STFC 2020

Department: School of Physics and Astronomy

Application deadline: 20 January 2021

Start date: 27 September 2021


The School of Physics and Astronomy offer the following PhD projects funded by The Sciences and Technology Facilities Research Council (STFC) for September 2021 entry

Select your project from the list and then refer to the How to Apply section to submit your PhD and funding application.

APP/2021/HUT Signatures of Life: Development and use of novel spectroscopy techniques

Supervisors: Ian Hutchinson and Tom Stallard

AST/2021/ALE The building blocks of planets

Supervisors: Richard Alexander and Giovanni Rosotti

AST/2021/BUR Finding transiting exoplanets with NGTS

Supervisors: Matt Burleigh and Mike Goad

AST/2021/GOA Mapping the central regions of AGN

Supervisors: Mike Goad and Simon Vaughan

AST/2021/LAP Astronomy at extreme energies with the Cherenkov Telescope Array

Supervisors: Jon Lapington and Steve Leach

AST/2021/NAY1 Connecting exoplanet formation to the Solar system 

Supervisors: Sergei Nayakshin and Jon Nichols

AST/2021/NAY2 Sgr A*, our Galaxy’s supermassive black hole 

Supervisors: Sergei Nayakshin and Andrew Blain

AST/2021/NIC Modelling the upper atmospheres of brown dwarfs and exoplanets 

Supervisors: Jonathan Nichols and Tom Stallard

AST/2021/NIX Black holes, planets and dynamic accretion discs in astrophysics 

Supervisors: Chris Nixon and Richard Alexander

AST/2021/ROS Studying proto-planetary disc evolution with population synthesis 

Supervisors: Giovanni Rosotti and Richard Alexander

AST/2021/STA The physics of energetic transients across the spectrum 

Supervisors: Rhaana Starling and Nial Tanvir

AST/2021/TAN Multi-messenger astrophysics 

Superviors: Nial Tanvir and Rhaana Starling

AST/2021/WAT The AGN-galaxy connection: utilising the power of large sky surveys 

Supervisors: Mike Watson and Rhaana Starling

ATM/2021/FLE Exploring the Atmospheres of the Giant Planets with James Webb 

Supervisors: Leigh Fletcher and Jon Nichols

GEO/2021/MIL Electrodynamics of the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere-atmosphere coupled system 

Supervisors: Steve Milan and Suzie Imber

PLA/2021/WRI The transfer of solar wind energy into the upper atmosphere through magnetospheric waves

Supervisors: Darren Wright and Tim Yeoman


Research Council Studentships

Research Council funded Studentships schemes designed to support the training of the next generation of world-class researchers.

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 September start.



The projects listed are in competition for STFC funding. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. 

The STFC studentship which includes : 

A full UK fee waiver for 3.5 years

An annual tax free stipend of £15,285 (2020/2021)

Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)

Conference Fees & UK Fieldwork fund

*International applicants will be need to be able to pay the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of their studies.

For 2020 example

UK fee is £4,407 per year

International fee is £20,825 per year

Difference in fees to be paid by international applicants awarded STFC funding is £16,418 per year

2021 fees will be available in early 2021

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject.  
The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Project / Funding Enquiries: 
Application enquiries to 

How to apply

How to apply

To apply please use the online Apply Button at the bottom of the page.

With your application, please include:

Personal statement explaining your interest in the project, your experience and why we should consider you
Degree Certificates and Transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken
Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable
In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available.

In the funding section please specify that you wish to be considered for  STFC 2021

In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisors and project title/s you want to be considered for. You can be considered for up to two projects. (a proposal is not required)

In addition to the online PhD application please also complete the STFC Research Interests Form 2021 online at  



Available to UK/EU and International* applicants 

* refer to the funding section for funding information