Four scientific objects

Anelastic Coriolis-Centrifugal Convection: A More Realistic Local Model for Planetary Interior Processes

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU) at international rates from Sept 23

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 25 October 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2024


Applications are open for a PhD position in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics within the project MAGNADO - The Magnetohydrodynamics of Liquid Metal Tornadoes - (selected for funding by the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) and funded through the UKRI 'Horizon Europe guarantee') at the Research Centre for Fluid and Complex Systems (FCS) at Coventry University.

The ERC is The European Union’s most selective funding mechanism for ground-breaking science. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of the award winner, Associate Professor Dr Susanne Horn.

Project details

This project tackles the long-standing challenge of understanding how convective flows in liquid planetary cores generate and sustain the magnetic fields of planets through the dynamo process. The project explores the radically new idea that the elusive type of flows able to generate magnetic fields may be produced by tornado-like vortices.

The successful candidate will implement the more refined anelastic approximation for rotating convection into our in-house code goldfish to realistically model gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn.  With this new version of the code the PhD researcher will determine if such elementary process can influence the global magnetic field in gas giants.  Ensuing numerical simulations will then seek to identify signatures of local dynamo action that can also be observed and measured via space missions and analyse corresponding available data, e.g., for Jupiter obtained from Juno.

This project offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the field of planetary science and to develop a world-leading expertise in geophysical and numerical fluid dynamics. The successful candidate will also be able to develop an extensive scientific network by working with the best experts in the field worldwide, through extensive collaboration across the USA and Europe thanks to the great flexibility offered by the ERC-guarantee.


Tuition fees, stipend (£18,622 p/a)


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD 

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

Entry criteria for applicants to MSc/MA by Research

  • Minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average

 For further details regarding entry requirements, visit:

Additional Information

Experience in fluid mechanics and/or with numerical simulations is strongly advised. 

To express interest in this PhD opportunity, please send a CV and a full transcript of academic records to Susanne Horn. Informal enquiries are encouraged.

How to apply

All applications require a covering letter and a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

To find out more about the project, please contact Susanne Horn.

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