Apply for a funded PhD position
We offer a range of PhDs funded by different sources, such as research councils, industries or charities. As a PhD student, you will become a valued member of a research group. Here you will work with internationally respected academics, post-doctoral research associates and technicians. Find out more about our research groups below.
How to Apply
To apply for a funded PhD please read the advertised project information carefully as requirements will vary between funders. The project information will include details of funding eligibility, application deadline dates and links to application forms. Only applicants who have a relevant background and meet the funding criteria can be considered.
Current PhD Opportunities
Current PhD Opportunities List Accordion
Investigating the impact of floating solar photovoltaics on aquatic ecosystems in the United States
Dr Imke Grefe
Why this project is important
There is an urgent need to decarbonise energy generation to mitigate climate change impacts. As part of the drive to decarbonisation, floating solar photovoltaics (FPVs) show great potential as a sustainable energy source at a global scale. However, we know very little about the impact of these deployments on water quality, biodiversity, and the aquatic environment in general. Positive, as well as negative, effects of FPV deployment are possible, but we must investigate the nature and likelihood of these effects to avoid ecosystem damage and to optimise efficiency and overall environmental benefits of this new technology. You can help us fill this important knowledge gap!
Experimental FPV deployments in the United States are a substantial perturbation of the aquatic ecosystem. By covering the water body surface, FPV deployments reduce the amount of light available for photosynthesis by algae and aquatic plants, as well as wind-driven mixing of the water column. Importantly, biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen, an essential nutrient for all living beings, will be sensitive to these ecosystem perturbations. Changes to concentrations and forms of nitrogen can have cascading effects on water quality and overall ecosystem status. For example, FPV-driven changes in underwater light availability and nutrient biogeochemistry may shift plankton composition towards a dominance of potentially toxic or nuisance species. You will visit field sites in the US to collect and analyse samples from FPV deployments in lakes and reservoirs to reveal hitherto unknown effects on critical nitrogen cycling processes and ecosystem functioning.
What’s in it for the candidate
You will be trained in state-of-the-art biogeochemical and ecological methods and, by being embedded in an interdisciplinary research environment, learn about the interactions between emerging clean energy technology and aquatic ecosystem state. In addition to developing your analytical skills, you will build your research network in the UK and with our collaborators in the US. Funding has been made available to travel and collect data in the US.
Who should apply
We are looking for an enthusiastic and determined student who wishes to work with us on this topical and timely project with a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level. The project would suit a candidate with a background in environmental science, ecology, and geography or be able to demonstrate the required skills. They will be supported by supervisors with experience of working with industry and receive appropriate training.
This funding covers the tuition fees for UK students only. There is no stipend included in this funding.
Deadline for applications
7th July 2023
Provisional interview date
Interested applicants are strongly advised to get in touch to learn more about the PhD project. Please contact Dr Imke Grefe (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- Download the LEC Funded PhD Application Form and LEC Funded PhD Reference Form.
- Complete the Application Form, renaming the document with your 'Name and Application Form' e.g., Joe Bloggs Application Form.
- Submit the completed Application Form and a CV to email@example.com
- Please note only Word or pdf files are accepted.
- Rename the referee form with your ‘Name and Reference’, e.g., Joe Bloggs Reference. Send the renamed reference form to two referees and request them to forward the referee document to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please note only Word or pdf files are accepted. It is important that you ensure references are submitted by the closing date or as soon as possible.
- You will receive a generic acknowledgement in receipt of successfully sending the application documents.
- Please note that only applications submitted as per these instructions will be considered.
- Please note that, if English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. This evidence is only required if you are offered a funded PhD and is not required as part of this application process.
- Please note that, if you do not hear from us within four weeks of the closing date then you have been unsuccessful on this occasion. If you would like feedback on your application, please contact the supervisors of the project.
Submit all applications and references to this email address: email@example.com
How the application process works
- Select the project you wish to apply for. You can make informal enquiries to the project supervisors if you wish. Please ensure that you check the application deadline dates and eligibility criteria.
- Complete your application by following the links to the application form. At this stage, you are able to apply for more than one advertised project if you wish.
- After the closing date, the Department will consider all applications. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview. Interviews can be arranged by Skype or telephone. The timescale for this will vary but is in the region of 4 weeks.
- If you are successful at interview for the studentship, you will be invited to formally apply via the admissions portal online. This ensures that you receive a formal offer of admission. Please submit one application only, and state the studentship that you have applied for in the source of funding section.
- Once a formal offer has been made, you will need to check the conditions in your offer letter and supply any outstanding documents by the required deadlines. If your offer is unconditional then this will not apply to you.
You will find yourself taking advantage of several laboratory facilities at Lancaster Environment Centre. There are our £4.4 million Teaching Labs, for example, as well as specialist facilities for Environmental Chemistry, Noble Gas, and Plant and Soil Ecology.
There are no fewer than 15 purpose-built glasshouse modules, 16 controlled environment plant growth rooms, 4 solar domes based at the Hazelrigg Weather Station and a suite of ultraviolet radiation research facilities that can truly claim to be world-class.
You could find yourself working at a range of catchment science sites across England and Wales, including the local River Eden Valley, or they can travel much further afield to the tropical forests of the Amazon and Borneo.
You can be trained to use a range of equipment, such as our Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer Facility, X-ray CT Scanner, Magnetometer or the LI-COR Portable Photosynthesis System, which has the capacity to measure plant gas exchange with exceptional speed and precision.
Rich Data Resources
Dedicated support staff with expertise in GIS, statistics, modelling, information technology and programming are available to provide specialist training in all aspects of data acquisition, processing and analysis.