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PhD in Mathematics and Statistics: Flow of glacial ice sheets over deformable material (mathematical modelling, theory, and computation)

College of Science and Engineering

Dr Katarzyna Kowal , Prof Nigel Mottram Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Ice sheets are large bodies of ice, such those of Greenland and Antarctica, that slowly deform, or spread, under their own weight. Glacial ice appears to behave as a solid on small length and time scales; however, over large scales and under substantial pressure due to their own weight, ice sheets begin to flow as a viscous fluid, much like the viscous fluids we regularly see and eat, like honey and syrup. As such, understanding the flow of thin films of viscous fluids helps us to understand large-scale ice-sheet dynamics. These dynamics are also strongly affected by what is going on beneath ice sheets. The presence of meltwater and glacial till greatly accelerates the flow and results in rapid ice discharge towards the oceans. The project seeks to explore the dependence of the flow of viscous fluids, such as glacial ice sheets on the large scale, on what lubricates it from below and on the accumulation of the underlying material.


The project involves mathematical modelling and numerical computation, but depending on the candidate’s interests, there will also be the opportunity for designing and conducting small-scale fluid-dynamical laboratory experiments involving viscous fluids, such as syrup (after COVID).


Informal enquiries: /


How to Apply: Please refer to the following website for details on how to apply:

and select “Mathematics”

Funding Notes

Funding is available to cover tuition fees for UK/INTL applicants for 3.5 years, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate (estimated £15,560 for Session 2021/22).

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