CASE studentships available: New NERC-funded PhD (DPhil) projects for 2017 entry

CASE studentships available: New NERC-funded PhD (DPhil) projects for 2017 entry

NERC has awarded 3 additional studentships to commence this autumn, in September 2017. These will link to specific projects which have CASE support from an Industrial partner towards stipend or RTSG. A number of supervisors from the Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) have submitted project ideas for which they would like to recruit a student, with two projects potentially based in the Department of Earth Sciences.

The timescale for recruiting students is extremely tight.  If you are interested in applying for any of these projects, please contact the supervisor concerned by email including a CV as soon as possible but by 3rd of June at the latest.  There is no need to complete an online application form at this stage but you may be asked to do so later in the process.  You should have a minimum of a 2:i at Bachelors level.  The shortlisted candidates will hear back by 9th June and will be invited for interviews on Friday 16th June.  The three top candidates will be offered the projects to which they have applied.

Earth Sciences Projects

Identifying new commercial reserves of helium

Supervised by Chris Ballentine, Earth Sciences (

Security of helium supply is central to high tech industry, medicine and research in the UK but is set to become a major issue, as the dominant supply shifts away from US sources which are now close to depletion. This project will investigate the fundamental geological controls on helium release, transport and trapping. The project will focus on noble gas isotopic measurements from seeps, soil gases, shallow groundwater and exploration drilling fluids in Tanzania. These data will be combined with gas composition, and stable isotope data to identify the sources and processes controlling high helium ‘shows’. The location and processing of the gas migration from depth to the surface will be put into 3 dimensional context using available seismic cross sections of the study area. The goal of the study will be to develop a conceptual model of helium release that will play a role in helping predict helium occurrence and quality.

Crustal structure beneath central and northern England, and its evolution during mantle driven Cenozoic uplift

Supervised by Joe Cartwright, Earth Sciences (

The aim of this project is to investigate the relationships between crustal structure and regional uplift and erosion using central/northern England as a case study. The student will interpret a large database of c. 3,000 line kilometres of 2D reflection profiles assembled over northern England in order to map the subsurface configuration of major structures. This new database has been newly made available for academic research for this project by UKOGL. The structural mapping will then be correlated against published maps of uplift and erosion magnitude, to evaluate short and long wavelength variations in the Cenozoic uplift in particular. This will be used to test current models of plume-driven uplift in regions adjacent to loci of major mantle upwelling.

For a full list of project areas, including Zoology, Plant Sciences, Physics and Geography, see the DTP website.

Side image: The western hemisphere of the Blue Marble, created in 2002. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory

Banner image on home page: July, Blue Marble Next Generation w/ Topography and Bathymetry. Credit: Reto Stöckli, NASA Earth Observatory