School of Science

Study with us

Current studentships

Loughborough University is one of the UK’s leading centres of excellence for teaching and research in STEM subjects – with a track record in supplying industry with high calibre, highly motivated graduates, and a vibrant international research culture.

The School of Science brings together the Departments of Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and the Mathematics Education Centre, and boasts state-of- the-art facilities and an active research community. We are renowned for the relevance of our research work which is driven by society’s need for solutions to real-life issues. Loughborough scientists are actively engaged in cutting edge theoretical and applied research that is shaping the future and transforming the world through technological advances and scientific discovery.  In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) each of the academic departments had at least 85% of their research ranked as ‘internationally recognised’.

These are a few recent research highlights from within the School of Science:

Extensive investment in the student learning environment and research facilities makes Loughborough an excellent place to pursue academic aspirations, research interests and career goals and applications are invited for a number of funded studentships in the School of Science for an October 2019 start. 

As members of the Doctoral College, all postgraduate research students benefit from the full programme of Doctoral College events, such as such as the Annual Research Conference, the Summer Showcase, Three Minute Thesis competitions and regular Café Academique seminar series. Our full programme of activities is designed to enhance research culture, networking skills and promote multi-disciplinary thinking and creativity.

In addition, the Doctoral College offers an extensive training and development programme, mapped to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework. Training sessions include face-to face workshops, online and blended learning. To complement structured learning, students are also encouraged to undertake researcher-led initiatives, peer to peer support, and to apply for competitive funding for skills and CV enhancement. You will have the opportunity to undertake training in teaching skills and use these skills to teach undergraduate students. You will also have access to a dedicated postgraduate research careers consultant, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

 Applications are invited for a number of funded studentships from the following areas:

Chemistry projects

Novel cyclic peptide constructs for targeted biomolecular imaging

Supervisor: Matteo Zanda (; phone+44-15-09-…).

Nature of work: Experimental

Area: Organic synthesis/biomolecular imaging.

Potential implications: Biomedical imaging and targeted therapy of human pathologies.

Brief description: Short summary (~150 words), add a picture/image to attract students.

The macrocyclisation of peptides is an area of intense research which aims at the development of cyclo-peptide diagnostics, drug candidates and biological tools. Compared to their linear counterparts, cyclic peptides exhibit a restricted conformation, which can result in an increased binding affinity for their target receptor. They can also have reduced polarity and increased metabolic stability. Most existing methodologies to cyclise peptides heavily rely on the use of protecting groups and generally show low efficiency. In this project, the student will develop a new grafting technique based on the use of metal chelators as a general method for cyclising peptides. Bioactive peptide sequences will be synthesised, cyclised and functionalised with metal units carrying chemical groups enabling their use for biomedical imaging and – in perspective – for targeted therapy of human diseases, such as cancer (fluorescent tags, clickable functions, cytotoxic payloads, etc.). The resulting constructs will be tested for their biological activity.


How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select ‘Chemistry’.

Please quote reference number: MZ/CM/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.

3D Nanozymes: Fabrication and assembly of the first hybrid enzymes

Supervisor: Antonio Fernandez-Mato (

Nature of work: The project will involve organic synthesis and materials characterisation.

Area: Chemistry, Nanotechnology.

Potential implications: The goal of the project is to fabricate the first hybrid enzymes designed to catalyse relevant chemical transformations.

Brief description:

Enzymes are by far the most proficient catalysts, mastering fundamental chemical transformations in all living organisms. This catalytic proficiency applied to industry would result in a drastic increase in efficiency, making the chemical processes more economic and sustainable. But all this potential has been hampered mainly due to the lack of stability and reusability. Therefore, the design of robust artificial enzymes that mimic enzyme activity could uncover the immense potential of natural enzymes.

The project proposed here will allow to design a hybrid enzyme or Nanozyme by 3D assembling the catalytic core of a natural enzyme within an artificial porous material. 3D Nanozyme will represent the first truly mimic of an enzymatic active site, considered as one of the holy grails in catalysis. The 3D Nanozyme fabrication method will also allow to design innovative catalytic cores using unnatural amino acids with new and robust catalytic functions.

