Available PhD topics, current PhD projects, open projects, NERC and other funding bodies
Although many people do a PhD in order to go into academia, it can also be very beneficial for careers in industry and the private sector. A PhD is hard work and takes at least 3 years to complete, so you need to find a suitable topic, which will engage your enthusiasm and interest for the long-haul.
Funded projects open for applications
If you are interested in applying to do a specific PhD project in our Department (self-initiated, self-funded or through a non-DTP studentship), you should direct your initial enquiry to the named supervisor (or co-supervisor) who can guide you further. In cases of uncertainty, you may also direct your enquiry to the Graduate Tutor. Once a supervisor has agreed in principle to supervise your project, or if you are applying for a specific funded studentship, you must complete a formal UCL PhD application.
- Earth Sciences Open/Funded Projects
PhD studentship in computational material science
A 4-year studentship is available in the UCL Earth Sciences Department to work on a computer simulation project to investigate the effect of impurity inclusions on the melting curves of metals as function of pressure. The project will require the application of both electronic structure and statistical mechanics techniques to compute the free energies of solid and liquid phases. Complementary approaches to the calculation of melting properties will be employed.
The successful applicant will have, or expected to obtain, a good degree in a relevant subject, e.g. physics, chemistry, or materials science, and an interest in computational research. Experience of computer modelling is desirable.
The position is available from the 1st October 2022. Applications should be sent to Prof. Dario Alfè, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, WC1E 6BT, firstname.lastname@example.org, and should include a full CV and the name and addresses of two academic referees.
This is an iCASE studentship funded by AWE and EPSRC and applicants should ordinarily be resident in the UK.
The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).
The PhD topics shown here are representative examples of projects offered by our department that are eligible for funding through the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). The London DTP offers studentships covering all aspects of earth and environmental science, hosted by different London-based academic institutions including UCL.
- Past Life and Environments
Project Title Supervisor(s): Tracing siderite oxidation on the early Earth with Copper isotopes. Details Dr Susan Little; Prof Graham Shields The biogeographical history of Mesozoic dinosaurs. Details Dr Phil Mannion; Prof Paul Upchurch The evolutionary relationships and ecomorphological radiation of early crocodylomorphs. Details Dr Phil Mannion; Dr Susannah Maidment Using the Past to Improve Predictions of the Future of Vertebrate Biodiversity. Details Dr Phil Mannion; Dr Alex Pigot Signs of life in Paleoarchean chemical sedimentary rocks: a strategy to search for extra-terrestrial life. Details Dr Dominic Papineau; Dr Matthew Powner The Cambrian explosion: causes and consequences. Details Prof Graham Shields; Dr Nick Lane The Evolutionary and biogeographic impact of the break up of Gondwana during the Cretaceous and Cenozoic Details Prof Paul Upchurch; Dr Julia Day Size control on extinction dynamics in Cenozoic planktonic foraminifera. Details Prof Bridget Wade; Dr Andy Purvis
- Solid Earth Dynamics
Project Title: Supervisor(s): The initial condition for the long-term evolution of terrestrial planets. Details Dr Maxim Ballmer; Prof John Brodholt The seismic signals of the heterogeneous Earth mantle. Details Dr Maxim Ballmer; Dr Paula Koelemeijer The dynamics of mantle plumes, and their geophysical and geochemical expressions. Details Dr Maxim Ballmer; Prof Ana Ferreira Role of fluids during faulting. Details Dr Nicolas Brantut; Prof Phil Meredith The deep nitrogen cycle – nitrogen storage in the subduction system. Details Prof John Brodholt; Dr Andrew Thomson Glacial erosion in the tropics: The Santa Marta Range, southern Caribbean. Details Dr Matthew Fox; Prof Andrew Carter Rates of drainage network evolution measured with detrital data and inverse methods. Details. Dr Matthew Fox; Prof Pieter Vermeesch Illuminate intra-crustal magma/gas transport beneath active volcanoes with very long-period tremors (VLP). Details Dr Teh-Ru Alex Song; Prof Chris Kilburn Mapping Core-mantle boundary anisotropy with core-reflected P waves. Details Dr Teh-Ru Alex Song The viscosity of the Earth’s inner core. Details Prof Lidunka Vočadlo; Prof John Brodholt Understanding the Earth’s cores: benchmarking the ELASTIC toolkit for core-forming materials. Details Prof Lidunka Vočadlo; Prof John Brodholt The structure, dynamics and composition of the Earth’s core. Details Prof Lidunka Vočadlo; Prof Ian Wood
- Earth, Atmosphere & Ocean Processes
Project Title: Supervisor(s): The aridity, drought and biodiversity impacts of Solar Geoengineering. Details Dr Peter Irvine Could high-latitude solar geoengineering refreeze the Arctic? Details Dr Peter Irvine; Dr Michel Tsamados The importance of micronutrient cycling in glaciated environments for the global carbon cycle – a case study from Greenland. Details Dr Susan Little; Dr Philip Pogge Von Strandmann Defining the source parameters for operational models of ash resuspension. Details Dr Emma Liu; Prof Tom Mitchell Data fusion of 20 years of polar remote sensing data: emerging climate trends? Details Dr Michel Tsamados; Prof Julienne Stroeve Deep Learning for radar altimetry echo classification and sea ice surface image recognition. Details Dr Michel Tsamados; Prof Julienne Stroeve Testing Earth’s thermostat with novel isotope tracers. Details Dr David Wilson; Dr Susan Little Ice sheet-ocean-climate interactions during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. Details Dr David Wilson; Dr Heather Ford
If you are interested in any of these topics, please contact the named supervisor for more information in the first instance. To apply for a DTP studentship, please do not apply to UCL directly but instead follow the DTP instructions. Whilst the topics illustrate a cross-section of active research within our Department, the list is not exhaustive and we also welcome enquiries from students who wish to formulate their own topics.