Funded PhD in Physics and Astronomy: Investigating galaxy formation and evolution at sub-millimetre to millimetre wavelengths...

Postgraduate Opportunities at Cardiff University

Cardiff University

PhD in Physics and Astronomy: Investigating galaxy formation and evolution at sub-millimetre to millimetre wavelengths with Herschel and MUSCAT

Application deadline: 31 July 2017
Start date: October 2017
Duration: 3.5 years
Level of study: Postgraduate research
Award type: PhD studentship
Number of studentships: 1

Observations carried out at far-infrared to sub-millimetre/millimetre wavelengths are of paramount importance to understand the formation and evolution of galaxies.

In fact, most of the star formation activity in the universe occurred during a dust-obscured phase, in which the UV/optical light from newly born stars was absorbed by dust and re-emitted at far-IR/sub-mm/mm wavelengths.

Recently, the Herschel Space Observatory has explored the universe at those wavelengths with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution, providing a catalogue of hundreds of thousands of dust-obscured galaxies to be used for detailed statistical studies.

By leading the widest-area extragalactic survey ever conducted with Herschel, the Herschel-ATLAS, the University is at the forefront in the analysis and scientific exploitation of this large sample of dust-obscured galaxies.

Furthermore, a new large format millimetre camera, the Mexico-UK Sub-millimetre Camera for Astronomy (MUSCAT), is currently under construction here in Cardiff and, once installed on the Large Millimetre Telescope (LMT) in Mexico in early 2018, it will carry out observations of some of the extragalactic fields covered by Herschel-ATLAS, thus providing new higher resolution data at millimetre wavelengths.

You will take part in the scientific exploitation of the Herschel-ATLAS and MUSCAT data. You will develop a physical model to interpret the measured statistical properties of dust-obscured galaxies by solving the basic equations for the evolution of the gas within dark matter halos identified in N-body simulations and implementing realistic spectral energy distributions to convert the output of the equations into observables, eg flux densities.

You will also work on the final stages of the characterisation of MUSCAT before it is installed on the LMT. Once the camera is installed, you will assist in the commissioning of MUSCAT and readying the instrument for astronomical observations. You will then help with the data taking/analysis.

The project will give you opportunities for travelling and for interacting with scientists worldwide.


Dr Mattia Negrello
Academic contact

Dr Simon Doyle
Academic contact

Eligibility criteria


UK Research Council eligibility conditions apply

Academic criteria

You must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a 2:1 degree or higher in a relevant subject or a master's degree with distinction in the research dissertation in a relevant discipline.

If English is not your first language, you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS (and no less than 6.5 in any section) by the start of the programme, or an acceptable equivalent.

For purposes of residence requirements, the UK includes the United Kingdom and Islands.

To be eligible for a full award you must have:

- settled status in the UK, meaning you have no restrictions on how long you can stay,
- been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences),
- not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals).

Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for a fees-only award. To be eligible for a fees-only award, you must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU, in the same way as UK students must be ordinarily resident in the UK.

Funding information

Funding applies to:
EU applicants (including UK)
Funding notes:

Full UK/EU tuition fees

Maintenance stipend
Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

Additional funding offered
Additional funding available over the course of the programme which covers costs such as research consumables, training, conferences and travel.

Contacts and how to apply

Administrative contact and how to apply:

For more details and how to apply please see here


Jess Phillips
School of Physics and Astronomy
+44 (0)29 2087 6457

Application deadline:

31 July 2017