Global PhD Positionsin Applied Mathematics

  • Phd
  • Tuition fees + stipend/salary
  • 1 March 2021
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The University of St Andrews is pleased to offer a scholarship funded by St Leonard’s Postgraduate College, to support an exceptional student undertaking doctoral research in the following project:

Computational Analysis of the Wave Energy Budget in the Solar Atmosphere

Project description

Along with many other stars, the Sun has an outer atmosphere (corona) which is several orders of magnitude hotter than its surface (photosphere); rising from a temperature of about 6000K in the photosphere, coronal temperatures can reach millions of degrees. It is well established that the Sun’s magnetic field plays a key role in transporting subsurface energy to the outer atmosphere but the exact nature of how this magnetic energy is then converted into heat is still unclear.

The dynamical processes occurring in the Sun’s atmosphere can be modelled by a system of magneto-hydrodynamics (MHD) equations, which combine the equations describing a fluid and the electro-magnetic equations. This project will focus on computational modelling of MHD waves in the solar atmosphere. Recent high-cadence and high-resolution observations have revealed an abundance of  waves, oscillations and other quasi-periodic disturbances present in the solar atmosphere. These observed waves are reported to contain a substantial amount of energy. However, the role of waves and oscillations in coronal heating remains unclear and estimating the energy budget from observations is non-trivial, both due to superposition effects in the solar atmosphere and uncertainty in the identification of the observed wave modes. This project aims to improve our understanding of the MHD wave energy budget in the solar atmosphere by using 3D MHD simulations to guide the interpretation of observations.

In the first part of the project, we will analyse computational simulations of MHD wave dynamics in an idealised environment. Following the study of the MHD wave behaviour in idealised models, we will extend our analysis to state-of-the-art, self-consistent 3D numerical simulations, where the dynamical processes are not driven by artificial motions imposed on the boundaries of the computational domain but by subsurface granulation, as happens on the Sun. We will investigate whether the evolution of the wave frequencies, amplitudes and polarisation with height from the simple models is the same in these complex models or whether the waves behave differently.

The scholarship will support a co-tutelle doctoral degree programme between the School of Mathematics and Statistics at St Andrews and the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo in Norway. The student will be supervised by Professor Ineke De Moortel, (University of St Andrews) and Professor Mats Carlsson (University of Oslo).

Informal enquiries regarding this scholarship may be addressed to Professor Ineke De Moortel – email

University of St Andrews
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University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews is a public university in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.

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Applicants must not already (i) hold a doctoral degree; or (ii) be matriculated for a doctoral degree at the University of St Andrews or another institution.


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The award covers full tuition fees for the period of time spent at the University of St Andrews. For this period, the student will also receive a stipend payable at the standard UK Research council rate (the 2021-22 annual rate is £15,560).

For the period spent at the University of Oslo the student will receive a full fee award and salary.


Apply for admission as a doctoral student – please see the advice on applying for research degree programmes.

Please indicate in your application that you wish to be considered for this Global St Andrews scholarship (reference De Moortel).

Please contact us should you have any questions regarding the scholarship:

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