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Impacts and Astrobiology

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 19, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science - School of Physical Sciences

CAPS is one of 6 active research groups within the School Physical Sciences and contributes to the innovative and interdisciplinary research across a broad and diverse range of topics. Kent has a rich legacy in astrophysics and planetary science since the University opened in the 1960s. Since 2005 the CAPS has operated two portfolios; one of Astrophysics (with foci on star formation and the structure of our Galaxy) and one in planetary science (with foci on comets & asteroids observational, involvement in space missions, and impact studies). The group hosts a Light Gas Gun Facility, the Beacon Observatory and SEM and Raman analytical tools.
Our dynamic research community has numerous collaborative links with colleagues in other universities and research institutions, both in the UK and overseas.

For this year’s studentship we are inviting applications from candidates interested in undertaking research in the following area:
Impacts and Astrobiology — Impacts occurs across the entire Solar System, and have been occurring since the formation of the planets. Generally regarded as being destructive to life – as, for instance, the impact which wiped out the dinosaurs – there is an emerging new paradigm that hints the impacts may actually also be conducive to life. The purpose of this PhD is to explore this by undertaking a mainly experimental programme using Kent’s two-stage light gas gun. This project goes beyond the current state-of-the-art of laboratory impact studies, by using materials that simulate asteroids – fabricated in the laboratory – to reproduce more closely the properties of the primitive asteroids as measured by recently acquired astronomical data. These data, from space missions such as OSIRIS-REx (NASA) and Hayabusa2 (JAXA) require new ways of thinking about what asteroids are made of, and how these materials respond to impacts. Note, this PhD project is co-supervised by the University of Kent and the University Cote D’azur (Nice, France). The materials for the experimental part will be fabricated at the world-leading Exolith Lab (University of Central Florida, USA).

• The University of Kent invites applications for a full-time PhD studentship commencing in September.
• We are looking for an excellent student with a good Honours degree (First or 2i) and, preferably, a Master’s degree at Merit or Distinction in a relevant subject, or equivalent.
• Successful candidates will demonstrate academic excellence and outstanding research potential.
• The STFC studentship is open to UK and EU applicants who meet RCUK residency guidelines and have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to commencement are eligible to apply.

How to Apply: : To apply please go to [].
You will need to apply through the online application form on the main University website. Please note that you will be expected to provide personal details, education and employment history and supporting documentation (Curriculum Vitae, transcript of results, two academic references).

More details about the individual projects can be found here:

Funding Notes

Fee waiver at the Home/EU rate, plus a maintenance stipend of £15,009 per year (2019/20 rate)
The Centre of Astronomy and Planetary Science (CAPS) at the University of Kent is pleased to offer a fully funded STFC studentship starting in September 2020. This studentship will cover home tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant (which is £15,009 for 2019/20) and is open to Home/EU students who meet UKRI residency guidelines.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Kent in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 5.00

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

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