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Linking Exoplanets to their Birth Environments

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 01, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Emerging facilities for exoplanet observations will allow an unprecedented insight into the chemical diversity of exoplanets, providing important clues to the formation process of planets. This is especially true for giant planets for which the formation process is strictly limited to the massive gas-rich phase of the protoplanetary disc. The chemical inheritance of disc material onto the giant planets, although affected by ’elemental pollution’ via accretion of solids, is arguably less complex than is the case of smaller planets with large solid content. As such, giant planets are the best starting point to begin unravelling the secrets of planet formation.
The successful candidate will study how the existing results of exoplanet studies link back to the early stages of formation of giant exoplanets. By focusing on the common ingredient of planetary systems, the star, she/he will investigate how properties of planet-forming environments differ depending on the stellar properties such as mass and binarity for example. Current research in the group of Dr O. Panic’ in Leeds has shown that massive discs around intermediate-mass stars are the most likely progenitors of planetary systems which host giant planets. The PhD project will capitalise on this result, and carry out observational studies of samples of young disc-bearing stars using the foremost observatories such as ALMA and ESO/VLT Paranal Observatories, as well as available data from WISE and 2MASS catalogues. The results of the project will inform science with emerging facilities, such as the ESA Ariel Space mission.

Funding Notes

This 3.5 years Science and Technology Facilities Council Scholarship will provide tuition fees (£4,500 for 2019/20), tax-free stipend at the UK research council rate (£15,009 for 2019/20). Note to EU Candidates:- to be eligible for the full award of fees and maintenance, you must have residency in the UK for 3 or more years. If you do not have 3 years residency in the UK, you may be eligible for a Fee Only award. Please note that International applicants are not eligible to apply for this funding.

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