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Current PhD Studentships

3 Full-time PhD studentships available

School of Physical Sciences at The Open University

Based in Milton Keynes

The School of Physical Sciences has three full-time, fully funded (maintenance stipend and home-fees) PhD studentships available to start in October 2022. To be eligible for this funding, applicants must meet the UKRI academic requirements. Additionally, applicants in the Astronomy and Planetary and Space Science projects must meet the home-student residency requirements.

The potential projects still available this year fall within the following research themes:

  • Astronomy
  • Planetary and Space Science
  • Space Instrumentation

Details of the PhD projects we are offering can be found below. They are funded either via the STFC Astronomy & Planetary Science scheme [*], STFC DISCnet Doctoral Training Centre [§]; or STFC Cooperative Awards in Science and Technology (CASE) scheme with industrial support [$].

Applicants interested in research areas not advertised below (e.g. other research areas of Physics, Physics Education Research, Astronomy, Planetary Sciences and Space Instrumentation), international students, or those interested in self-funding full or part-time PhDs are encouraged to contact us at STEM-SPS-PHD@open.ac.uk to discuss their options. A new round of PhD positions and projects will open in October 2022 for a start in 2023.

Astronomy
Black holes in the high-redshift Universe with the next-generation X-ray observatory (A2) [*, §]

Hunting for Rare Treasure with Machine Learning: Gravitational Lensing and Glitches in the Euclid space telescope and Vera Rubin Observatory (A3) [*, §]

Planetary and Space Science
Oxygen isotope systematics in extra-terrestrial high-temperature systems (PS1) [*] 

Searching for Martian samples in asteroidal regolith (PS2) [*] 

Nanoscale Analysis of Hydrous and Anhydrous Phosphates in Martian Samples (PS11) [*] 

Water ice clouds in the Atmosphere of Mars (PS4) [*]

Thermal mapping asteroids using simulations and spacecraft data (PS7) [*]

Carbonates in ungrouped carbonaceous chondrites: tools for exploring the geology of hydrated asteroids (PS9) [*]

Apollo to Artemis: Insights into lunar volatiles through analysis of new samples [*]

Space Instrumentation
Infrared image sensors for space and Solar System exploration (SI1) [$]

The SI1 project is an STFC CASE studentship in collaboration with Teledyne e2v. Both UK and non-UK applicants are encouraged to apply. This studentship benefits from a 9-month industrial placement at Teledyne e2v at their Chelmsford site, and offers an additional stipend top-up of £2,760 per year.    

Physics

No fully funded projects available at this time.

Physics Education Research 
No fully funded projects available at this time.

How to apply

If you would like to apply then please read the guidance on applying for a PhD studentship here and email the following to STEM-SPS-PHD@open.ac.uk by the application deadline:

  • a completed Application form UK if you are resident in the UK or Application form non-UK if you are resident elsewhere, noting that you must still meet the home-student eligibility requirements to be eligible for the funding available for these studentships. We are unable to progress applications ineligible for funding for 2022 entry unless you can show an alternative independent source of funding at the time of application.
  • an up to date CV.
  • a list of individual courses taken and grades obtained.
  • a personal statement.
  • any other relevant information that you think may support your case for consideration.

You do not need to submit a research proposal for any of these projects, as they are already defined by us. You are encouraged to contact the lead supervisor of the project(s) for any informal enquiries.

Closing date for applications: Monday, 13th June 2022

Interviews will take place remotely in the week of June 20th – 24th. Final offers will be made that week and will need to be accepted / rejected by June 30th 2022.

Funding and Eligibility

The studentships are funded by a variety of STFC funding schemes for 3.5 years. They attract a stipend of £15,609 per year directly payable to the student, and cover the home-student University fees. In 2022, we have 3 studentships still available across the advertised projects for eligible candidates, as indicated above.  

We normally require that the candidates have at least a 2:1 at UK BSc or MSc level, but some projects may differ – please check the project description you are interested in.

Advice and Guidance

Please contact STEM-SPS-PHD@open.ac.uk with any questions about general administration, eligibility, suitability, funding or the nature of the PhD research. Our PhD administrator Debbie Briggs and postgraduate research tutor Konstantin Stefanov will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

If you have questions about specific projects, please contact the lead supervisor named on the project.

We are committed to widening participation and awarding PhD studentships to a diverse community of applicants. We particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups. Equal Opportunity is University policy.