Research degrees

CENTA PhD Studentships

Qualification: PhD

Departments: Archaeology and Ancient History School of Chemistry Geography Geology Genetics

Application deadline: 7 January 2022

Start date: 26 September 2022

Overview

The Central England NERC Training Alliance is a partnership involving the Universities of Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Warwick, Cranfield, and the Open University, together with the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. CENTA has been awarded £4.9 million from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) which, with additional support from the partners, will fund around 120 PhD studentships over five years, training the next generation of Environmental and Earth Scientists.

The University of Leicester has expertise in a number of areas where the CENTA Partnership has particular research strength. These are:

  • Climate and Environmental Sustainability: key areas of strength include pollutants in the atmosphere and aquatic environments, and satellite-based observations of the climate system.
  • Organisms and Ecosystems: key areas of strength include modern and ancient ecosystems, responses to environmental change, vertebrates (living and fossil), exceptional preservation of fossils and their evolutionary implications, microfossils and how they link to climate change studies, and hydrocarbon exploration.
  • Dynamic Earth: key areas of strength include magma dynamics, tectonic and Earth surface processes, rates and timescales of geological processes, palaeoenvironments and palaeoclimates, all underpinned by cross-cutting excellence in chemical analysis of rocks, fossils and geological processes.

As a CENTA student, you will belong to a consortium well-resourced to provide you with extensive training to give you confidence in all aspects of your research. The partnership draws together relevant expertise from a complementary set of research organisations to train scientists capable of making outstanding contributions to their discipline, and able to apply their knowledge to the challenges facing the UK economy, the quality of life of its citizens, and the state of the global environment.

Projects

See tab below for projects now available for September 2022 entry.

How to apply

Please refer to the How to Apply section towards the bottom of this page and follow the guidelines ensuring you download the CENTA studentship application form, complete it and upload it with your online PhD application.

 

Doctoral training partnerships

Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional schemes designed to support the training of the next generation of world-class researchers. The University of Leicester is a lead partner in four DTPs/CDTs through which we can offer funded PhD studentships in a wide range of research areas. 

Studentships are available to highly motivated and qualified applicants and provide a generous support package usually including a full fee waiver, annual stipend, and research training support grant. Studentships are in most cases offered early in the year for October start. Enquiries outside of the main application periods are welcomed.

CENTA Projects for 2022

Climate and Environmental Sustainability

Chemistry

Ref: CENTA2-CHEM3-MON1 Professor Paul Monks  Creating just, healthy cities: challenging inequalities in health deprivation from air pollution in minority communities

Ref: CENTA2-CHEM4-MON2 Professor Paul Monks  Development of a new technique to measure the total non-methane carbon in the atmosphere

Ref: CENTA2-CHEM2-BALL Dr Stephen Ball  Atmospheric iodine emitted from the ocean

Ref: CENTA2-CHEM1-ABBO Professor Andy Abbott  In-situ mining without drilling – a paradigm shift in metal extraction

Geography

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE16-WHEL  Professor Mick Whelan Rethinking the hydrology of drained agricultural catchments based on insights from natural abundance stable isotopes of water

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE15-POWE   Dr Mark Powell  Modelling the conveyance of plastic pollution in rivers: Is storage within fluvial systems the key to the missing ocean plastic conundrum?

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE14-KADU Dr Joerg Kaduk  Fen Farming Futures: Benefits and drawbacks of sustainable farming on organic soils

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE18-BALZ  Professor Heiko Balzter  Observations of forest carbon / ecosystem services trade-offs in the UK

Geology

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE10-ZINK   Professor Jens Zinke The Anthropocene geochemical footprint in the Great Barrier Reef

Archaeology and Ancient History

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE3-GUIR   Dr Eric Guiry Developing deep-time perspectives on fish behaviour to improve conservation: historical ecology of sheepshead in the Gulf of Mexico

Physics

Ref: CENTA2-PHYS3-PARK  Dr Robert Parker Attributing causes of extreme fire events with the JULES Land Surface Model and Artificial Intelligence

Ref: CENTA2-PHYS1-GHEN  Dr Darren Ghent High Resolution Thermal Imaging Data for Earth Observation Research and Services

Dynamic Earth

Geology

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE17-SMIT  Dr Dan Smith  Novel approaches in petrography: Big data and automated intelligence

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE5-HOLW  Dr David Holwell  Controls on chalcophile metal concentration in alkaline ultramafic-syenite-carbonatite complexes: implications for Cu-Ni-PGE-Au-Te mineralisation in unconventional settings

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE6-MILE  Dr Andrew Miles  Pinatubo apatite: a proxy for pre-eruptive volcanic gas emissions?

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE2-BRAN  Professor Mike Branney What happens during an explosive super-eruption?