All applications should be made online at  by 15th Feb. 2019. Under programme name, select CHEMISTRY. Quote ref. AFM/CM/2019.

Unravelling the electronic structure properties of functional molecular materials

Supervisor: Felix Plasser (; phone+44-15-09-226946).

Nature of work: Quantum Chemistry / Computer Simulations.

Area: Computational Photochemistry.

Potential implications: Rational design of functional molecular materials guided by the understanding of the underlying electronic structure properties.

Brief description: Short summary (~150 words), add a picture/image to attract students.

Functional molecular materials play an important role in modern science with applications in solar energy conversion, lighting, and data processing. Nowadays, computer simulations are an indispensable component in the study of these systems due to constant improvements in computer power. However, these computations have become so complicated that it is often a major challenge to make full sense of the results. To overcome this problem, a versatile computational analysis toolkit has been developed by Dr Plasser and co-workers, and it is the goal of this project to apply and further develop these tools. The student working on this project will develop skills in terms of applying modern quantum chemistry methods to various molecules of current scientific interest and will be given the opportunity to turn recently developed methods into high-impact scientific publications. In addition, programming skills will be developed, and the student will have the chance to work in an interdisciplinary setting with inputs from chemistry, physics and computer science. 

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select Chemistry.

Please quote reference number: FP/CM/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.

Computer Science projects

Security and privacy in vehicular networks

Supervisor: Dr. Asma Adnane (; phone+44-15-09-223068).

Nature of work: Simulations

Area: Security and Privacy in Vanet.

Potential implications: Applications/what project for.

Brief description: Vehicular ad hoc networks (Vanet) are one of the most emerging technologies enabling several types of applications such as traffic management, driver assistance, and collision avoidance…etc.

VANET rely on communication between dynamically connected vehicles and static Road Side Units (RSU) to offer various applications. VANET have a massive potential to improve traffic efficiency, and road safety by exchanging critical information between nodes (vehicles and RSU), thus reducing the likelihood of traffic accidents. However, this type of communication networks has many security and privacy issues and challenges. Indeed, VANET are wireless, auto-organised, and distributed networks with high mobility patterns, running critical applications which reply on data confidentiality and/or integrity and should ensure drivers’ privacy.

In this project, you will be investigating new approach of communication protocol with privacy protection in VANET. The project will involve running simulation and experiments using network simulators such as OMNET++.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Computer Science’.

Please quote reference number: AA/CO/2019

Federated Service Function Chaining


Dr Posco Tso (; phone +44-15-09-223078).

Nature of work:

This project requires working with computers and networking equipment such as switches and routers.  The research will involve problem modelling and conducting experiments on real testbed and network simulator environment.

Area: Computer networking, Network Management, Machine Learning

Potential implications: Network outages as consequences of cyber attacks and/or improper management can blackout our access to major daily online services and also cause significant loss to these service operators. This project will harden the network security and resilience of the network, ensuring that network polices are consistently enforced throughout the network.

Brief description: Short summary (~150 words), add a picture/image to attract students.

Today's Internet is a collection of thousands of networks. Internet applications depends on the service provided by multiple networks through interoperation and resource sharing, for example, networking access bandwidth (e.g., ISP peering), storage and computing (e.g., CDN service, DNS). Different network stakeholders have varied networking policy requirements and configurations, which are critical for the performance and security of their networks. Hence, an effective, agile and secure federation of networking policies across network stakeholders is fundamental for the deployment of federated service chain applications.

This project is to investigate and develop novel techniques for federating service functions chains (SFCs) or service chains (SC), defining an integrated interoperation layer for deploying applications securely and efficiently across federated networks. SFCs are network services that are composed of a range of individual virtual network functions (VNFs). We will also apply machine learning techniques find particular network traffic patterns so that SFCs can be more appropriately deployed.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select ‘Computer Science’.  

