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  Mathematical modelling of nonlinear transport phenomena affecting the fate of marine litter

   School of Science

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  Dr E Renzi  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project will give you the opportunity to work with world-leading experts in applied mathematics to fluid mechanics. You will take part in a project that will have real world impact thanks to its potential to create safer habitats for humans and wildlife.

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

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Loughborough University's School of Science boasts outstanding facilities, a vibrant research culture with an international reputation, and a diverse community of staff and students from around the world - the ideal place to progress your research career.


The distribution of plastics in the world’s oceans is determined mainly by ocean circulation, which is governed by currents and waves. Such phenomena occur on a range of scales, from a few centimetres, due to second-order Stokes drift by surface waves, to thousands of kilometres for the Ekman transport due to wind-driven ocean currents.

The way these phenomena combine to accumulate marine litter in the Great garbage patches is still largely unknown. This knowledge gap needs to be addressed as soon as possible; otherwise, the growth of ocean garbage patches will likely worsen current impacts on the environment and society.

Supervised by a team of experts in the applied mathematics, the successful applicant will develop novel mathematical models of multiscale nonlinear hydrodynamics, including Stokes drift and Coriolis forces, and their effect on the transport of floating bodies of dimensions smaller than a wavelength. The successful candidate will also be guided to develop computational fluid dynamics models to address the effect of viscous boundary layers on the system dynamics.

This project is for students with strong mathematical and analytical skills and a genuine interest in improving our planet’s health. 

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Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in applied mathematics or a related subject. A relevant master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: mathematical modelling, theoretical fluid dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, programming and numerical methods.

Please see the programme website for international entry requirements by country.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.


All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Mathematical Sciences. Please quote reference number: ER/MA/2022

Engineering (12) Mathematics (25)

Funding Notes

Please note that studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and other advertised projects within the School. Funding decisions will not be confirmed until early 2022. The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,609 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. International (including EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee Only.

Where will I study?