Skip to content The Open University

2016 PhD Studentships

Please note: Project proposals for 2017 intake will be available towards the end of Dec 2016

We invite applications for PhD projects in the School of Physical Sciences, covering areas of Astronomy, Physics, Planetary and Space Sciences and Space Instrumentation. We anticipate approximately 10 full time studentships to be available across these research areas. The nominal start date is 3rd October 2016.

The timetable for the 2016 recruitment process is as follows, however applications can be made throughout the year and in some circumstances, studentships can start at other times of the year:

  • First round application deadline - 12th February 2016

  • Shortlist of applicants - 23rd February 2016

  • Interview dates - 16th & 17th March 2016

Please note: If you would like to apply then please send a completed application form, an up to date CV, list of individual courses taken and grades obtained, plus any other relevant information that you think may support your case for consideration, together with an indication of project(s) of interest to STEM-SPS-PhD-Admin by the application deadline. You are encouraged to contact the lead supervisor of the project(s) for any informal enquiries.


A1: Characterising Mass-Losing Exoplanets (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr Carole Haswell

A2: Monitoring the variable stellar Universe (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr. Ulrich Kolb

A3 / PSS7: Observing Rosetta’s comet

Contact: Dr Colin Snodgrass

A4 / PSS8: The shapes of primordial asteroids (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr Colin Snodgrass

A5: The Molecular Universe unravelled by means of innovative THz laboratory techniques

Contact: Dr Sergio Ioppolo

A6: Physico-Chemical Processes in Interstellar Ices (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Professor Nigel Mason

A7: UV Studies of Solar System Ices

Contact: Professor Nigel Mason


P1: Testing quantum enhancement in noisy systems (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr Silvia Bergamini

P2: Absolute cross sections for electron attachment to mass-selected clusters

Contact:  Dr Sam Eden

P3: Improving the computational description of the molecular electronic continuum

Contact: Dr Jimena Gorfinkiel

P4: Establishing physics concept inventories using free text questions

Contact: Professor Sally Jordan

P5: Electron induced Chemistry; Using electrons to control molecular fragmentation

Contact: Professor Nigel Mason

P6: Modelling radiation damage in cellular systems

Contact: Professor Nigel Mason

P7: Electron attachment to molecular clusters (OFFER MADE)

Contact:  Dr Sam Eden

Planetary and Space Sciences

PSS1: Volatiles in the Earth-Moon system, A chlorine isotope perspective  (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr. Mahesh Anand

PSS2: Dust dynamics inside Mars' polar caps

Contact: Dr Axel Hagermann

PSS3: Untangling the Earliest Stages of Planetary Differentiation (OFFER MADE)

ContactDr Ian Franchi

PSS4: Analysis of new atmospheric dust observations from Mars using a global circulation model (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr Stephen.Lewis

PSS5: Geological mapping in the southern hemisphere of Mercury  (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Professor David Rothery

PSS6: Thermal Environments of Airless Planetary Surfaces

Contact: Dr Ben Rozitis

A3 / PSS7: Observing Rosetta’s comet

Contact: Dr Colin Snodgrass

A4 / PSS8: The shapes of primordial asteroids (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr Colin Snodgrass

PSS9: Metastable flows on Mars: laboratory investigation of downslope sediment transport on Mars

Contact: Dr Manish Patel

PSS10: Practical In Situ Resource Utilisation of lunar volatiles (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr Andrew Morse

PSS11: Physics and Chemistry of comets – synthesis of the Rosetta/Philae legacy (Horizon 2020)

Contact: Dr Ian Wright

PSS12: Cometary Samples - The Key to Understanding Oxygen Cosmochemistry

Contact: Dr Ian Franchi

Space Instrumentation

SI1: Cryogenic irradiations, a realistic study of the impact of radiation on detectors in space (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr Jason Gow

SI2: Mitigation strategies against radiation-induced instrument background for space astronomy missions

Contact: Dr David Hall

SI3: WFIRST AFTA-C, Challenges in direct imaging of ExoPlanets in a harsh radiation environment (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr David Hall

SI4: Development of the detector array for SXI on SMILE (OFFER MADE)

Contact: Dr David Hall

SI5: PLATO, Challenges in indirect imaging of ExoPlanets in harsh radiation environments

Contact: Prof Andrew Holland

SI6: CMOS Image Sensors for Precision Astronomy (FILLED)

Contact: Dr. Konstantin Stefanov

SI7: Next generation CMOS image sensors and instrumentation for Earth observation from space

Contact: Dr. Konstantin Stefanov

Updated 09/06/2016