University of Exeter funding: A Lagrangian view of the evolution

A Lagrangian view of the evolution of convective updrafts, Mathematics – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3846

About the award


Prof. John Thuburn, University of Exeter
Dr Bob Beare, University of Exeter

Mathematics, Streatham Campus, 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 2020 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 £15,009 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in Mathematics in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Project Description:
The accurate representation of cumulus convection in weather and climate prediction models is a long-standing challenge, in part because we do not fully understand the mechanisms that control the dynamics and mixing of convective updrafts. The resulting uncertainties adversely impact predictions on a wide range of scales, from local severe weather to global climate change. This project will use Lagrangian particle trajectories to analyse these mechanisms of dynamics and mixing in comprehensive high-resolution simulations. The results will be used to develop computer models of intermediate complexity, using stochastic parcel methods to predict PDFs of updraft properties at each height in order to understand sensitivities and parameter dependencies. This project is linked to ParaCon, a five-year collaboration between the Met Office and UK universities to improve convection schemes in the Met Office weather and climate models.
The project will be supervised by Prof. John Thuburn and Dr Bob Beare. They both have long-standing research collaborations with the Met Office as well as extensive experience of developing and improving weather and climate models.

The successful student will join the Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics group in the Department of Mathematics ( The department has a thriving and vibrant research culture, with several seminar series and over 100 PhD students. The university is one of four who are members of the Met Office Academic Partnership, and the successful student will have opportunities to interact with Met Office researchers.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU/International tuition fees, a tax-free stipend and support towards project costs.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a quantitative science. Some knowledge of fluid dynamics and experience of computational modelling are highly desirable. If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 in 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)
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
• 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 2 March, 2020.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus the week commencing 30 March, 2020.

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 (


Application deadline:2nd March 2020
Value:£15,009 per year for 3.5 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: STEMM PGR Admissions +44 (0)1392 722730 / 5150