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Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

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Be part of an active research team working to further our understanding of the environment and tackle the issues we face today.

We have a broad range of research projects that we are currently engaged in that we are seeking doctoral students for.

Fully funded research

The database below includes projects from a number of different sources (funded and self-funded). Please refer to the links below for more information including eligibility and application deadline dates. 

You can search for projects by selecting the appropriate research group from the drop-down menu, or alternatively you can search by funding stream (STFC) using the keyword search tool.

Planetary Science (STFC) funded PhD project information

Planetary science is an interdisciplinary subject and we welcome students who have studied planetary science, geology, geochemistry, chemistry, mathematics or physics at degree level, and who ideally have experience of carrying out an independent research project as part of their degree. The research projects that you can apply for cover a range of topics involving the analysis of samples from the Moon, Mars and asteroids, through to helping to plan for future planetary exploration initiatives and studying how meteorites are delivered to the Earth. For further details, find what projects we have available in the search box at the foot of the page (use STFC as the keyword as the funding for planetary science projects comes from the Science and Technology Facilities Council).

Suggest your own

The research projects described here should give you a taste of the topics and scope we cover. We welcome suggestions from prospective students, who should initially contact the appropriate research group academic to discuss the feasibility of their own PhD research ideas and identify a supervisor. Staff members currently researching the planetary sciences and associated disciplines within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences are listed on the Planetary Science research page.

Career pathways

For information about career paths related to completing a planetary science PhD please see the STFC website. The Royal Astronomical Society website also has some useful information here about studying astronomy and planetary science in the UK. We also have a blog, Earth and Solar System, about planetary science studies and internship opportunities.

Our former students have pursued a wide range of further careers paths ranging from planetary science research careers located across the globe (UK, France, Canada, USA, Japan, Germany), teaching science in schools, working in the space tourism sector (Virgin Galactic), the UK Home Office, industry (drilling contractors, technical writer at mass spectrometer company, laser applications engineer), and working at NASA and the European Space Agency.

Application process

To apply for one of our research projects you need to submit an online application selecting the appropriate research area from the drop down menu of the University's electronic application form. You may apply for one or two of the planetary science (STFC) projects we have on offer, but no more than two.


The deadline for applications is Friday 31 January 2020 at 5 pm. We anticipate that interviews will be held at The University of Manchester in mid to late Feb. 2020 (date to be determined) for a start date in Sept. 2020. It is recommended that you contact the project supervisor well in advance of this deadline to discuss the details of the project that you wish to apply for.

Funding eligibility

Please check the eligibility for UKRI STFC funding and note the UK residency rules regarding eligibility of stipend and fee studentship support.

If you are not a UK resident, you may be able to prepare a separate case and apply for internal University of Manchester funding (for example the President’s award, see also other options) and should discuss this with the potential project supervisor.

Available projects