Multiple PhD Opportunties

The Open University

PhD 3.5 years Milton Keynes, UK

Uploaded 14 Dec 2020

Job Description

The Open University has multiple STFC PhD Projects available, starting in October 2021, such as:


  • Exploring Exo-Venuses with JWST (A1)  
  • Black-hole jets and their environments with new X-ray and radio telescopes (A2)
  • Timing studies of potential ARIEL targets (A3)
  • New Target Stars and Radial Velocity Discoveries of Hot Rocky Exoplanets (A4)
  • The role of ices in star and planet formation (A5)
  • Molecular physics in space: investigating molecular processes and interactions in condensed films and molecular clusters (P1/A7)



  • Molecular physics in space: investigating molecular processes and interactions in condensed films and molecular clusters (P1/A7)
  • Computational studies of few-photon ionisation of molecules irradiated by arbitrarily polarised light (P2)
  • Density functional theory for painted potential quantum simulators (P3)
  • Statistical physics of cell orientations in artificial tissues (P4)
  • Quantum machine learning with cold atoms (P5) 


Planetary Science

  • Searching for martian samples in asteroidal regolith (PS1)
  • Probing water-rock interactions in martian meteorites: Preparing for Mars Sample Return (PS2)
  • Enstatite Chondrites – An Inner Solar System Source of Volatiles for the Terrestrial Planets? (PS3)
  • Clouds in the Atmosphere of Mars (PS4)
  • Mixing in the Atmosphere of Venus (PS5)
  • Detecting potential biosignatures in cryovolcanic plumes at Enceladus and other ocean worlds (PS6)
  • Geological mapping of Mercury’s H-11 (Discovery) quadrangle (PS7)
  • Venus: petrological-geophysical modelling of the crust to understand tesserae composition (PS8)


Space Instrumentation

  • EMCCD detector development for space applications: from the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope to future mission opportunities (SI1) (This is a STFC CASE studentship with own funding, in collaboration with Teledyne e2v)
  • Production of oxygen on the Moon (SI2)
  • A CubeSat for Lunar Prospecting (SI3)
  • Investigating radiation damage of the Gaia focal plane using simulations and in-orbit data (SI4)
  • Image analysis and correction for Soft X-ray Telescopes and Ground Instrumentation (SI5)
  • Improving next-generation X-ray and UV detectors for space telescopes and dark matter searches (SI6)
  • High Dynamic Range CMOS Image Sensors (SI7)
  • Atmospheric retrievals from the NOMAD instrument on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission (SI8)
  • Atmospheric Processing and Sustainability in an Extra-terrestrial Environment (SI9)
  • Hot Pixel Generation and Clock Induced Charge in Te2v CCDs (SI10)

The studentships are funded by a STFC Doctoral Training Partnership and the OU for 3 years, with a possibility of an extension to 3.5 years. They attract a stipend of £15,285 per year (at present, to be up-rated for 2021/22) directly payable to the student, and cover the University fees.

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

Person Specification

Candidates require 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.

Up to 30% of the studentships can be allocated to international students, according to UKRI rules.