16 PhD Degree-Fully Funded at University of Plymouth, England
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University of Plymouth, England invites online Application for number of Fully Funded PhD Degree at various Departments. We are providing a list of Fully Funded PhD Programs available at University of Plymouth, England.
Eligible candidate may Apply as soon as possible.
(01) PhD Degree – Fully Funded
PhD position summary/title: How does remediation work to support undergraduate medical education?
This PhD project is focused on remediation programmes in undergraduate medical education.
Remediation is often defined as a process in which individuals who are underperforming are given additional support. Remediation is, therefore, a vital component of the process of assurance that students are meeting the requisite standards to become competent doctors. It is a complex intervention, as student performance is linked to the need to reach specific standards of practice to ensure patient safety following graduation. This means the consequences of not reaching these standards may have implications for the student’s continued progression through the programme. Moreover, and linked to this, the process of becoming a doctor is not simply an educational one, but inextricably bound up with the development of a professional identity. Remediation is therefore a difficult and sensitive intervention. As yet, we know very little about whether and how remediation programmes work to support struggling students to get back on track to becoming capable doctors.
PhD position summary/title: Development of a microfluidic platform for identification of NSCLC patients at higher risk for brain metastasis
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80% of patients with primary lung cancer. Up to 55% of the patients with advanced NSCLC develop brain metastases (BM) with a median survival of 2–3 and 4–6 months in untreated and treated patients, respectively. Due to the location of metastatic lesions, surgical resection is limited, and chemotherapy is quite ineffective due to the blood brain barrier (BBB). It is thus crucial to identify patients at higher risk for BM at an early stage. BM has been ascribed to the presence of competent subsets of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) that transmigrate through the BBB and thrive in the brain. No definitive signature genes for BM have been identified in CTCs from NSCLC due to the lack of validated markers or strategies to isolate these cells with high-efficiency enrichment to facilitate subsequent gene expression profiling. We will deploy a microfluidics-based cell sorting platform to isolate CTCs from a cohort of NSCLC patients with BM. Isolated CTCs will be subjected to comprehensive gene expression profiling to identify the signature genes of BM. Gene ontology will be used to identify the involved molecular pathways and cellular functions of identified signature genes. A microfluidics-based cell profiling platform will be developed to analyse the proteins encoded by the signature genes in CTCs collected from NSCLC patients and subsequently identify patients at higher risk form BM.
PhD position summary/title: PhD studentship with Marine Research Plymouth – four available topics: Shelf Sea Productivity; Artificial Intelligence in Biological Observation; Shark Distribution and Conservation; Imaging Carbon Export to the Deep Oceans
Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject or a relevant Masters qualification. Also, non-native English speakers must have an IELTS Academic score of that meets the minimum for the relevant PhD programme, or equivalent. Please refer to the individual projects for full details.
PhD position summary/title: Integrated modelling of Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Systems
Development of offshore renewable energy is a key part of the Government’s Net Zero and Energy Security strategies with ambitious targets of 50GW offshore wind by 2030, including 5GW floating offshore wind (FOW), and 100- 140GW by 2050. However, the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of floating offshore wind is still high compared with fixed foundation offshore wind. Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) are exposed to harsh and complex conditions in the marine environment and it is important that at the design stage, potential extreme environmental loads on FOWTs under storms, are clearly identified and quantified. This is critical not only for evaluating the survivability of FOWTs, but also to inform the design of new FOWTs for an extended envelope of safe operation and maximum energy output. The accumulation of lifetime operational fatigue loads in non-extreme weather are also critical in reducing the cost of energy from FOWTs.
PhD position summary/title: Use of physical and numerical modelling data to create digital twins for improved floating offshore wind operations and fault response
A digital twin of a floating offshore wind turbine (FOWT) can provide a means to support this innovation, through everything from improved turbine and platform control, O&M strategy, fault detection and response etc. A digital twin is a model-based representation of a real assist trained or developed using real data, and for a FOWT can be designed and used with many different objectives. A validated digital twin can be used for conducting testing and research on new operations and maintenance procedures without the risk of experimenting on real wind turbines. However, an issue with such an approach is the availability of suitable data sets to both train and validate the digital twin. Waiting to get data from a deployed asset means that a digital twin will not be available in this initial stage of a project. The inclusion of low probability extreme events in the training data will also clearly be governed by the random occurrence of such events. As understanding and potentially improving the FOWT response to storms is one of the potential advantages of a digital twin, this is clearly a limitation. The same is true for fault response and detection, with the digital twin response to such faults not being trained or validated until such faults are actually measured in the deployed asset.
