The Predictability of Climate, PhD Mathematics (Funded) Ref: 3412

About the award


Professor Geoffrey Vallis University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus Campus in Exeter.

This project will explore the factors determining the limits to predictability of climate on seasonal to decadal time scales. It is known that weather cannot be predicted in any detail beyond about two weeks. However, we do not know what the corresponding limits are for climate. Is it possible to predict the average weather for next winter, or whether the next decade is likely to be warmer or cooler then normal (without any consideration of global warming)?   These questions are of both fundamental scientific interest and of great practical interest to society, for they involve looking at basic issues in turbulence and in climate dynamics, as well as how the interaction of the atmosphere and ocean affects the weather.

The project will involve a combination of numerical modelling and theory, using a new, state-of-the art flexible model of the climate system. The student will help choose the precise direction of the project, in consultation with the supervisor, and will have every opportunity to learn how to conduct independent research.  The successful student will have a strong background in a physical science or mathematics and will join a large and thriving activity in climate dynamics in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Exeter. The student will also have the opportunity to travel to international meetings to present the results of their work and interact with scientists elsewhere. At the end of the PhD the student will be well-trained in climate modelling as well as modern theoretical and numerical techniques.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2019 or earlier. This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus at least £14,777 per year tax-free stipend.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.
If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.
• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Two references from referees familiar with your academic work. If your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to quoting the studentship reference number.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 11th February 2019.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus the week commencing 25th February 2019.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730 or +44 (0)1392 725150.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor Geoffrey Vallis at


Application deadline:11th February 2019
Value:£14,777 per year for 3.5 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions Office +44 (0)1392 722730 / 5150