University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
Life Science Zurich Graduate School Featured PhD Programmes

Monsters in the dark: gas, dust and star formation around supermassive black holes

Project Description

The supermassive black holes that lurk in the hearts of galaxies seem to play a key role in their evolution. Understanding the co-evolution of galaxies and black holes, and how this evolution varies in different types of galaxies, is vital to truly understand these enigmatic objects. This project involves using high-resolution observations to resolve the structure and kinematics of clouds of gas and dust orbiting supermassive black holes in nearby galaxies. The PhD student will join an international team of astronomers, lead from Cardiff, and will use data from the state of the art telescopes (the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array, the IRAM-30m, APEX, and the Hubble Space Telescope). She/he will have the opportunity to use these data to estimate supermassive black hole masses, study the structure of nuclear accretion disks/torii, and/or probe the breakdown of star-formation laws in the regions around black holes.

This project will be funded by the STFC.
Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with a start date of 1st October 2020.

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’ and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from the STFC.

Applicants will need to submit the following documents with their application:
- post high school certificates and transcripts to date
- academic CV
- personal statement
- two academic references. Your references can either be uploaded with your application, or emailed by the referee to or

Funding Notes

Tuition fee support: Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend: Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

You should have obtained, or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree in Physics , or a related subject, Alternatively, applicants with equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK will also be considered. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a Master’s degree.
Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS)


T. A. Davis et al. 2013, “A black-hole mass measurement from molecular gas kinematics in NGC4526”,
Nature, 2013, 494, 328-330 (

E. V. North et al. 2019, “WISDOM project - V. Resolving molecular gas in Keplerian rotation around the supermassive black hole in NGC 0383”, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 490, Issue 1, p.319-330 (

Related Subjects

How good is research at Cardiff University in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 19.50

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.