PhD Projects (2022)

The Solar and Space Physics research group is inviting applications for full-time PhD studentships for a October 2022 or March 2023 start.

These are a mixture of University funded 3-year studentship and 3.5-year STFC-funded studentships. This year, we are offering PhDs on the following topics:

University-funded, 3-year PhD studentships, deadline = 18th February 2022

STFC-funded, 3.5-year PhD studentships. Deadline = 1st March 2022

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

Please note:

  • You do not need to submit a research proposal for any of the STFC-funded projects, since they are already defined by the supervisor. This is not the case for the University-funded projects (where you must include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words)

  • If you are interested in more than one of the STFC-funded 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). You cannot do this for the University-funded projects (if you are interested in both, you must submit separate applications to the University-funded and STFC-funded projects)

  • 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). Note this is only possible for the STFC-funded projects. You cannot do this for the University-funded projects.

  • Please contact the lead supervisor of the project(s) for informal enquiries, or contact Head of Group Professor James McLaughlin at

Funding and Eligibility

The studentships are funded by a STFC Doctoral Training Partnership and are available to Home* or International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend, paid for 3.5 years at UKRI rates (for 2021/2, this was £15,609 p.a.) and full tuition fees.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

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

  • 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.

  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

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. STFC22/EE/MPEE/WICKSRobert) will not be considered. If you would like to submit your own research idea (only possible for the STFC-funded projects), then please use the following advert reference (STFC22/EE/MPEE/OWNPROJECT).

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Deadline for applications:

* 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.

Deadline for applications: 1st March 2022

Start Date: 1st October 2022 (or 1st March 2023)

Advice and Guidance

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

Overview of the research group

Northumbria University’s long-standing expertise in 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 include STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow Dr Patrick Antolin, STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow Dr John Coxon and Future Leader Fellow Dr Richard Morton. 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 and Dr Jasmine Sandhu 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’s recent research achievements include the discovery of coronal reconnection nanojets (Antolin et al., 2021, Nature Astronomy, 5, 54), creating global maps of the solar magnetic field (Yang et al., 2020, Science, 368, 694), and revealing a basal contribution from p-modes to the Alfvénic wave flux in the Sun’s atmosphere (Morton, Weberg & McLaughlin, 2019, Nature Astronomy, 3, 223).