PhD position summary/title: Mg2+ and Ca2+ variability in seawater and the impact on marine calcifiers
The natural weathering of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) rich minerals and rocks over geological time scales, controls the bulk chemical composition and pH of seawater and influenced the ecological success of marine calcifiers over millions of years due to the effects on their skeletal secretion [1-2]. The recent global development of ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE), a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) method by which Ca- and/or Mg-rich rock powders are added to seawater to convert dissolved CO2 into bicarbonate or carbonic acid , has the potential to dramatically accelerate the changes to Ca2+ and Mg2+ in coastal seas with possibly significant impacts on marine calcifiers . To assess these possible impacts, we need to improve our understanding of the natural variability of Ca and Mg concentrations in seawater  and how expected changes of these will impact marine calcifiers. The successful candidate for this project will work in the natural laboratory of Plymouth Sound to establish the first baseline of the natural variability of Mg2+ and Ca2+ over ecological time scales. The results will help to mitigate and environmental impact of OAE.
PhD position summary/title: Exploring seafloor hydrothermal systems with novel high resolution mineral mapping
Global geochemical cycles are fundamental to the Earth system; where, when, and how much elements are cycled through the Earth underpins a broad range of science, including our understanding of ocean chemistry and how the oceans will be impacted by future climate change. Geochemical fluxes from deep sea hydrothermal systems, where seawater circulates through the seafloor and exits back into oceans via hydrothermal vents, are a key component of global geochemical cycles. The ocean crust preserves this fluid/rock interaction (“hydrothermal alteration”) and by analysing these crustal rocks we can estimate the hydrothermal geochemical flux. However, such studies are limited by poor core recovery by scientific ocean drilling and the time-limitations of mineralogical and geochemical studies.
PhD position summary/title: Regenerative agriculture on lowland peat; an oxymoron?
Sustainably intensifying agricultural production and meeting UK targets for net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requires a detailed understanding of GHG sources and sinks. In the UK, drainage of lowland peatlands (waterlogged, high carbon soils) to sustain highly productive agriculture is important for UK food security, but drying peatland causes peat degradation. While intact peatlands are long-term carbon stores they also emit GHGs. Drained peatlands, for different reasons are also GHG sources (Evans et al., 2022). This project aims to unravel the complex trade-offs linked to peatland management and sustainable food production.
PhD position summary/title: Exploring the 6th February 2023 Turkish earthquakes: significance for complex seismic events and regional geodynamics
The 6th February 2023 earthquakes (Mw 7.8 / 7.7) that occurred on the East Anatolian Fault Zone in Türkiye resulted in the deaths of >59,000 people, with many more displaced and injured. Despite past research on these faults, the magnitude, complexity and severity of this event was unprecedented compared to recent and historical earthquakes in the region1. In a global seismic hazard context, it is frequently assumed that earthquakes only occur on single faults, but recent examples of continental strike-slip faulting earthquakes, such as the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and the 2023 Turkish earthquakes, have been highly complex ruptures2. This raises the possibility that such complex ruptures, which were thought to be rare, are actually more common that previously hypothesised. In addition, there are unanswered key questions on the nature of the plate boundary configuration, and on the long-term development and release of stress and strain across this complex fault network3,4. This timely research project will investigate these interconnected problems to generate new understanding on the tectonic structure of the research area and on complex strike-slip earthquakes more broadly, with implications for the understanding of earthquake hazard worldwide.
PhD position summary/title: Integrating modern and long-term ecology to inform UK peatland fire management in a changing climate
Climate change is increasing wildfire risk globally. In the UK, peatland wildfires have been frequent and severe in recent years (1). Peatlands are important carbon-rich biodiverse ecosystems and wildfire can severely damage these ecosystems with significant environmental impacts (2). Fire has played an important role in shaping landscapes historically (3), but uncontrolled fires lead to loss of ecosystem function and reduced peatland carbon storage capacity (2). This research aims to inform future peatland fire management strategies and improve understanding of carbon loss following fire events. Information about recent and long-term past (palaeo) ecological trends (4) in response to fire, climate and vegetation change will be integrated with modern ecological research.