Please quote reference number: PT/CO/2019.  Closing date – 15th February 2019.

Variations of pattern languages

Supervisor: Dr Daniel Reidenbach (; phone+44-15-09-222939).

Nature of work: This is a project in Theoretical Computer Science. It might potentially involve some design, implementation and testing of algorithms, but its focus is on establishing novel mathematical theory. The main research methods of the project have a formal nature, and their goal will be to find new theorems and establish their correctness via mathematical proofs.

Area: Formal language theory; string algorithms; combinatorics on words.

Potential implications: Potential results might strengthen the understanding of variations of pattern languages, which are used in a wide range of applications, typically in data mining. They could, hence, improve existing algorithms and their implementations, which would allow certain data mining tasks to be performed more effectively and efficiently. It is therefore anticipated that, if successful, the project would have significant academic as well as applied impact.

Brief description: So-called patterns are a compact and natural way to describe certain structures in strings of symbols. While their definition is simple, it has been very hard to establish some of their properties, since these are often linked to deep combinatorial problems in Discrete Mathematics. Recent research on pattern languages has continued to make some progress on the basic model. In addition, variations of the original definition have been introduced to strengthen their expressive power and, hence, applicability, and some of these variants are linked to concepts widely used in data mining tasks. It is the purpose of this project to formally investigate the properties of these variations. This will typically involve establishing new insights into combinatorial properties of sequences of symbols, and it will aim to facilitate more efficient algorithms that find patterns in textual data. The emphasis of the project will be on rigorous mathematical study, but it is possible that it will also include the design, implementation and testing of algorithms.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select Computer Science.

Please quote reference number: DR/CO/2019.  Closing date – 15th February 2019.

String logics for query languages

Supervisor: Dr Dominik D. Freydenberger (; phone+44-15-09-223188).

Nature of work: Theory (i.e., proofs etc)

Area: Theoretical Computer Science (Database Theory, Combinatorics on Words, Logic (Finite Model Theory), Automata)

Potential implications: Develop fundamental insights into models with repetition operators. Apply these to existing query languages. Potential impact: Shape the next generation of data analytics, create new bridges between finite model theory and combinatorics on words.

Brief description: Recent research has discovered close connections between existential string logics that are based on word equations on the one side, and query languages for graphs and texts on the other. For each of these models, standard questions are hard to answer: Evaluation is usually at least NP-hard, and static analysis problems are PSPACE-hard or undecidable.

This project aims to identify string logics for which these problems become tractable, and to apply these results to query languages and texts and graphs. Hence, the project combines fundamental research in the intersection of finite model theory, combinatorics on words, and their application to database theory.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select Computer Science.

Please quote reference number: DF/CO/2019.  Closing date 15th February 2019.

Scheduling and Data Flow Problems in Special-purpose Networks

Supervisor: Dr Lars Nagel (; phone: +44-15-09-222328)

Nature of work: This is mainly a theory project which aims at modelling networks and network problems and developing and analysing algorithms.

Area: Algorithms / protocols for networks; scheduling, load balancing, data flow problems; network modelling

Potential implications: Potential results might help to understand problems in future networks and to provide guidelines how to design networks under structural limitations and where to place data and processing units. The outcomes may include scheduling algorithms or heuristics and complexity results for such networks as well as “data gathering networks”. These results will benefit Big Data processing  and define limits for the Internet of Things.

Brief description: This project seeks to investigate scheduling and data flow problems in networks. With current developments like the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Big Data processing new types of special-purpose networks arise which must cope with huge amounts of data, especially sensor data that need to be routed, stored and processed. These networks can be heterogeneous with respect to their layout and hardware, prone to component failures and/or limited by their structural and temporal restrictions.

The main challenge of the project is to model such networks and network problems and analyse them theoretically applying mathematical methods or practically using, for example, simulations. Based on such analyses, an additional aim is to develop criteria and standards for the design of special-purpose networks under above limitations.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select ‘Computer Science’.

Please quote reference number: LN/CO/2019.  Deadline: 15th February 2019.

