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


  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network Early-Stage Researcher: IMPROVE

    The Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University, UK, is offering a fully funded PhD studentship as an Early-Stage Researcher position within the Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Network ‘IMPROVE: Innovative Multi-disciPlinary European Research training netwOrk on VolcanoEs.’ The successful researcher will be part of a multi-national, multi-disciplinary team and will spend periods of time at partner institutions. IMPROVE aims to enhance our understanding of volcanic system conditions and dynamics, with an emphasis on using geophysical methods (in the broadest sense) at two key volcanic systems, Krafla, Iceland and Etna, Italy. It bridges academia and industry and includes areas of volcano science from innovative monitoring and prospecting to advanced lab experiments, computing and AI. Overall, there will be 15 PhD researchers, hosted by 10 participating organisations across the programme. The cohort will participate in a series of training events hosted by the consortium members including two substantial geophysical field experiments (at Krafla and Etna).

    PhD Studentship: Deformation processes at Etna through analogue modelling. Supervisors:Dr Steve Lane, Prof Mike james, Dr Jennie Gilbert, Dr Hugh Tuffen (and at other institutions: C Bean (DIAS), G Puglisi and F Cannavo (INGV), C Benitez (URG)

    The PhD project will use laboratory analogue models to determine the role of subsurface processes in generating surface changes that are detectable by ground deformation and seismic methods at Mt Etna. The work will focus on frequencies within the transitional window between conventional ground deformation and seismic measurements, to derive new interpretations of the roles of drivers such as magmatic intrusion, gravitational instability and hydrothermal activity. The studentship will involve participation in the IMPROVE field experiments, training events and secondments to partner institutions for integrating laboratory outcomes with volcano deformation data (e.g. from GPS; see further details listed under ESR10 on the IMPROVE website).

    Applications and deadline

    Recruitment will follow U.K. law and the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.


    Qualifications. Applicants should have a strong master’s degree (or equivalent experience) in a relevant science or engineering area, for example, volcanology, geology, Earth sciences, environmental science, geography, chemistry, physics, natural sciences, environmental remote sensing. Laboratory, field and numerical skills, plus a desire to understand volcanic hazard processes alongside diverse collaborators, will be an advantage. Very good knowledge of spoken and written English is required.

    Studentship funding. This is a full studentship with tuition fees and salary in line with EU ITN norms for EU students for 3 years. The salary is approximately £36,825 per year; researchers with a family will be eligible for an additional family allowance.

    Mobility and early career requirements. The rules of Innovative Training Networks require applicants to be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. To foster international exchange of early stage researchers the applicants should not have resided in the United Kingdom for more than 12 months in the last 3 years. Interested applicants that do not meet this criterion should visit for details of other PhD researcher opportunities in the IMPROVE project with our European partners.

    Provisional interview date 7 December 2021

    Start Date: 1 March 2022

How the application process works

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Research Groups



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.

Research Facilities

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.

Field Sites

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.

Cutting-Edge Technologies

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.