named on the project. We are happy to provide all applicants with guidance.

Please click on the hyperlinks above to read further details of each project (each title is a hyperlink).

If you are interested in applying for more than one of the research projects, then you can say this in your application and you can rank the projects you are interested in (top choice = 1st, second choice = 2nd, etc). In this way, you can apply for multiple projects but only submit one application (we recommend you submit formally under your top choice project).

You do not need to submit a research proposal for any of these funded projects, since they are already defined by the supervisor. If you have your own research idea and wish to pursue that, then this is also possible - please indicate this on your application (if this is the case, then please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words).

Deadline = 31st January 2023


Overview of the research group

We are a successful group pursuing high-international-priority research across the broad remit of Solar and Space Physics. The group demonstrates international leadership across theory, numerical modelling, observations of solar and space plasma, data intensive science, and a growing reputation for space-related hardware. You can see details of the Group *here*.

Our Solar and Space Physics research has been supported with core funding from STFC and NERC as well as funding from EU Horizon 2020, European Space Agency (ESA), UK Space Agency (UKSA), the US Air Force, the National Solar Observatory (USA), the Leverhulme Trust, and the Royal Astronomical Society. Group members sit on various national and international panels including the STFC Education, Training and Careers Committee (Prof James McLaughlin), STFC Solar System Advisory Panel (Dr Richard Morton), STFC Project Peer Review Panel (Dr Robert Wicks), UKSA’s Space Programme Advisory Committee (Prof Clare Watt) and ESA’s Space Science Advisory Committee (Prof Jonathan Rae). Members of the group, including Prof Jonathan Rae, Prof Clare Watt, Dr Shaun Bloomfield, Dr Jasmine Mann [Sandhu] and Dr Andy Smith also contribute to the ongoing UKRI SWIMMR (Space Weather Instrumentation, Measurement, Modelling and Risk) national space weather programme in support of the UK Met Office. The group includes 1 Future Leader Fellow (Dr Richard Morton), 1 Royal Society University Research Fellow (Dr Julia Stawarz), 1 NERC Independent Research Fellow (Dr Andy Smith) and 2 STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellows (Dr Patrick Antolin and Dr John Coxon). 


*** Come and meet the Team ! ***

You will join a strong and supportive research team. The very best way to get a taste of this is to come and visit the Research Group in person, meet your fellow PhD students, and meet the PhD supervisors.

We have funding to support all UK National applicants who wish to visit the research group (with funding to fully cover reasonable travel and accommodation costs). Please contact Head of Group Professor James McLaughlin if you are interested in visiting the Group, and we can arrange travel arrangement (and cover these costs). Also feel free to contact individual PhD supervisors if this is better for you.

It is hard to communicate the benefits of joining such a strong, supportive team. Hopefully the pictures below give a flavour of this!

In addition to this, for the Centre for Doctoral Training PhDs, we are also hosting a day-long event on campus on Monday 9th January 2023. At that event, there will be an opportunity to discuss your research ideas, meet potential PhD supervisors, as well as hear from speakers from a variety of backgrounds (academia, industry, government, charity) discussing both STFC and data science as well as their personal paths and backgrounds. 

To register for the CDT event, please complete this form =


Eligibility and How to Apply:

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 

Please note: Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. NUDATA23/EE/MPEE/STAWARZ ) will not be considered.

These projects are open for both home * and international (including EU) students. Selection criteria:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

* to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.
  • If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.

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