Mathematical Sciences projects

Novel non-equilibrium phases of matter

Supervisor: Achilleas Lazarides (; phone +44 (0)1509 222681)

Nature of work: This is a theoretical project, consisting of both numerical and analytical components.

Area: Theoretical physics, condensed matter physics

Potential implications: The project is theoretical in nature, aiming to find new ways of controlling periodically-driven many-body systems. Practical applications that have been suggested for such systems include metrology and quantum memories and removing some of the obstacles on the way to those is the aim of this project.

Brief description: A recent breakthroughs in physics has been the proposal and observation of a time crystals, a genuine out of equilibrium phenomenon which cannot be captured by the usual statistical mechanical framework and yet forms a genuine phase of matter. The systems in time crystals appear are isolated periodically-driven many-body quantum systems. This project is aimed at studying the effects of contact with an external environment or of long-range interactions on both time crystals in particular and periodically driven systems in general, using both numerical and analytical techniques.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select ‘Mathematical Sciences’

Please quote reference number: AL/MA/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.


Random Periodicity in Dynamics with Uncertainty: Controlled Random Periodic Processes

Supervisors: Professor Huaizhong Zhao (; phone+44-1509-222876), Dr Chunrong Feng (; phone+44-1509-223969)

Nature of work: Theory and simulations.

Area: Stochastic analysis, mathematics.

Potential implications: Successful completion of a PhD in this area will give a solid basis for a career in academia or industry.

Brief description: 

The overall aim of the research is to create a model of random periodic behaviour, to build a theory of periodic stochastic dynamics and to design a model of dynamics under non-additive expectations. This particular project is part of the programme to establish a theory of controlled random periodic process and applications. It lies at the intersection of stochastic analysis, stochastic controls and finance. This candidate will pursue cutting edge research towards a PhD degree in stochastic analysis associated with the recent 5-year EPSRC Established Career Fellowship of Professor Huaizhong Zhao. This is an excellent opportunity to be working with a team of supervisors of internationally leading experts and an external collaborator of financial industry in the programme of the Fellowship.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Mathematics.

Please quote reference number: HZ-2/MA/2019. Closing date is 15th February 2019.

Random Periodicity in Dynamics with Uncertainty: Nonlinear Expectations

Supervisors: Professor Huaizhong Zhao (; phone+44-1509-222876), Dr Chunrong Feng (; phone+44-1509-223969) and Professor David Elworthy (

Nature of work: Theory.

Area: Stochastic analysis, mathematics.

Potential implications: Successful completion of a PhD in this area will give a solid basis for a career in academia or industry.

Brief description: The overall aim of the research is to create a model of random periodic behaviour, to build a theory of periodic stochastic dynamics, and to design a model of dynamics under non-additive expectations. This particular project is part of a programme to establish a theory of dynamics and ergodicity under nonlinear expectations and capacities. It lies at the intersection of stochastic analysis, dynamical systems and nonlinear partial differential equations. This candidate will pursue cutting edge research towards a PhD degree in stochastic analysis asso-ciated with the recent 5-year EPSRC Established Career Fellowship of Professor Huaizhong Zhao, where Professor David Elworthy is a partner in this programme. This is an excellent op-portunity to be working with a team of supervisors of world leading experts.

How to Apply:
All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Mathematics.

Please quote reference number: HZ-1/MA/2019. Closing date is 15th February 2019.

Calabi-Yau manifolds: families, fibrations, and degenerations

Supervisor: Dr Alan Thompson (; phone +44 (0)1509 223 185).

Nature of work: Theoretical study in pure mathematics.

Area: Mathematics - Algebraic Geometry.

Potential implications: This project is motivated by recent ideas in mirror symmetry, which lies on the interface of algebraic geometry, mathematical physics, and string theory; the project has the potential to contribute to significant new developments in this field.

