Postgraduate research opportunities in particle physics in the Department of Physics

The Particle Physics Community in the Department of Physics is one of the largest in the UK and has a wide and varied research programme.

The initial deadline for applications to the Community's postgraduate programme is 19 January 2024.

Open day

The Particle Physics Community postgraduate open day took place on Wednesday 20 December 2023.‌ The introductory slides (PDF) are available to download.

additional information

Research Projects

Current research projects in Experimental Particle Physics include:

  • The CMS (compact muon solenoid) experiment at the LHC, the world's highest energy collider, discovered the Higgs Boson in 2012. This discovery resulted in a Nobel Prize in 2013 and today, CMS is focused on precision measurements of the Higgs boson and searches for new physics. CMS has managed to place stringent limits on theories that go beyond the Standard Model. CMS is taking data at the highest energies and rates ever achieved and will continue its search for physics beyond the Standard Model. Once the high-luminosity LHC starts, CMS will be capable of taking data at a rate never before achievable. Breakthroughs in fast digital electronics and the use of machine learning will be vital for the CMS physics programme in the future.
  • LHCb, an experiment at the LHC, which is searching for deviations from the Standard Model in the decays of B mesons. The experiment uses the LHC as a prolific source of B-hadrons, providing the potential for a discovery of physics not explained by the Standard Model in Rare Decays and in CP violation measurements. The existing measurements provide powerful probes of new physics models and have revealed intriguing deviations from the Standard Model expectations. Further measurements are now being started with the data collected after the LHC upgrade and these measurements will allow the deviations seen to be explored further.
  • T2K/Super-K/Hyper-K, the experiment through which we made the seminal discovery of electron-neutrino appearance from a muon-neutrino beam, and which continues to be the neutrino beam experiment that is making the highest-precision measurements. We are working on the upgrade to the neutrino-beam line at J-PARC that is required to secure the best sensitivity for the T2K programme and on the Hyper-Kamiokande experiment, which is the next-generation experiment that will follow T2K.
  • Development of advanced concepts in particle acceleration. Our programme encompasses the development of next-generation systems for particle-beam therapy (NIMMS2, HITRI+, and LhARA) and the development of novel techniques for high-power proton beams, and the development of nuSTORM, a novel source of intense neutrino beams with precisely controlled flux and energy produced by the decay of muons confined within a storage ring. We are active in the development of a future muon collider and the study of ionization cooling, including the development of an experiment to demonstrate cooling in all 6 phase-space dimensions. We are also developing new concepts for Fixed Field Accelerators with application to ISIS (PDF) at RAL and future clinical application. We are members of the John Adams Institute and PhD programmes are executed in collaboration with our partners at CERN, RAL, and at other laboratories overseas.
  • CCAP, the Centre for the Clinical Application of Particles (CCAP), is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the HEP and Plasma Physics Groups in Physics, the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial, the Oxford Institute of Radiation Oncology, and the Institute of Cancer Research. The mission of the CCAP is to harness novel particle-acceleration, detection, imaging, and data-processing techniques to enhance biomedical science and for clinical application. At the heart of the Centre's programme is the development of the Laser-hybrid Accelerator for Radiobiological applications LhARA. LhARA will be a unique facility dedicated to study of biology using proton and light-ion beams. We have a close collaboration with CNRS Institute Curie in Paris, with several jointly supervised PhD students. Our programme includes collaboration with CERN and other laboratories in Europe.
  • ASACUSA studies "half-matter"; half-antimatter atoms that contain antiprotons at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator and ELENA facilities. PiHe synthesises exotic atoms that contain pions. These atoms are irradiated by intense and highly monochromatic laser beams that excite transitions of the antiproton and pion orbitals. The latest quantum metrological techniques are used for this. By observing the associated quantum jumps, the antiproton and pion masses can be determined with unprecedented precision. This allows us to explore matter-antimatter symmetries and quantum electrodynamics which are the most precisely understood part of the Standard Model.
  • SHiP is a proposal for a new facility at CERN that is led by Imperial group members. The experiment will search for the new particles predicted by so-called "Hidden Sector" models which are capable of accommodating dark matter, explaining the pattern of neutrino oscillations and masses, and the origin of the baryon asymmetry in the Universe.
  • SoLid is a neutrino experiment searching for a new kind of matter with a novel type of 3D scintillator detector operating very close to a research nuclear reactor.
  • Preparations for the LISA experiment, a next generation gravitational wave experiment in space.
  • LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) is the leading dark matter search experiment, now starting operations at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. LZ is expected to produce world-leading results on various dark matter interactions and observe the scattering of astrophysical neutrinos - all during a PhD timescale. In parallel, R&D towards a future next-generation experiment is under way in our Liquid Xenon Laboratory. There are also opportunities to participate in the MIGDAL experiment which will soon start taking data at RAL; the Migdal effect enhances the search for light dark matter interactions in many detector technologies.
  • COMET, an experiment to search for muon-to-electron conversion, a process that is yet to be seen, but which is extremely sensitive to deviations of the universe from the Standard Model. Phase-I of the experiment is under construction and is due to take data shortly, while a further phase is being designed, with construction scheduled in the next several years.
  • DUNE is a next-generation long-baseline neutrino experiment in the USA. It will have the sensitivity to make a definitive discovery of leptonic CP violation and then precisely measure this phenomenon. DUNE also promises unprecedented sensitivity to neutrino-nucleus interaction physics and neutrinos from supernovae. We are working on physics sensitivity studies, and building parts of the near detector and the electronics and software that will acquire data from the experiment.
  • AION The main objective of this project is to implement a fresh approach to atom interferometry (with single-photon transitions) that provides a novel method of detecting dark matter with a new instrument, as well as major advantages for the observation of gravity waves (GW) in the long term. This new quantum technology provides a major opportunity to push measurements beyond the current sensitivity limits in fundamental physics applications, e.g. for GWs in the mid-frequency band, around 1Hz. The AION collaboration is the culmination of extensive community building and will put the UK at the forefront of this globally important venture.
  • Grid computing technologies required for carrying out the data processing in association with the LHC.
  • Development of new classes of position detectors, based primarily on silicon, and designing the associated complex signal processing electronics

