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  NUDATA01 Efficient exploration of big data sets from space missions to improve stellar evolution models

   Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

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  Dr Dominic Bowman  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Overview of the CDT

This project is being offered as part of the STFC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science, called NUdata, which is a collaboration between Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, STFC, and a portfolio of over 40 industrial partners, including SMEs, large/multinational companies, Government and not-for profit organisations, and international humanitarian organisations. Please visit for full information.


Recently the amount and precision in astronomical “big data” sets for studying stellar astrophysics has improved dramatically thanks to the TESS and Gaia space missions. These surveys have proven particularly fruitful for understanding time-dependent astrophysical phenomena in stars, including pulsations, rotation and binarity. The application of (un)supervised machine learning methods to variability detected in space-mission light curves have revealed a plethora of new physics. Moreover, they have proven demonstrably much more efficient at classifying variable stars and forward modelling of stellar pulsations using large grids of stellar evolution models. This PhD project will develop novel methods for exploiting big data sets from Gaia, TESS and the upcoming STFC-funded PLATO space mission for studying stellar variability, and identify methods to efficiently apply forward modelling of pulsations using machine learning to constrain the interior physics of stars. Experience in machine learning, big-data analysis methods or asteroseismology is an asset for this position.

Recruitment Event

You will join a strong and supportive research team. To help better understand the aims of the CDT and to meet the PhD supervisors, we are hosting a day-long event on campus on Monday 15th January 2024. At that event, there will be an opportunity to discuss your research ideas, meet potential PhD supervisors, as well as hear from speakers from a variety of backgrounds (academia, industry, government, charity) discussing both STFC and data science as well as their personal paths and backgrounds. Travel and accommodation (if needed) will be covered, but funds are limited, so please register early.  Click for details

Please note:

Please list all Newcastle hosted projects you are interested in in your cover letter. You are strongly encouraged to list multiple projects, since some projects are more popular than others. You only need to submit one application even if you are interested in multiple projects (we recommend you submit your application to your first choice). 

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Physics (29)
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 About the Project