Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC)

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PhD Studentships

PhD studentships may available at the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC), spanning across the Dept of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE), School of Mathematics and Statistics (SoMaS) and Dept of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield in one of the areas of interest of the Centre:

  • Magnetoseismology of the solar atmosphere (from photosphere to corona)
  • Dynamics of MHD jets (from spicules to x-ray jets)
  • MHD wave theory with solar and astrophysical applications
  • MHD wave observations and Solar Magneto-Seismology (SMS)
  • MHD and plasma instabilities with applications so solar and solar-terrestrial physics
  • Heating of the solar atmosphere: waves, reconnection, etc.
  • MHD and collisionless shocks in the magnetosphere
  • Radiation belt modelling
  • Space Weather (flare and CME forecasting, arrival, etc.)
  • High-speed stereo Schlieren imaging and signal processing
  • Applying Machine Learning and AI techniques to solar and solar-terrestrial physics
  • Novel joint ground-based and satellite observations of the Sun.
SP2RC has wide expertise in advanced analytical and numerical modelling and analysing high-resolution observations obtained by cutting-edge ground-based instruments and space satellites. The studentship may be supplemented by an income from assistance in tutorials.

Applications are invited from Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or Computer Sciences students who have graduated or expect to graduate with a first or upper-second class degree. Unless otherwise advertised, RCUK rules apply for eligibility overall.

The screening of applications is continuous with an initial closing date of 22 January 2021. Applications after that date may also be considered until the positions are all filled.

Studentships may be available commencing October 2021 depending on the departments involved. The following specific studentship schemes may be available for applicants towards supporting their PhD studies:

  • 1) EU SWATNET ITN Scholarships (2 PhD fellowships)
  • 2) Faculty of Science Fee Scholarships
  • 3) China Scholarship Council Studentships
  • 4) SoMaS EPSRC Studentships
  • 5) SoMaS Studentships

1) EU SWATNET Marie-Curie ITN European Joint Degree Scholarships (2 fellowships)

SWATNET: PhD Scholarships 2021 entry

Space Weather Awareness Training Network (SWATNET) aims at breakthroughs in understanding the physical foundations of key agents of Space Weather at Earth and establishing a unique PhD training program in the field. SWATNET is composed of eight Beneficiaries and seven Partner Organizations from seven different European countries with diverse and complementary expertise. Two PhD studentships will be availabe in Sheffield under the supervision of Professor Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen. The Network itself will train the next generation of heliophysicists with an exceptional combination of research and transferable skills and strong knowledge of Space Weather for benefit of the society.

The overall objectives of the SWATNET programme are to: 1. Train a group of highly qualified and enthusiastic professional researchers in state-of-theart approaches in Space Weather research that will form the next generation in academic research, space industry companies and also wider non-academic research careers. 2. Give new insight towards more harmonized doctoral training Europe wide and exchanging practices between different countries. 3. Develop and apply new methodologies that can be utilised to unveil the fundamental physical processes taking place in the solar atmosphere and contributing to Space Weather. 4. Maximize the science return of current and future research infrastructures that are led by Europe or where there are strong European involvements (e.g. Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope)

These studentships will open very soon. Details on how to start PhD in 2021 will be added to this webpage in due course. These studentships will offer two full Scholarships (including a stipend maintenance, fee waivers, family support, mobility support and support towards research training) to support excellent home, EU or overseas students. This funding is for 3 years. For the SWATNET PhD opportunity applicants will need to apply via the PG online system, once the call will be open. The competition for this type of support will likely be very competitive.

For additional informal information on the Sheffield-based SWATNET studentships, please contact Professor Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen (Head of SP2RC): robertus [at] sheffield.ac.uk.

2) Faculty of Science Fee Scholarship

Please see for details and address any specific queries to sciencegradschool@sheffield.ac.uk

Faculty of Science: PhD Scholarships 2021 entry

The Faculty of Science Scholarships scheme is currently closed and to start PhD in 2021 will be added to this webpage in due course. Usually, these studentships offer a number of Fee Scholarships to support excellent home, EU or overseas students. This funding is likely to be for Fee Only awards, up to the full fee for 3.5 years, with applications for part-fee funding welcomed. For this opportunity PhD applicants will need to apply via the PG online system, once the call is open. The competition for this type of support will likely be very competitive. Pleease note that at most one entry per primary SP2RC supervisor will be put forward.

3) China Scholarship Council studentships

Full details of these studentships can be found at: here

It is important to note that according to the rules set out by University Research Services, applicants must be in receipt of an UNCONDITIONAL study offer (including fulfillment of all English Language requirements) prior to the scholarship application deadline. This call is currently closed. Please allow at least a week for admissions to process offers once the call is open.

Please also note the restrictions on eligibility for these studentships, in particular the requirement to return to China after the PhD. Further, although the website lists some priority areas but excellent our outstanding applicants may still be considered. Note that the entire School of Mathematics and Statistics will be able to put forward only ONE applicant to Faculty.

4) School EPSRC Studentships

The School usually has a number of studentships available for October entries in each academic year, for projects within the Engineering and Physical Sciences ResearcH Council (EPSRC) remit. These studentships are available to Home (UK) students only. All eligible students who make an online application by the deadline, once the call is open, will be interviewed and will be automatically considered for these studentships. This call is currently closed.

5) School Studentships

SoMaS often has further departmental studentships available for October entries in each academic year, for any subject area within SoMaS research. The School plans to use these either to provide 3.5 years' stipend only for students (whether home, EU or overseas) who are successful in obtaining a full fee scholarship from Faculty (see above), or to award fees and stipend for 3.5 years for home or EU students only. All eligible applicants who apply by the deadline, once the call is open, will be interviewed and will be automatically considered for these studentships. The first round of allocations of these studentships will likely be announced by the end of February 2021. This call is currently closed. For up-to-date additional information on the School Studentships, please visit here

For additional informal information on any of the above opportunities with a specific research interest in the areas of solar and space physics or plasma-astrophysics, please contact Professor Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen (Head of SP2RC): robertus [at] sheffield.ac.uk or, alternatively you are encouraged to approach any academic member of the Centre.