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE1-BARR  Dr Tiffany Barry  Constraining changes in melt conditions during arc development and demise along the Antarctic Peninsula Arc

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE4-HARV  Dr Tom Harvey  A hidden record of early animal evolution? Exploring the Cambrian diversity of acritarchs and small carbonaceous fossils.

Geography 

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE12-CARR  Dr Andrew Carr  Integrating luminescence dating and geophysical methods to unravel coastal landscape dynamics in South Africa

Physics

Ref: CENTA2-PHYS3-PARK  Dr Robert Parker  Attributing causes of extreme fire events with the JULES Land Surface Model and Artificial Intelligence

Organisms and Ecosystems

Geography

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE13-ESPI  Fernando Espirito-Santo  Analysing forest aboveground carbon dynamics in the Amazonia forests using dense time-series of satellite data and artificial intelligence

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE14-KADU  Dr Joerg Kaduk  Fen Farming Futures: Benefits and drawbacks of sustainable farming on organic soils

 Geology

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE7-PUR1  Professor Mark Purnell  Dining after the dinosaurs? Dietary diversity and niche partitioning in Palaeocene mammals

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE8-PUR2  Professor Mark Purnell  Functional ecology of conodonts: roles and responses to ecosystem restructuring through the Palaeozoic

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE4-HARV  Dr Tom Harvey  A hidden record of early animal evolution? Exploring the Cambrian diversity of acritarchs and small carbonaceous fossils.

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE10-ZINK  Dr Jens Zinke  The Anthropocene geochemical footprint in the Great Barrier Reef

Archaeology and Ancient History  

Ref: CENTA2-SGGE3-GUIR  Dr Eric Guiry Developing deep-time perspectives on fish behaviour to improve conservation: historical ecology of sheepshead in the Gulf of Mexico

Genetics 

Ref: CENTA2-GENE3-MALL  Dr Eamonn Mallon  Imprinting and ploidy in a social insect

Ref: CENTA2-GENE2-HAMM  Dr Rob Hammond  Conservation genomics of bumble bees

Ref: CENTA2-GENE1-FEUD  Dr Roberto Feuda  Molecules, neurons and morphology: the evolution of the nervous system in metazoan

Funding

Funding

CENTA studentships are for 3.5 years and are funded by NERC and provide:

  • Tuition Fees at UK (Home) rates*
  • Annual stipend, ( currently set at £15,609 for 2021/2)
  • Research training support grant (RTSG)

* If you do not meet the criteria for UK Fees you will need to fund the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of your studies.

* A limited number of top up studentships to fund the difference between UK and International fees may become available but are not guaranteed.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must have or expect to obtain a first class or upper second class BSc and/or M-level degree (or an equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant subject.
  • Applicants who hold a lower second class honours degree (or an equivalent overseas qualification) in a relevant subject may be considered for admission provided that they also hold a Masters degree in a relevant subject.
  • University of Leicester English language requirements apply as necessary.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Please forward your project and application enquiries to CENTA at Leicester centa@le.ac.uk

Application enquiries to pgradmissions@le.ac.uk

For general enquiries regarding the CENTA DTP please see the CENTA website.

How to apply

How to apply

1. Download and complete the CENTA Studentship Application Form

2. Complete and submit your University PhD application using the Apply button at the bottom of the page for the subject area your project is based in and select September 2022 entry.

Guidelines for your PhD application:

  • Upload your completed CENTA Studentship Application Form to the ‘Research Proposal’ section and include your CENTA project code in the project title tab in research proposal section. The project code can be found on the project listing on the tab below.
  • Upload your supporting documents (CV, degree transcripts and certificates, reference letters if already obtained).
  • Enter the names and contact details of referees in the space provided or upload reference letters. Please be sure to let your referees know to expect a reference request from us. 
  • Personal statement - Prepare a personal statement, no longer than 500 words, outlining your interest in and suitability for the research project. Explain why you would like to work in this area, describe any relevant research experience (including any research projects that you have undertaken -as part of your degree, for example), and list any academic work you have published or which is currently in press awaiting publication.
  • Under the 'Funding Section' of the online application form select 'STUDENTSHIP' and in the drop down menu select 'NERC CENTA'.

If you are applying for projects in different Schools, please complete separate online PhD applications for each project using the appropriate Apply button at the bottom of the page and follow the above guidelines.

If you apply for more than one project in the same School, please submit one online PhD application with the first CENTA studentship application form uploaded and email the second CENTA studentship application form and a relevant personal statement to centa@le.ac.uk quoting your Leicester ID number.

Eligibility

Eligibility

Our project-based studentships are open to all applicants who meet the academic requirements (at least a 2:1 at UK BSc level or at least a pass at UK MSc level or equivalent).

To be eligible for a full Home/UK award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship.

**If you do not meet the criteria for UK Fees you will need to fund the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of your studies. A limited number of top up studentships to fund the fee difference may become available but are not guaranteed.

(For further information please see Annex B in the document).

University of Leicester English language requirements apply.

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