Available Places

The Particle Physics Community in the Physics Department at Imperial College is one of the largest experimental particle-physics groups in the UK. We have a wide and varied research programme. Information about applications can be found in the Postgraduate Prospectus, and on the John Adams Institute at Imperial website.

We have STFC studentships available to offer to suitably qualified, eligible candidates. In addition, an STFC accelerator-science studentship is available through the John Adams’ Institute and we often have additional STFC or CASE studentships associated with specific projects.


STFC studentships cover "Home fees" for all students. In addition, "Home students" receive living expenses (£20,622 /annum, tax free, for 2023-24). Note that non-UK EU nationals who have spent the previous three years in the UK undertaking an undergraduate degree now meet the "Home student" residency requirements. For information about STFC studentships see the STFC web pages.

Additional scholarships and funding opportunities are detailed in the Imperial College Postgraduate Prospectus and on the College Postgraduate Funding site. Students wishing to apply for postgraduate scolarships are encouraged to make contact early, ideally by December. The postgraduate prospectus also contains general information about admissions requirements, the application procedure, fees and scholarships, College facilities, accommodation, etc. See the Department of Physics website for further information about the Department.

Application Procedure

The initial application deadline for STFC-funded positions is 19th January 2024. However, the group will accept applications until all positions are filled. Other scholarships follow the individual application guidelines.

The assignment of students to projects and supervisors for STFC-funded (and self funded) positions is made after roughly a term’s graduate lectures. Experiments accepting students are presented and students are asked for their preferences. The head of community then discusses with each student and the allocation is made. Usually students get their first choice of experiment. We feel this is a good way to go as it allows students to understand more about the science and the people before making a choice.

If you secure funding for your PhD through a scholarship, the programme for your studies and your supervisor will be defined.

Please use the online system linked from the College guidance on how to apply to submit your formal application to Imperial College Registry. We would be grateful if you send an email to to let us know that you have submitted your application. This will allow us to expedite the consideration of your application.

If you have problems with the online form, wish to ask for further information, or would like to talk things over, please email  and we will help and support you in completing your application.


For further information about applying for a place in the HEP group contact

You may also contact the Chair of the admissions panel Profs. Kenneth Long and Alex Tapper directly.

Postgraduate Fair & Group Visit

The Particle Physics Community will be holding an Open Day on Wednesday 20th December 2023, from 12.30pm. We will describe the research that our group pursues, and the postdoctoral study opportunities that are on offer. You will also be able to talk to group members, from current students to researchers and academics. We will also describe the application procedure in detail, so even if you are certain that you would like to apply for a position with us, you should still find it useful.

To register for this event, please fill in the online form (link above) no later than 13th December 2023.