Brief description: The aim of this project is to investigate the properties of a certain type of manifold, called a “Calabi-Yau manifold”. The special properties of Calabi-Yau manifolds mean that they appear in many areas of pure mathematics, from a central position in classification problems in algebraic geometry, to the use of 1-dimensional Calabi-Yau manifolds (a.k.a. elliptic curves) in number theory, and the special role played by 3-dimensional Calabi-Yau manifolds in mathematical physics and string theory.

The project itself will involve the construction and study of Calabi-Yau manifolds using two main techniques: “fibrations” and “degenerations”. Both methods involve studying the Calabi-Yau manifold by breaking it up into simpler pieces, but the ways in which they do this are very different. Fascinatingly there seems to be a deep link between the two approaches, through the mathematics of mirror symmetry, but this relationship is still very poorly understood. A large portion of the project will involve the investigation of this link.

Caption: A 2-dimensional Calabi-Yau manifold

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select ‘Mathematical Sciences’.  

Please quote reference number: AT/MA/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.

Hyperbolic equations with irregular coefficients: very weak solutions and applications.

Supervisor: Claudia Garetto ( phone  01509222870)

Cosupervisor: Marco Discacciati (; phone 01509222861)

Nature of work: In the first part of this project we develop a new theoretical approach to hyperbolic equations with irregular coefficients. In the second part we apply this ideas to specific examples of hyperbolic equations coming from physics (wave propagation in a multi-layered medium) and we test them via some numerical experiments.

Area: Analysis of PDEs/Numerical Analysis

Potential implications: Geophysics

Brief description:  Hyperbolic equations appear in basically all sciences. This project is devoted to hyperbolic equations with highly irregular coefficients (distributions). They naturally appear in physical phenomena like the propagation of waves in a layered medium. For such equations often it is already an issue to define what a solution is. For this reason it has been recently introduced a notion of very weak solution (see [1]). The main idea behind this theoretical concept is an approximation by regularisation. Typical example is the Heaviside function which is regularised via a net of smooth functions as in the picture below:

Interesting results of very weak well-posedness have been obtained for the wave equation in [1] supported by some numerical experiments in [2]. It is purpose of this project to extend the results of [1] to a wider class of hyperbolic equations (m-order with irregular coefficients). This will be done first theoretically (well-posedness results) and then numerically on some specific examples.  

[1] Garetto C. and Ruzhansky M., Hyperbolic  second order equations with non-regular time dependent coefficients, Arch. Rat. Mech. Anal., 217(1), 113-154, (2015).

[2] Munoz J. C., Ruzhansky M. and Tokmagambetov N., Wave propagation with irregular dissipation and applications to acoustic problems and shallow waters, arXiv:1705.01401, (2017).

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select Mathematical Sciences.

Please quote reference number: CG/MA/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.

Modelling of biofilm inception

Supervisor: Marco G. Mazza (; phone+44-1509-223196.

Nature of work: This PhD project will entail both theory and numerical simulations.

Area: Mathematical modelling, soft condensed matter physics.

Potential implications: The results of this project might have applications in microbiology, medical sciences, and physics of living matter.

Brief description: 

The vast majority of microorganisms do not live in isolation, but rather in consortia called biofilms. Biofilm are cities of microorganisms, which are organized to optimize their growth and function. Physically, the structure of a biofilm can be described as an entangled polymer network which grows and changes under the effect of gradients of nutrients, cell differentiation, quorum sensing, bacterial motion, and interaction with the environment. Biofilms grow on the surface of teeth and on open wounds. Biofilms have also found useful employment in environmental biotechnology, such as wastewater treatment, or for immobilization of heavy metals in soil. Thus, an understanding of biofilms would have far-reaching repercussions from basic biophysics to medicine and modern technologies.

The primary goal of this project is to understand at the fundamental level the mechanisms that lead to the formation of biofilms.  The successful candidate will develop and use mathematical modelling to develop novel numerical algorithms and theories to predict and understand these mechanisms.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select ‘Mathematical Sciences’.

Please quote reference number: MM/MA/2019.  Closing date: 15th February 2019.

