QUADRAT DTP: Mineral prospectivity of the Caledonide intrusions of the UK and Ireland.

   School of Geosciences

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  Dr Joseph Armstrong, Dr U Ofterdinger  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This fully funded, 42-month PhD project is part of the QUADRAT Doctoral Training Partnership.

The Caledonide intrusions of Britain and Ireland remain largely underexplored, with significant potential for mineral enrichments in the shallow subsurface (Deady et al, 2023). The Quaternary glacial deposits covering many of these intrusions and the instability of mineral phases at surface make identifying and constraining mineralised regions difficult. Ongoing and historic exploration drilling for critical metals including nickel and copper in the Ordovician ‘Newer’ Basic Intrusions in northeast Scotland highlight the recognised potential for economic mineral deposits in the Caledonides. Regionally, the area is considered potentially prospective for critical minerals, including nickel, copper platinum group elements (PGEs) and lithium (Deady et al, 2023), though this requires further geochemical and geophysical investigations.

This project aims to combine inorganic geochemical analyses (ICP-MS, XRF, XRD), advanced petrography (SEM, LA-ICP-MS, Raman) and near-surface geophysical techniques, including electromagnetic induction and ground penetrating radar to identify and constrain critical mineral enrichments in the Caledonide instructions of the UK and Ireland. There is particular industry and governmental interest in the investigation of minerals needed for the production of low-carbon technologies (‘critical minerals’) (BEIS, 2022). These include nickel, copper and PGE enrichments in the ultrabasic intrusions in NE Scotland as well as lithium, tin and rare earth elements in granitic intrusions in the Scottish Grampians and the Newry and Leinster granites in Ireland. These investigations may include sampling and analyses of surface bedrock, drill core, glacial sediments and water samples to identify potentially mineralised regions. Performing localised near-surface geophysical surveys on sites of interest as well as utilising regional geophysical datasets will allow modelling and constraint of mineral deposit extent in the subsurface. These case study driven investigations will inform wider mineralisation models and result in better understanding of the crustal conditions which promote mineral enrichment in deep crustal settings (Armstrong et al, 2022)

Considering the breadth of the area concerned and the CASE partners involved, this project will focus primarily on the Caledonide intrusions in NE Scotland, specifically those in West Aberdeenshire. These will include the Arthrath, Insch, Huntly and Knock ultrabasic intrusions and occurrences of pegmatitic granite intrusions in the Cairngorms.

Candidate Background:


BSc in an Earth Science related subject

Demonstrated fieldwork experience

Good verbal and written communication skills

Ability to work independently and as part of a wider team

Experience with using excel


Extensive independent fieldwork experience

Experience with large datasets

Experience with computer coding languages eg. Python

Candidates should have, or expect to achieve, a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered providing they have a Distinction at Masters level.

We encourage applications from all backgrounds and communities, and are committed to having a diverse, inclusive team.

Informal enquiries are encouraged, please contact Dr Joseph Armstrong ([Email Address Removed]) for further information.



  • Please visit this page for full application information: How To Apply – QUADRAT
  • Please send your completed application form, along with academic transcripts to [Email Address Removed]
  • Please ensure that two written references from your referees are submitted. It is your responsibility to ensure these are provided, as we will not request references on your behalf.
  • Unfortunately, due to workload constraints, we cannot consider incomplete applications.
  • CV's submitted directly through a FindAPhD enquiry WILL NOT be considered.
  • If you require any additional assistance in submitting your application or have any queries about the application process, please don't hesitate to contact us at [Email Address Removed]
Chemistry (6) Geography (17) Geology (18)

Funding Notes

This opportunity is open to UK and International students (The proportion of international students appointed through the QUADRAT DTP is capped at 30% by UKRI NERC).
Funding covers:
• A monthly stipend for accommodation and living costs, based on UKRI rates (£18,622 for the 23/24 academic year. Stipend rates for the 24/25 academic year have not been set yet)
• Tuition Fees
• Research and training costs
QUADRAT DTP does not provide funding to cover visa and associated healthcare surcharges for international students.


• Deady et al, 2023. Potential for Critical Raw Material Prospectivity in the UK. BGS Decarbonisation and Resources Management Programme Commissioned Report CR/23/024.
• Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), 2022. Resilience for the Future: The United Kingdom’s Critical Minerals Strategy, HM Government.BGS 2023.
• Armstrong et al, 2022. Carbon in Mineralised Plutons. Geosciences. 12(5), 202.

Where will I study?

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