PhD and job opportunities

We are a friendly reseach group with PhD students and postdocs working on both fundamental and applied projects.

Past students and postdocs have gone to work in academia, applied-science research jobs, and related jobs such as in data science.

PhD opportunities

Interested in studying for a PhD, working as a postdoc, applying for funding for a fellowship, or visiting the group? Please take a look at the research we do, or look at the research interests of the group's six academics.

We have opportunities for both experimental and computational research. If you see an area of interest then please email the academic whose area interests you, and see if there is funding available. Please tell them a little about yourself (your educational background and what research interests you), and they will be able to help.

If you have a general enquiry about studying or working in the group please get in contact with the group leader Dr Richard Sear.


Every year the University offers funding on a competitive basis, i.e. prospective PhD students can apply for this together with their potential PhD supervisors. There is an application process for UK/EU students for applying for a university funded PhD studentship, for an October 2019 start, and an international studentship for students from outside the UK/EU.

In brief, the process is to agree a project with a prospective supervisor, and in parallel to apply for one of these studentships. If you interested in this scheme you should contact an academic in the group whose research looks most interesting to you.

Vice-Chancellor's Studentship Award 2019 entry

Funding information:
This funded studentship (international students only) covers international fee and stipend of £15,000, a Research Training Support Grant of £1,000 and financial support for research materials and consumables (if successfully applied for) up to the value of £2,000 per annum.

Doctoral College Studentship Award 2019 entry

Funding information:
This competition funded studentship (UK and European students only) covers home/EU fees and stipend of £15,000, a research training support grant of £500 and financial support for research materials and consumables (if successfully applied for) up to the value of £1,000.

Apply for a PhD

For information on applying to do a PhD here, click on the course below. This has links to the application procedure, but it is best to contact an academic before applying, to see if there is funding and if they are willing to supervise you. 

We are an interdisciplinary group and so a number of our members have backgrounds in subjects other than physics, for example chemistry or mathematics. So although we require a good degree, for most projects it does not have to be in physics, it could be in a related physical science, engineering or mathematics area. If the degree was not taught in English, the University will require an English language qualification, such as IELTS. More information is on the entry requirements page of the course.

We are very happy to discuss applications for fellowships with strong candidates, these can be from the UK's research council, Royal Society, or the EU. One of our academics, Dr Izabela Jurewicz, used a fellowship as a stepping stone to an academic career here. Please get in contact either with the group leader, Dr Richard Sear, or another member of the group.

Nanocrystal with disorder - simulation snapshot

The group studies nanomaterials via both experiment and simulation. Shown is a snapshot of a crystalline nanoparticle. The yellow and orange atoms are atoms in locally face-centred cubic and hexagonal close packed environments, respectively. The stripes are defects in the crystalline ordering called stacking faults. Defects in crystalline ordering affect both nanoparticle growth and their effectiveness as a catalyst.