PhD position summary/title: Complex relationships: Exploring the role of the diatom microbiome in host-parasite interaction
Scientific background: Diatoms are a significant phytoplankton group. They fuel food webs and are major players in the global carbon cycle. Diatoms are particularly important in nutrient rich coastal waters and shelf seas. Despite our dependence on these critical components of the Earth system there is a limited understanding of marine diatom health and disease. A range of protists and some fungal parasites infect diatoms. Bacteria are also associated with diatoms as part of their microbiomes. At present we have a limited understanding of the role of bacterial microbiomes on parasite infection of marine diatoms. Given the importance of marine diatoms, it is critical that we now understand the relationship between marine diatoms, their bacterial microbiomes and parasite infection on their biomass and diversity, and establish the impacts on diatom ecosystem function, particularly their critical role in the marine carbon cycle.
PhD position summary/title: Causes, character and consequences of Antarctic turbidity currents
Turbidity currents are the equivalent of underwater avalanches – rapid, sediment-rich bodies of water that flow down-slope. They occur globally and transport the greatest volumes of sediment on the planet . They are frequent, powerful and destructive events that, like other seafloor processes, can destroy seafloor equipment and lead to significant seafloor changes [1,2,3]. They transport organic carbon and pollutants offshore, affecting ecosystems and climate [1,4]. A major challenge is understanding what causes turbidity currents as we cannot predict when and where they will occur . It is logistically challenging making direct measurements in the deep ocean so very few turbidity currents have been measured directly [1,4]. The goal of this PhD is to better understand the causes and future risks of seafloor processes such as Antarctic turbidity currents, their role in the global carbon cycle, and how they will respond to future climatic change. This will provide crucial scientific advances with environmental, societal and economic implications.
PhD position summary/title: Improving autonomous platforms for next generation biodiversity observations
Predicting how ocean life will respond to pressures from increasing human use and climate change is the basis for science-informed decision-making. It requires development of models that enable forecasting of possible outcomes in ‘what if’ scenarios. Such models demand large un-bias biological ‘training’ datasets, which are difficult and expensive to collect and analyse using current human-reliant methods. Greater automation in collection and analysis of observations is needed to deliver sufficiently large datasets to significantly enhance our predictive modelling capability. In this respect Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a potentially powerful tool. This studentship will develop next generation marine biological observing capability by combining vision-enabled smart autonomous platforms with state-of-the-art machine learning.
PhD position summary/title: Investigating cryptic speciation in the beadlet sea anemone Actinia equina
Organisms inhabiting the intertidal zone experience stressors from both the aquatic and aerial environments they straddle, providing an “early warning system” for the impacts of climate change. However, our ability to monitor changes in these communities is hampered by our lack of knowledge surrounding the genetic diversity of their inhabitants, in particular due to the presence of cryptic species which are morphologically identical.
PhD position summary/title: Bouncing back from macroalgal-dominated reefs: microbial and chemical effects of algal removal and coral transplanting
Climate change is causing major ecological shifts, with important consequences for ecosystem functioning. In coral reefs, coral-algal transitions are the most well-known shift. Following algal increases, an array of mechanisms that reinforce algal dominance and prevent coral recovery are established. For example, algal chemicals can promote changes in microbial communities, negatively affecting corals. Algae can damage corals upon contact through the presence of chemical defences or by transferring opportunistic bacterial pathogens. To date, understanding of these mechanisms, their reversibility, and their effects on key reef functions remains limited. The objective of this project is to investigate the microbial and chemical mechanisms that reinforce algal-dominated reefs and to evaluate if algal removal and coral transplantation can reverse these mechanisms to help recover coral-dominated reefs.
PhD position summary/title: Predicting vulnerability of coastal biodiversity to heat waves at management-relevant scales – a conservation physiology approach
Heat waves are increasing in frequency and intensity, causing devastating effects on marine biodiversity. To protect the environment for future generations, we must be able to predict which areas are at most risk from this increasingly pressing environmental challenge. Using broad-scale surface temperature data, recent modelling approaches have identified broad regions across global oceans that are at greatest risk, but these approaches do not capture the small spatial scales over which climatic events impact marine animals through their physiology. Moreover, they do not work at the local and regional scales at which management decisions are made, limiting our ability to conserve coastal ecosystems.
The University of Plymouth is a public research university based predominantly in Plymouth, England, where the main campus is located, but the university has campuses and affiliated colleges across South West England. With 18,410 students, it is the 57th largest in the United Kingdom by total number of students (including the Open University).
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