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Dune worlds: novel geospatial approaches applied to Earth and Martian sand seas

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Baddock
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: CENTA20-LU1
Start date: 1 October 2020
Closing date: 10 January 2020
Interview date: Week beginning 3 February 2020

Primary supervisor: Dr Matthew Baddock
Secondary supervisor: Dr John Hillier / Dr Matt Balme (Open University)

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.
Find out more:
Project Detail:

Dunes form into dunefields and sand seas that produce vast assemblages of bedforms covering 104 to 105 km2 in extent. As such, aeolian dunes represent one of the major terrestrial environmental systems. Within dunefields, the patterns of size and shape, alignment, organisation and order displayed by bedforms all inform about the large-scale controls and environmental drivers that explain these dune systems, including wind regime and sand supply. Applying our knowledge to the dunes observed on Mars also provides an extremely valuable handle for understanding the environment and climate of extra-terrestrial settings too.

This PhD will achieve insight into dune system dynamics at the largest scale through the use of cutting-edge remote sensing and digital topographic datasets. The research offers the chance to develop high level expertise and experience in a wide range of satellite and climate data, as well as GIS techniques. A key novelty of the project involves taking a global focus, looking over multiple dunefields and dune types, achieved by the application of an automated, algorithm-based analysis of dune morphometrics. Outcomes of the research will bring about objective characterisation of the environmentally informative patterning of dunefields through a scope encompassing both Earth and Mars.

Find out more:
For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Dr Matthew Baddock ([Email Address Removed]).

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Biology, Earth Science or Environmental Science. A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

Contact details

Name: Dr Matthew Baddock
Email address: [Email Address Removed]
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 222798

How to apply

To apply:
1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format (available from
2. All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select “Geography and Environment”. During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.

Please quote CENTA20-LU1 when completing your online application.

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2020. The studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum (in 2019/20) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4,327 in 2019/20) and a research training support grant of £8,000. Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder, only students with a UK/EU fee status will initially be considered for this position. Further guidance about eligibility is available at UKRI Terms and Conditions.

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