PhD Studentships and Postgraduate Study

(3) A PhD studentship (Reference Number: DTC12-22-34) on the project “Nanostructure and stability of perovskite solar cells” with a closing date 12 April 2024

General information

The Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy conducts cutting-edge research in many fields. We offer postgraduate degrees (MSc and PhD) by research in a variety of topics (see the current projects available below).

We typically have a few STFC PhD studentships in Astrophysics available each year, that cover tuition and provide stipends for successful candidates. In addition in some years we offer a “Moses Holden studentship” in astrophysics. The studentships are usually announced in January every year and the deadline for receiving applications is in February (see announcement on top of the page). Additionally, we welcome applications from self-funded candidates in Physics, Maths and Astrophysics all year around.

The Moses Holden Studentships were introduced in 2017 in memory of Moses Holden, one of the prominent citizens of Preston who founded the educational institute from which our present day University can trace its origins. These studentships are funded by the Moses Holden studentship fund, established through a donation from his great great great great grandson, Mr. Patrick Holden. Moses was a keen astronomer, who gave public lectures in astronomy in Preston, and across the North of England and the Midlands throughout the 19th Century.


Applications can be submitted via the UCLan Graduate Research School website at any time, and applicants will be considered for any studentships available. 


  • Please indicate in the application whether you are applying for one of our studentships or whether you are partially or fully funded;
  • In the application, you do not need to write a project outline in Sec 8, however if you are interested in a specific project or area of research please state which one.

Projects available

Projects will be allocated from among the following areas, depending on funding levels available and the preferences of those students ranked highest on the list of applicants. Ranking will be carried out by JHI staff based on application forms, references, and interviews of short-listed candidates.


The following projects are currently available:


The Mathematics group encourage prospective students who are interested in looking for a PhD project here at UClan to contact the following people for more information:

Astrophysics/Solar Physics

The following PhD and MSc projects are currently available:

  • Exploring strategies for radio interference removal(PhD Project; Dr Megan Argo)
  • Investigating the rotation of sunspots with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (PhD Project; Dr. Daniel Brown)
  • Solar Energetic Particles and Space Weather (PhD Project; Prof. Silvia Dalla)
  • (1) Exploring the Milky Way with upcoming large datasets from MOONS (2) Euclid, JWST and the demographics of barred galaxies (PhD Project)(Prof. Victor Debattista)
  • (1) Understanding the Gould Belt as a bending wave in simulations, (2) Predicting the MOONS and Gaia data from simulations, (3) What causes the bending waves in isolated galaxies? (MSc Projects; Prof. Victor Debattista)
  • Observational Star Formation (PhD Project; Dr Jason Kirk)
  • Cosmic rays in the Solar System (PhD Project; Dr Timo Laitinen)
  • (1) Archaeology of Galaxies, (2) Compact Stellar Systems (3) Anomalous Stellar Populations in GCs (PhD Project; Dr. Mark Norris)
  • Space Situational Awareness (MSc Project; Dr Mark Norris)
  • Investigating Wolf-Rayet Stars as supernova progenitors (PhD Project; Dr Joanne Pledger)
  • Radiative Transfer modelling in star-forming galaxies/High energy astrophysics (PhD Project; Prof. Cristina C. Popescu)
  • Stellar populations and chemical enrichment in galaxies (PhD Project; Dr. Anne Sansom)
  • The formation of gas giant exoplanets (MSc Project; Dr. Dimitris Stamatellos)
  • Determining the fine scale structure of the solar corona (PhD Project; Prof Robert Walsh)
  • These projects are suggested opportunities offered by JHI staff. If you would like more details or would like to discuss something else related to their field of study, then please contact us directly.

    Partially or fully-self-funded full-time or part-time students will also be considered. We are targeting enthusiastic and self-motivated students interested in joining one of the UK’s most rapidly growing astrophysical research groups. If you are interested in joining the Institute, please contact  Dr Mark Norris (


    Applications can be submitted via the UCLan Graduate Research School website.


    • please indicate in the application whether you are applying for one of our studentships or whether you are partially or fully funded;
    • in the application, you do not need to write a project outline in Sec 8, however if you are interested in a specific project or area of research please state which one.

    Important Information for postgraduate studies

    The government postgraduate loan scheme ( can be used to cover the cost of postgraduate research tuition fees at UK/EU rates (£4,600 2022/23 rates) and bench fees (£1,000). If required and successfully secured, this means that the remainder of the loan may be taken and used to support maintenance costs.  Applicants not eligible for the government loan may also apply but need to be able to self-fund all the associated project costs and their expenses. For international students this includes tuition fees above the UK/EU rate.

    Candidates would be expected to hold a good Physics degree that has included an experimental final year project. Candidates with an appropriate physics-related or relevant Medical Engineering degree will also be considered.


    The Jeremiah Horrocks Institute is located on UCLan‘s Preston campus, just five minutes north of the city centre. The Institute plays a leadership role in steering the University’s High-Performance Computational Science Facility, the centrepiece of which is a 512-node Sun HPC cluster. UCLan is a full partner in the UK’s National Cosmology Supercomputer Consortium – COSMOS – and a partner in the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest aperture telescope in the southern hemisphere. We are also involved in current and future space missions such as Herschel, Kepler, GALEX, SPICA and Solar Dynamics Observatory.

    In 2010’s Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, UCLan was rated as having the best student experience of all universities in North West England, and also best of all the UK’s modern universities.

    Preston has numerous theatres, cinemas, pubs, clubs, and shops, and was England’s first wireless city. It is also one of the most cost-effective places to live in the country. In a recent survey of graduate satisfaction by the Royal Bank of Scotland, graduates gave Preston a 69% rating – fourth in the country and better than Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester or London! Just beyond the city lies the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and to the west are the seaside resorts of Blackpool, Lytham St Annes and Southport. Further afield the Lake District and Peak District National Parks are within an hour’s drive, as are the other regional centres of Liverpool and Manchester.

    Preston lies on the West Coast Main Line, and is only two hours from London by train.

    Further information

    For further information on the Institute see

    For Preston information, see

    Enquiries to Dr Mark Norris, Research Degrees Tutor (, 01772 893548).