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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 funding sources such as BBSRC, STFC and MERI. 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 (BBSRC, STFC, MERI) using the keyword search tool.

Manchester Environment Research Institute (MERI) funded PhD project information

The University of Manchester and University of Liverpool host a doctoral partnership which offers PhD training across a broad remit of Environmental Sciences, including Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Geology and Geophysics, Molecular Environmental Sciences and Geography.

This broad remit builds upon the considerable research strength in these areas at Manchester and Liverpool.

We offer exciting, cutting edge projects, both single-discipline and multidisciplinary. Close engagement with industrial and collaborative partners will enable students to gain a wider perspective on their work and contribute to solving real-world problems.

Formal training is offered in both subject specific and transferable skills to the entire PhD cohort through the partnership and at each University through local Faculty training programmes. Funding is offered to students from the UK and European Union.

These projects will be hosted at The University of Manchester in either the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES), the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) or the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE), and will be associated with the Manchester Environment Research Institute (MERI).

Application process

If you wish to be considered for one of these studentships you must complete an online application. Applicants should be from the UK/EU and have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in an appropriate subject area.

The closing date for project applications is  Wednesday, 6 February 2019 at 5pm. Interviews will take place on Tuesday, 26 February 2019.

Contact the project supervisor for informal queries about specific projects, or contact the admissions office for general application enquiries (

Planetary Science (STFC) funded PhD project information

Planetary science is an interdisciplinary subject and we welcome students who have studied geology, geochemistry, chemistry, physics or planetary science at degree level, and who ideally have experience of carrying out an independent research project as part of their degree. 

Current project titles are as follows. For further details, find the project in the search box at the foot of the page.

  • Analysis and modelling of planetary atmospheres
    Supervisors: Dr Paul Connolly, Dr Grant Allen, Professor Jamie Gilmour, and Professor David Schultz
  • Fracturing the Martian crust: combining neutron diffraction experiments and microstructural analyses to investigate the fracturing of pyroxenes
    Supervisors: Dr Steve Covey-Crump, Dr Paul Schofield (Natural History Museum, London), Dr Katherine Joy
  • Investigating the water and volatile inventory of unequilibrated ordinary chondrites
    Supervisors: Dr Romain Tartèse and Dr Rhian Jones, Dr Ashley King Schofield (Natural History Museum, London)
  • Lunar Highlands Regolith Records
    Supervisors: Dr Romain Tartese and Dr Katherine Joy
  • Volatile processing during planetary differentiation: insights from Asteroid 4 Vesta
    Supervisors: Dr Brian O’Driscoll, Dr Patricia Clay, Professor Ray Burgess, Dr Russell Garwood

Suggest your own

The research projects described here should give you a taste of the topics and scope we cover. We welcome project suggestions from prospective students, who should initially contact the appropriate research group academic to discuss the feasibility of their own 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), working at NASA and the European Space Agency, and in research council administration.

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.


The deadline for applications is Wednesday 1 May at 5pm. We anticipate that interviews will be held at The University of Manchester in mid-May (date to be determined). It is recommended that you apply in good time to secure your place and funding ahead of the project start date. 

Funding eligibility

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

Available projects