Mathematics Education projects

The philosophy of mathematical practices and cultures

Supervisor: Dr Fenner Stanley Tanswell (; phone+44-1509-228538).

Nature of work: Philosophical and empirical study of mathematical practices

Area: Philosophy of Mathematical Practices

Potential implications: The social dimensions of mathematics; mathematical education

Brief description:

In recent years, the philosophy of mathematics has seen a growing interest in the day-to-day practices of doing mathematics, giving rise to a new set of philosophical questions. For example, from this perspective mathematics can be seen as a collective and social discipline exploring interesting, deep and creative mathematical ideas. However, this gives rise to a tension with the objective and rigorous status of mathematics, for that seems incompatible with the fallibility of individuals and groups of people. In this project, the student will choose from questions within this area, such as how the social structuring of mathematics as a discipline affects the mathematics that we produce; what role is played by the judgments of what sort of maths is good, bad, interesting, deep, rigorous or worth pursuing; what the social role of proofs is in communicating, convincing and explaining mathematical concepts and techniques; how we should induct students into these practices; and how maths is used in society more widely. The project can draw on the recent advances in epistemology, such as social epistemology, epistemic injustice and virtue epistemology. Furthermore, the research may build on existing approaches to the empirical investigation of mathematical practices developed at the MEC in Loughborough, to design and carry out studies of direct relevance to the major philosophical questions.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select Mathematics.

Physics projects

Dynamical signatures of quantum spin liquids


Ioannis Rousochatzakis (; phone: +44-1509223303).

Nature of work: The project is theoretical. The methods will be mainly based on numerical approaches, but some analytical work will also be needed.

Area: The search of quantum spin liquids (QSLs) -- one of the most elusive topological phases of matter [1,2] -- goes back to their original proposal as parent states of high-temperature superconductors [3]. This search has now gained strong impetus from the recent discovery of a series of candidate transition metal compounds, like a-RuCl3, NaIr2O3 and ZnCu3(OH)6Cl2. The observation in these materials of emergent QSL phenomena, such as long-range entanglement, topological degeneracy and fractionalized excitations [1,2,4], holds promise for future quantum technologies and computing applications [5,6].

Potential implications: The control and manipulation of long-range entangled states of matter in condensed matter systems, such as the layered Iridates and Ruthenates holds promise for future quantum technologies and computing applications. The immediate impact of the project is to lay the ground for quantitative predictions and the proper identification of quantum spin liquids in dynamical response experiments such as Raman, Inelastic neutron scattering (INS) and electron spin resonance (ESR).  The PhD student will become familiar with the field of quantum magnetism and quantum spin liquids (QSLs) and will acquire strong expertise in large-scale exact diagonalization techniques, as well as in various analytical methods. This project would be ideal for students who wish to endeavour into one of the most vibrant fields of condensed matter research, work on problems that are strongly coupled to experiment, and collaborate with world leading experts in the field.

Brief description: The overarching goal of this project is to provide quantitative predictions for the experimental detection of QSLs. This is currently the most crucial challenge in the field because: i) topological phases do not have any local order, and ii) the available materials deviate from special, exactly solvable models for which analytical predictions can be made. The crucial aspect of this project is the use of high-performance computing software for the calculation of dynamical response functions of QSLs at zero and finite temperatures. This is the most promising way to detect QSLs, because the dynamical response bears signatures of fractionalization, one of the defining attributes of topological phases [7].


  1. X. G. Wen, Quantum Field Theory of Many-Body Systems. Oxford Univeristy Press (2010). 

  2. L. Balents, Nature 464, 7286 (2010). 

  3. P. W. Anderson, Mat. Res. Bull. 8, 153-160 (1973).
  4. I. Rousochatzakis, Y. Sizyuk, N. B. Perkins, Nat. Commun. 9, 1575 (2018).
  5. C. Nayak, S. H. Simon, A. Stern, M. Freedman, and S. Das Sarma, Rev. Mod. Phys. 80, 1083 (2008)
  6. M. H. Freedman, A. Kitaev, M. J. Larsen, and Z. Wang, Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 40, 31 (2003)
  7. I. Rousochatzakis, S. Kourtis, J. Knolle, R. Moessner, N. B. Perkins,

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at

Under programme name, select Physics.

