skip to content

Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

Research in the departments of Earth Sciences and Geography, DAMTP and at BAS includes work on mineral physics, sedimentary and earth surface processes, geophysics, tectonics including earthquake hazards, mantle and core processes, volcanism and volcanic hazards.


Lithium, a critical element for the energy transition, is enriched in some evolved igneous rocks - why and how?
The sulfur isotopic composition of hydrogen sulphide and sulfur dioxide will be developed using laser spectrometers in conjunction with Aerodyne and then applied to environmentally relevant samples.
This project will develop new methods for modelling and inverting the Earth's free oscillations, and lead to improved constraints on mantle structure including lateral density variations which remain poorly known.
Sedimentary strata do not provide a complete or continuous record of geological time, with implications for any studies that seek to utilise signatures within them: this project will assess where time is lost on entry into the geological record with the use of modern active sedimentary environments which witness sediment accrual on timescales of seconds through to centuries.
The production of mud and deposition of mudrock is fundamental to how Earth works as a planet - this project will seek to understand the geochemical and petrological attributes of mud, as the chemical weathering factory evolved in deep time, allied to the evolution of land plants.
The role of life in the long-term shaping of the planetary surface needs to be understood to ascertain whether Earth is singular among known rocky planets, and to frame predictions of future changes to the biosphere: the sedimentary rock record is a valuable archive that reveals how Earth surface processes evolved in line with organisms, and the turbulent interval of the late Palaeozoic is an ideal case study to interrogate this question.
Using carbon isotopes to understand the principal natural carbon pathway from the interior of our planet - volcanoes.
This project seeks to quantify the amount and also constrain the source of volatiles emitted during the rapid eruption of enormous volumes of flood basalt lavas in Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs), which have climatic consequences and have been linked with mass extinction events.
The main goal of the project is to place improved constraints on the origin of the prodigious amounts of sulfur emitted by Galápagos volcanoes, which emit a considerable amount of the global volcanic SO2 atmospheric flux.
This proposed PhD research explores fundamental aspects as to how volatiles, including those essential for life (such as water and carbon dioxide), are cycled through the solid Earth in deep time.
Be a part of the next revolution in magnetic imaging as we develop the first 3D nanomagnetic microscopy method for Fe-bearing samples.
The whole of paleomagnetism is based on a lie – this project will reveal the truth about what REALLY carries paleomagnetic signals in rocks.
A major contribution to the Pleistocene tephrostratigraphic record for Ethiopia, which will enable tackling questions at the interface between explosive volcanism, palaeoclimate and human evolution.
New seismic data from the North Atlantic seafloor will be used to study the structure and dynamics of the region, the Iceland Plume, and the origin of the North Atlantic Igneous Province.
The enigmatic structure and composition of continental lithosphere will be mapped using new computational petrology tools and a combination of seismic, gravity and other data.
A new global dataset of seismic surface wave overtones will be used, together with ESA's new satellite gravity data, to map temperature and composition deep within the Earth.
The rapid recent growth in the amount of seismic data presents an opportunity for unprecedentedly detailed imaging of tectonic and volcanic processes globally, using seismic waveform tomography.
The goal of this project is to image the seismic structure beneath Borneo in order to constrain fundamental properties of its lithosphere, including crustal thickness, depth extent of the mantle lithosphere, and the presence of major anomalies associated with recent tectonic events.
The goal of this project is to combine advanced earthquake detection and location techniques together with methods designed to detect small-scale changes in seismic structure in order to track melt migration and storage beneath the Reykjanes Peninsual in Iceland.
The goal of this project is to use advanced seismic imaging methods to develop a multi-scale seismic model of the crust-mantle system beneath Iceland, which has important implications for understanding its structure and how it has evolved over time.
A project to develop novel mathematical models of rock rheology, to better understand the migration of melt through the Earth's mantle.
Earth’s uniquely oxygen-rich surface environment is a result of a uniquely oxidized mantle; this project will investigate the co-evolution of these two terrestrial reservoirs.
This project will provide novel constraints on volcanism’s most important environmental forcing: its carbon flux to the atmosphere.
Magma moves through hundreds of kilometres of nearly solid rock to eventually erupt at Earth’s surface; this project will investigate how this occurs.
Chemical weathering is thought to regulate climate on long time-scales; sediments provide a largely untapped record of this through time.
Improving our records of seawater chemistry through Earth history by building a mechanistic understanding of isotope fractionation into carbonate minerals
This project will develop new models for transient creep in the seismic cycle based on high-temperature deformation experiments and microstructural observations.
What could be of more fundamental importance than understanding how mantle dynamics affects the Earth's surface through space and time!
Landscape, palaeoclimate and volcanism are sculpted and controlled in profound ways by mantle dynamics. It is now time to explore how this newly developed understanding can be applied to Carboniferous times when enormous biological and climatological upheavals took place on Earth.
An imaginative and exciting project that combines the study of igneous rocks, Icelandic mantle plume dynamics and linked climate change, all with a strongly expeditionary flavour!
Rather amazingly, seismic reflection (i.e. acoustic) profiling can be used to image circulation of the oceans: a whole new subject has opened up with fabulous implications for how oceans evolve and affect climate!
An innovative and exciting project which will explore the relationship between long-term climate and mantle convection.
This project will use novel stable isotopes in ophiolite sections and Icelandic volcanic rocks to discover the role that melt transport and melt-rock reaction processes play in creating short-wavelength chemical heterogeneity in the Earth's upper mantle.
This project will use novel stable isotopes in primitive mantle melts and lunar samples to determine whether the Earth's mantle experienced the exsolution and segregation of a separate iron sulfide liquid melt: the 'Hadean Matte'
This project will use novel isotope systems to determine whether komatiites (unusual igneous rocks formed by the eruption of extremely hot magmas and largely restricted to the first billion years of Earth history) have origins in the Earth's lower mantle.