University of Exeter funding: Modelling the Partially Ionised Sol

Modelling the Partially Ionised Solar Chromosphere, Mathematics – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3860

About the award


Dr Andrew Hillier, 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 STFC funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU 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 solar chromosphere is of great importance for understanding the energy flow and dissipation mechanisms in the solar atmosphere. We understand that magnetic forces are crucial in this layer, but the plasma is only partially ionised making the couple between the plasma and the magnetic field imperfect. In this project the student will explore and develop models of the coupling between the magnetic field and the fluid of the chromosphere to understand how observed dynamic phenomena are created and how the friction between charged species moving with the magnetic field plays a role in the heating of the chromosphere. The project will involve combining numerical modelling, theory, and observations to understand how fundamental magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) phenomena develop in a partially ionised system including regimes beyond those where a single fluid approximation holds.

The studentship will cover a stipend at the minimum Research Council rate, £15,009 in 2019/20, research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements outlined by the STFC.  Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award but no stipend.  Applicants who are classed as International for tuition fee purposes are not eligible for funding.  Further information about eligibility can be found here.

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 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)
• 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. Refrenceces should be received by the studentship closing date.
• 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 9 March2020.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus or by Skype in mid-March.

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:9th March 2020
Value:£15,009 per year for 3.5 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions Office +44 (0)1392 722730 / 5150