In the middle of applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE In the middle of applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Aerodynamic force production and efficiency during flight

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Simon Walker, Prof R Bomphrey, Dr G N Askew  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Insects are the most agile and manoeuvrable of all flying animals and far surpass anything that humans can create at similar scales. Part of their aerial ability comes from having remarkably fine control over their wing movements where subtle changes to the wings’ rotations can dramatically alter the corresponding aerodynamic forces. However, there are consistent, unexplained contradictions between how insects actually move their wings and what might be predicted by mechanical and computation models.

The aim of this PhD is to understand how insects make use of complex wing movements to balance the trade-offs between aerodynamic force production and efficiency. The student will use a range of state-of-the-art methods including multi-camera, high-speed imaging; close-up imaging; a virtual reality chamber; CAD design; 3D printing; and aerodynamic measurements. This will allow us to create new models of insect flight and see how wing shape and movements vary across different species with differing behaviours and abilities (e.g. predators vs prey and hovering vs fast-forward flight).

The output from this research will inform how evolution has shaped the design of wings and the flight motor while also providing design principles for the development of bio-inspired micro air vehicles.


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs