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PhD Studentship: Multiscales and Critical Transitions in the Earth System

University of Reading - Mathematics & Statistics/ School of Mathematical, Physical and Computation Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Reading
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £27,511 to £34,804 per annum subject to knowledge, skills and experience
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th March 2021
Closes: 1st May 2021
Reference: GS20-107

PhD Studentship in Mathematics

Supervisors: Professor Valerio Lucarini, Dr Jeroen Wouters, Dr Tobias Kuna 

Project Overview:   

Multi-stability is a ubiquitous property of geophysical systems: for a given choice of values of the internal and external parameters, two or more asymptotic states scan be realised. In the case of deterministic dynamics, the phase space is partitioned between the basins of attraction of such asymptotic states, which live on – possibly strange – attractors. In the case noise is added into the systems, transitions between the various basins of attractions are possible, and, typically, over very long time scales the neighbourhood of all asymptotic states is explored, up to convergence to the invariant measure of the system. In the weak noise limit, transitions occur through special regions of the basin boundaries, called edge or Melancholia states. We will explore the theory of noise-induced transitions in complex systems of geophysical interest and use response theory to flag the vicinity of the tipping points. Taking advantage of recent advances in the theory of stochastic resonance for non-equilibrium systems, we will investigate the possibility of resonant behaviour in the response for suitable tuning of periodic forcing and intensity of the acting noise.

This position is part of the CriticalEarth project – a Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Innovative Training Network (ITN) & the successful candidate will form a network of 15 PhD students across different universities in Europe. The candidate will have secondments at the University of Oldenburg (Germany) and the Politecnico di Torino (Italy).


  • Fully funded position open to World-wide candidates. Mobility and family allowance provided to help with relocation and family costs (if applicable) & Visa/Permit Support.
  • Qualification requirement of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in Applied Mathematics, Climatology & Climate Change, Theoretical Physics.
  • Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the last 3 years - unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention.
  • The candidate must be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career and not awarded a doctoral degree.
  • For further information visit the website ( contact Professor Valerio Lucarini (
  • Web link:

Funding Details:   

  • Starts 1st July 2021
  • 3 year award
  • Salary range £27,511 - £34,804 per annum subject to knowledge, skills and experience.
  • A Marie Curie allowance of up to £2,940 per annum and a Mobility allowance of £5,075 per annum in line with the Marie Curie Horizon 2020 requirement for Early Stage Researchers. 

How to apply:    

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Mathematics at  

*Important notes*

  • 1) Please quote the GS20-107 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
  • 2) When you are prompted to upload a research proposal, please omit this step. 

Application Deadline: 1st May 2021 

Further Enquiries:  

Please note: The Award for the successful candidate will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria. 

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