Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS)

Atmospheric Chemistry Group PhD Students and Opportunities

The Chemistry Modelling group. Top row, L-R: Sandip, Joey, Erin, Wuhu, Martyn and Chris. Bottom row, L-R: Hannah, Ryan, Sarah, Richard, Tim and Nigel.

This page is aimed at students who may be interested in doing a PhD in the Chemistry Modelling Group. 

All opportunities to do a PhD in the chemistry group are advertised on the ICAS website.

Why should I study for a PhD in this area?

It's important that you join an exciting research group and department where you can get the big picture and not become too narrowly focused. We don't think there is a better place than ICAS within the wider School of Earth and Environment.

What research do our PhD students do?

PhD projects cover the full range of our research. Have a look through our research achievements and current PhD student projects.

The research is mostly about developing and using our advanced global and regional atmospheric models, but students also work closely with scientists collecting data, including spending time on field campaigns.

The students and postdocs work very closely together, helping each other to solve problems and discussing their scientific ideas and challenges.

What have our PhD students discovered?

Here are some examples:

  • Dom Spracklen's PhD (the first ever GLOMAP PhD) was the first to quantify how particle formation impacts global cloud condensation nuclei. This paper has now been highly cited.
  • Ryan Hossaini used the TOMCAT/SLIMCAT model to quantify how much bromine from short-lived species emitted by the oceans could read the stratosphere to cause ozone depletion. Ryan won a School Publication of the Year award for this paper in 2012.
  • Michael Hollaway used a model to show that changes in ozone could impact crop yield.

How are PhD students funded?

Funding has been quite diverse.

  • We have had several NERC Doctoral Training Grants (Ryan Hossaini, Hannah Mantle).
  • Tied studentships (linked to a funded project, usually with a postdoc, such as Tom Breider and Erin Dawkins).
  • NERC Research Centres (Chris Wilson).
  • EPSRC DTCs (Zarashpe Karpadia).
  • NERC CASE awards (Jo Browse on Arctic aerosol, Michael Hollaway on crop yields, Helen Macintyre on heterogeneous chemistry, Richard Pope on regional air quality) co-funded by the Met Office as CASE partners. This provides extra funding for the student and close collaboration with staff at the Met Office. Joe Mcnorton's PhD is co-funded by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and is investigating modelling of greenhouse gas emissions from natural sources. Look out for advertised studentships with potential CASE awards.

What background do our PhD students have?

Very varied. Over the last few years we have had students with BSc training in chemistry, physics, theoretical physics, maths, environmental science and geology. Most students have little experience of high performance computing and complex models, but they have all made enormous progress in this area and leave the group as highly competent computer modellers with an ability to analyse data and work closely with others.

Where do our PhD students go?

Two have gone into environmental consultancy (Stewart Davies 1999-2003, Paul Manktelow 2005-2008). Dominick Spracklen (2002-2005) went on to Harvard then came back to Leeds for a NERC Advanced Fellowship and now co-leads the GLOMAP aerosol modelling group. Kirsty Pringle (2003-2006) went on to the Met Office, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and is now back in the group as a permanent researcher. Beatriz Monge-Sanz stayed on in Leeds as a Post Doc before moving to the Dutch Met. Office.  Lara Gunn went to Berkeley. Tom Breider went to Harvard and Helen Macintyre went to MIT. Sarah Monks and Chris Wilson have stayed in Leeds. One of our first PhD students was Steve Arnold (2000-2004), who now co-leads this group!