Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Oxford was allocated 24 fully funded NERC studentships for 2017 entry through the Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research. These studentships support research students across the full remit of NERC’s research portfolio. The DTP recruits students across all areas ranging from palaeobiology to volcanology; from deep Earth seismology to physical oceanography; and from sedimentary basins and mountain-building to biogeochemistry and climate change.

DTP studentships are open to home applicants, or EU applicants who have lived in the UK for three years or longer.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate research degree in Earth Sciences via the ‘Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research’ you will need to apply for course code 004005- the full details of which are available at www.environmental-research.ox.ac.uk.

We welcome applications and expressions of interest from any well qualified students with an ambition to work in a world-class research environment in the Geosciences.

Deadlines and Interviews

DTP applications for 2017 start are now open. The deadline for applications is 12 noon UK time (midday) on Friday 20 January 2017. Interviews take place in late February or early March. Further details can be found here.

Research Areas

Listed below are research areas where we expect to be able to supervise DTP projects. Please contact potential supervisors if you’d like further information.

Earth’s climate system

(Ros Rickaby, Stuart Robinson, Gideon Henderson, Will Homoky, Richard Katz, Nick Tosca)

  • Reconstructing Mesozoic and Cenozoic ‘greenhouse’ climates and environments.
  • Reconstructing past climates using new old molecules.
    Phytoplankton optimisation to evolving carbon: Implications for the past and future.
  • Chemical variability of the ocean’s bottom boundary layer.
  • Dust fluxes to the surface ocean.
  • Geochemical landscape of the prebiotic Earth.
  • Tracing ocean circulation with chemical tracers.
  • Melting and water drainage from ice-stream margins: theory and computation.

Plate tectonics, mountain building and natural resources

(Chris Ballentine, Joe Cartwright, Lars Hansen, Tony Watts, Mike Searle, Dave Waters)

  • Earthquakes, Active Tectonics, and Mountain-Building in Central Asia
  • Modelling fracture and cementation in sedimentary rocks
  • Using noble gases to probe the origins of crustal fluids: oil, water and gas.

Seismology, volcanism, magmatism and the deep Earth

(Tarje Nissen-Meyer, Karin Sigloch, Tamsin Mather, Richard Katz, David Pyle, Lars Hansen, Chris Ballentine)

  • Deep carbon in deep time
  • Seismological imaging of mantle structure beneath a hotspot volcano.
  • Volcanic CO2 emissions in the Main Ethiopian Rift.
  • Magma/mantle dynamics: production and extraction of melt from the convecting mantle
  • The fluid dynamics of melting and melt extraction.
  • Using Earth Observation techniques to understand volcanic processes.
  • Mantle volatile reservoirs.
  • Volcanic continental margins and continental break-up.
  • Understanding the volcanism of the Tasmantid seamount chain
  • Large explosive eruptions in the Main Ethiopian Rift
  • Global seismic waveform tomography with massive data volumes
  • Seismological investigations of the Earth’s core-mantle boundary region
  • Small-scale scattering and attenuation in the Earth’s mantle

Seismological studies on the Earth and Sun

(Tarje Nissen-Meyer, Karin Sigloch)

  • Uncertainty estimation in seismic tomography
  • Iterative optimisation for combined boundary and volumetric structures
  • Lattice-Boltzmann method for wave propagation
  • Imaging the Sun’s interior with acoustic waveforms
  • Shallow structures, hazard and seismic sources:
  • Assessing seismic source properties by waveform modelling

Palaeobiology and Evolution

(Roger Benson and Matt Friedman)

  • Origins and evolution of sea turtles using x-ray imaging of exceptional fossils.
  • Large scale patterns of vertebrate evolution using advanced statistics and the fossil record.
  • Using phylogenomics and fossils to dissect adaptive radiation in the pelagic realm’

Projects open to direct application as well as possibly via the NERC DTP are listed here.

Oil and Gas (NERC Centre for Doctoral Training)

The University is a core partner in the UK’s first Doctoral Training Centre in Oil and Gas (see http://www.nerc-cdt-oil-and-gas.ac.uk/ ). We have three studentships available for 2017 entry (one fully-funded), details of which can be found here. For these studentships, we can consider Home and EU applicants.  International applicants can only be considered if they are able to cover the fee differential.

How to apply

Please apply via the University of Oxford’s online applications system and select the CDT in Oil and Gas course code 004015.

Deadlines and Interviews

CDT applications for 2017 start are now open. The deadline for applications is 12 noon UK time (midday) on Friday 20 January 2017. Interviews take place in late February or early March.

Oil and Gas NERC CDT Projects:

Project EARTH-17-CDT-TNM1: Efficient local-scale modelling of wave propagation in complex axisymmetric media

Project EARTH-17-CDT-RR1: Calcite-Aragonite Seas and porosity prediction: A New Approach

Project EARTH-17-CDT-SR1: Determining the age of oils using flowering plant biomarkers