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Benchmark stars for the PLATO mission and large spectroscopic surveys

   Faculty of Natural Sciences

   Wednesday, February 15, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Stellar astrophysics relies on benchmark stars for testing and calibrating stellar models. There are very few good benchmark stars that are suitable for calibrating models of Sun-like stars observed by large spectroscopic surveys or ESAs next big planet-finding mission PLATO. This project will deliver a new sample of benchmark stars using new techniques developed at Keele to measure the effective temperature of stars in eclipsing binary systems. This project will be an opportunity to develop data analysis skills and knowledge that is applicable across a wide range of stellar and exoplanet research.

Studentship available from September 23 (flexible).

Candidate profile


Qualifications, Experience and Skills

●      Candidates must hold at least an upper-2nd class Bachelors degree or an appropriate Masters qualification in a physics related subject or its equivalent. 

●      First class Bachelor or 2:1 Masters degree in a relevant discipline

●      Evidence of ability to undertake research work in the area of astrophysics or related area

Attitude and Personality

●      Ability and willingness to undertake advanced research study at PhD level

●      Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational skills

●      Willingness to learn new theoretical and practical science skills and commitment to ongoing personal training

●      Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

●      Evidence of organizational and time management skills

●      Skills in planning research work

Contact the Project Coordinator, Dr Nick Wright () for information on our PhD programme, or the relevant supervisor for project information.

To be considered for the studentship please submit a formal application to

Please state FNS_PMaxted November 2022 on your application and the project title.

Funding Notes

100% home tuition fees for 3 years from academic year 2023/24.
Stipend support for 3 years at UKRI rates (22/23 rate £17668 per annum).
Jointly supported by STFC and the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Keele University.
UK nationals, EU and International students are eligible for full funding (tuition fees and stipend at UKRI rate).

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