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Dusty Interstellar Ices

About this project

The Astrophysical Data Science Cluster (ADSC) is an exciting new development for the University of Hull’s world renowned E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics.  A series of five Grand Challenges underpin the ADSC, each of which are aligned with the science roadmaps shaping the science & technology landscape for the UK and Europe for the coming decade.  The successful candidates will work alongside international leaders striving to identify the physics driving the formation and evolution of galaxies, stars, and planets, with cross-disciplinary opportunities characterising the development of complex biological life and astrochemistry.  A blend of computational and experimental approaches will be adopted, employing Big Data analytical techniques and multi-dimensional data mining, with access provided to one of the country’s most powerful supercomputers and some of the best international telescopes, through our various partnerships.  One of the most ambitious computational experiments ever undertaken – the Horizon Run – will ensure opportunities to data mine unprecedented peta- and exa-scale datasets, all within one of the country’s most dynamic, supportive, and social research centres. An extremely generous research budget (£9k) is provided to all successful candidates, above and beyond the stipend. Interested applicants should contact Professor Brad Gibson for additional details. 

Dusty Interstellar Ices

This project will focus on predicting vibrational signatures of carbon-rich molecules embedded in the ice surface of interstellar dust grains. This will shed light on the nature of the mysterious diffuse interstellar bands that have puzzled astronomers for nearly a century and help develop better chemical networks models. The structural complexity of amorphous ice requires high-performance computing to describe its disordered interaction network. Access to one of the country’s most powerful supercomputers will all the successful candidate to combine accurate quantum chemical methods with a periodic density functional theory, providing a unique way to compute interactions and vibrational signatures.  New high-end data visualisation techniques will be developed with our industry partners.


You are strongly advised to contact a potential supervisor and to discuss your research proposal, well before you submit an application. Please refer to the Mathematics and Physical Sciences research pages.

If you have any queries, please email Professor Brad Gibson.

Next steps


To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull is offering a full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary.

An extremely generous research budget (£9k) is provided to all successful candidates, above and beyond the stipend

Entry requirements

Applicants should have at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree in Physics, Chemistry, Computational Science, or related discipline, together with relevant research experience. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will have a 1st class undergraduate degree or Masters level qualification.

How to apply

Applications for scholarship consideration at the University of Hull should be made through the Postgraduate Application system.

On the second page of your application, please select “Graduate Scholarship” as the type of scholarship you are applying for. 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to first identify and contact a potential supervisor.

Apply now

Application deadline: Monday 19 February


Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,553 in 2017/18) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.