SEPnet PhD Scholarships: PhD Grand Challenges 2017

The SEPnet Universities aspire to solve some of the biggest problems in physics. These are the Grand Challenges of today. To advance towards solutions, we have established the Grand Challenge programme which may help fund your research towards a PhD. We’ve a number of challenges and SEPnet PhD Scholarships available, across all our research themes. The SEPnet members plan to award one SEPnet PhD Scholarship each through this year’s scheme. These studentships come with an enhanced research training support grant.

The PhD programme covers all the Physics that takes place across the entire network. By following the instructions below, you will optimise the opportunity to enter your preferred field of research with your single application considered by nine universities: Hertfordshire, Kent, the OU, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex

We plan to develop and deliver, flexibly, a collaborative regional programme of postgraduate technical, professional, employability and leadership skills training focused on creating physicists with advanced degrees better able to contribute to successful UK economic growth. We intend to make this programme available for the 2017 intake of PhD students across the SEPnet partners with those awarded SEPnet PhD places being given priority in places on the programme.

If you are not comfortable with entering for a PhD immediately, you may wish to study the taught Euromasters in Physics to gain a very thorough grounding in research methods while improving your knowledge.

The SEPnet Graduate Network (GRADnet)

GRADnet is the portal to collaborative physics post graduate training across the South East Physics network (SEPnet). Within GRADnet you will find:

  • technical support to help you complete your PhD;
  • broad-based skills training to enhance your future career opportunities;
  • events to expand your horizons and to see how to make the most of your PhD;
  • ways to engage with potential employers through events and placements;
  • opportunities to reach out to the wider community and enhance your C.V.
  • to help students coming through behind you;
  • schemes to augment your funding.

GRADnet runs Graduate Schools for Physics PhD students at employers in the region. This video, produced by our students, gives a flavour of what to expect:

PhD Opportunities in GRADnet

Our partners offer over 100 PhD projects every year. These projects and SEPnet Scholarships are available in the following areas of research:

  • Astrophysics: Cosmology and Evolution of the Universe; Dark Matter and Dark Energy; Galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei; Stellar Formation and Evolution; Planetary Science (Exo and Solar System); Nucleosynthesis; Radio Astronomy.
  • Particle Physics: LHC Experiments – Higgs & Supersymmetry; Accelerator Physics; Phenomenology; Lattice QCD.
  • Quantum Technology and Condensed Matter: Metrology; Materials; Superconductivity; Photonics; Cold atoms and ions; Ion-trapping; Nano-technology and Materials; Solid State Physics.
  • Medical and Bio- Physics: Medical Imaging; Radiation Detection and Instrumentation.
  • Theoretical Physics: String theory; Quantum Field Theory; Quantum Gravity; Materials.
  • Atmospheric and Climate physics: Atmospheric dynamics; Air quality; Light scattering and radiative processes; Particle instruments & diagnostics; Microphysical processes

How to apply

Find out more about the universities, potential supervisors and research challenges themselves. Please click on the links within the table below.

Applicants are invited to submit their current C.V. and a short statement of their research interests (maximum 200 words) to Cristobel Soares-Smith, SEPnet Graduate Network Administrator, by Wednesday 15th February 2017. Selected candidates will be invited to attend an Open Day on February 22nd 2017 in order to meet potential supervisors and learn more about GRADnet.

Closing Date: February 15th 2017

Note that you may also apply directly to a single University through their standard procedures. Applications accepted by single Universities after the above deadline may not be considered for a GRADnet scholarship award. The SEPnet route should be considered as a distinct path. We will endeavour to make your application
available to be considered for all relevant specific awards outside this SEPnet Call but cannot guarantee that we are informed of all advertised posts from individual supervisors.

Applications received will be scrutinised by GRADnet academic staff who will make initial recommendations. We expect awards to be made before the end of April.

The currently proposed PhD projects are listed for each partner under the “Projects” column below.

University Research Areas PhD programme Projects Masters options
Univ. Hertfordshire Herts research Herts PhD Projects Masters
University of Kent Kent research Kent PhD Projects Masters
The OU OU research OU PhD Projects Masters
Univ. Portsmouth Portsmouth research Portsmouth PhD Projects
Queen Mary QMUL research QMUL PhD Projects Masters
Royal Holloway RHUL research RHUL PhD Projects Masters
Univ. Southampton Southampton research Southampton PhD Projects
Univ. Surrey Surrey research Surrey PhD Projects Masters
Univ. Sussex Sussex research Sussex PhD Projects Masters

Enquiries: Cristobel Soares-Smith,