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Feeding and feedback: understanding how massive galaxies interact with their gaseous haloes

Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy

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Dr F van de Voort , Dr M Negrello No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Cardiff United Kingdom Astrophysics Data Analysis

About the Project

Galaxies grow by forming stars from the gas in their interstellar medium, which they obtain mostly by accreting it from their surrounding haloes. Feedback events like supernova explosions and active supermassive black holes create powerful galaxy-scale outflows that blow gas out of the galaxies and back into the haloes around them. In this way, galaxies are intimately connected to their gaseous haloes – also called the circumgalactic medium (CGM). We can study these interactions by using cosmological, magnetohydrodynamical simulations, which aim to capture all relevant physical processes that create the large-scale structure of the Universe and the galaxies within it. We have developed new methods to increase the resolution of CGM in such simulations by a thousand-fold. This opens up a wealth of new research avenues for this important but elusive part of the cosmos. This PhD project will focus on massive galaxies and their environments, with simulations that go far beyond the current state-of-the-art. The PhD student will take the lead in developing new analysis and visualization techniques as well as in running massively parallel simulations on supercomputers. They will have the opportunity to study the multiphase structure of the CGM, the flow of gas into and out of massive galaxies, their chemical enrichment, and the feedback from supermassive black holes and supernovae and their role in quenching star formation. The PhD student will consequently be able to reveal the crucial role the CGM plays in the formation of massive galaxies.

The UKRI CDT in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Advanced Computing (AIMLAC) aims at forming the next generation of AI innovators across a broad range of STEMM disciplines. The CDT provides advanced multi-disciplinary training in an inclusive, caring and open environment that nurture each individual student to achieve their full potential. Applications are encouraged from candidates from a diverse background that can positively contribute to the future of our society.


The typical academic requirement is a minimum of a 2:1 undergraduate degree in biological and health sciences; mathematics and computer science; physics and astronomy or a relevant discipline.  Candidates should be interested in AI and big data challenges, and in (at least) one of the three research themes. You should have an aptitude and ability in computational thinking and methods (as evidenced by a degree in physics and astronomy, medical science, computer science, or mathematics, for instance) including the ability to write software (or willingness to learn it). 

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS) (

To apply, please visit the CDT website and follow the instructions 

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with a start date of 1st October 2021.

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages ( including:

• an upload of your CV

• a personal statement/covering letter

• two references

• Current academic transcripts

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project. If you are applying for more than one project, please list the individual titles of the projects in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select ’I will be applying for a scholarship/grant’.

To complete your application please email a pdf(s) of your application to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) fully-funded scholarships cover the full cost of tuition fees, a UKRI standard stipend of £15,285 per annum and additional funding for training, research and conference expenses.
The scholarships are open to UK/home and international candidates.
For general enquiries, please contact Rhian Melita Morris: [Email Address Removed]


Cosmological simulations of the circumgalactic medium with 1 kpc resolution: enhanced H I column densities (
The effect of magnetic fields on properties of the circumgalactic medium (

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