Please quote reference number: IR/PH/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.


Self-Assembly of Colloidal Structures in Living Liquid Crystals

Supervisor: Tyler Shendruk (; phone +44 1509 22 3197).

Nature of work: Simulations.

Area: Biofluids

Potential implications: Understanding the multiscale material physics of living systems and using that new understanding to design future materials.

Brief description: We are seeking an applied mathematics student, who is interested in simulating intrinsically out of equilibrium materials. This project will investigate the dynamics of colloids embedded in active fluids, biological fluids that spontaneously flow due to internal energy. Examples of such active fluids include cytoplasmic mixtures of filaments, motor proteins that drive flows and biochemical fuel that powers the spontaneous flows. You will investigate whether pairs of colloids form self-assembled dimers that function as a self-propelled rotor. You will explore whether many small colloids form a whirling halo around a larger, counter-spinning colloid. Your role will be to develop mathematical models and algorithms to understand the self-assembly of such colloidal structures. We are particularly eager to see diverse applicants who demonstrate creativity, and an eagerness to model exciting and dynamic systems.


How to apply:

Applications should be made online at  Under programme name ‘Mathematical Sciences’.

Please quote reference number: TS/MA/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.



Interplay between thermal and magnetic (spin) currents: theory and experiments

Supervisor: Dr Kelly Morrison (;, +44 (0)1509 228201) and Dr Mark Greenaway ( and Dr Fasil Dejene ( )

Nature of work: This project will focus on the development of a theoretical model which will be used to design and understand a new class of energy harvesting devices based on the spin Seebeck effect.  The student may also have the opportunity to be involved with the experimental implementation of these devices.

Area: Magnetism, spintronics, thermoelectricity

Potential implications: This research will be used to develop new devices for energy harvesting, and sources of spin polarised currents for spintronic applications.

Brief description: The spin Seebeck effect is a newly discovered phenomenon that manifests as the generation of a spin current when a magnetic material is subjected to a temperature gradient. For this reason, it is often classed with a larger group of effects under the umbrella term “spin caloritronics”, i.e. the interplay of spin and thermal currents.  These effects have exciting potential for future electronic devices, in particular in the creation of efficient spin-based devices to harvest wasted energy from heat sources such as engines, boilers and computers. 

The objective of this PhD is to develop new theoretical models to investigate the interplay between thermal and spin transport in spin Seebeck devices.  The student will combine atomistic calculations of the material properties with Boltzmann transport calculations of coupled magnon-phonon transport to obtain a deep understanding of the fundamental physics of the spin Seebeck effect.  These models will be used to design new structures for the next generation of spin caloritronic devices.  The student will work closely with researchers carrying out experiments on these devices which will inform both the modelling and understanding of the experimental results.  The student may also have the opportunity to carry out new experiments on this type of device and explore their own experimental proposals.

Experience of developing code, in for example, C/C++ or Matlab, would be beneficial.  

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select Physics.


Please quote reference number: KM/PH/2019.  Closing date is 15th February 2019.

Funding and eligibility

Funded studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis across the projects to successful applicants who have applied for the above-mentioned projects.

The studentships are open to UK/EU graduates with backgrounds in relevant disciplines and who are articulate, well-qualified and highly motivated. The minimum entry qualification is a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.  These studentships can provide a £14,777 per annum (2018 rate) tax-free stipend plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.  International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.  Please see individual studentship funding criteria for full details and eligibility conditions.

Successful candidates will be expected to register for 1st October 2019.

Additional Information

Applications can be made online at:

For further details and enquiries about the application process, please contact the School of Science Research Degree Programme Administrators at

Please note, we advertise self-funded research opportunities throughout the year. You can browse our self-funded research degrees by department by visiting the postgraduate prospectus.