Mathematics Applied to Biology


PhD Projects and Studentships

The Department of Mathematics offers the opportunity to study for a PhD in Mathematics, for which the normal duration of study is expected to be three years.

The format is entirely research-based, although students are encouraged to attend 100 hours of mathematical broadening training on taught modules.  Professional development courses may also be taken.  For EPSRC-funded research students, the minimum of 100 hours of mathematical broadening training is mandatory as required by EPSRC.


Our overall aim is to create an environment conducive to discussion and research collaboration at the highest level.

Research students have dedicated shared office space close to their supervisors' offices and are supplied with a desktop computer. The Department has its own computing research laboratory containing several workstations and PCs. As researchers, PhD students have full access to the University's high-performance computing facilities.

Interaction between research students is greatly supported by the provision of a dedicated communal space and kitchen.  Research students also use this space to give seminars to their peers.  Additionally, the facilities of the Sussex Research Hive are available to all doctoral researchers and research staff.


In their first year, students have a brief "Starter Review" three months after beginning their PhD studies.

Student progress is reviewed annually by a written report and interview to ensure timely completion of the PhD.

Funding for UK & EU students

We expect to have a number of EPSRC-funded studentships in the Department of Mathematics each year.  EU students should check their eligibility.  School-funded scholarships may also be available, for both UK and EU students.  All currently-available funded PhD opportunities are advertised on the Searchable Funding database.

Funding for Overseas students

Funded PhDs are occasionally available.  Where a School-funded PhD is offered, which normally waives only the UK/EU fees, an overseas student can be considered providing there is a realistic plan for funding the additional fees incurred by overseas students.  All currently-available funded PhD opportunities are on the Searchable Funding database.


For practical questions about applications and/or funding contact the Research & Enterprise Coordinator on .  For academic questions contact the Mathematics Director of Doctoral Studies, Dr Omar Lakkis.

Applying for a PhD place
How to Apply

Applications should be submitted through the Sussex online application system.  Include your CV, degree certificates and transcripts, and a statement of your interest. Name the academic you would like as your supervisor.  You should also name two referees. 

For general information on postgraduate studies at Sussex see the University Postgraduate Study page.

Your qualifications
For PhD admission, you should hold a Bachelor degree in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or related subject, at upper second or first class.  Alternatively a lower second class Bachelor with a good pass at Masters level.  Equivalent non-UK qualifications are accepted.  If English is not your first language, an IELTS certificate at 6.0, or equivalent qualification, is required.

Deadlines for Applications

We welcome applications from potential PhD students at any time, but note that funded PhD positions may have a specific deadline and start date. The normal expected start date is the third week of September, but students may also start in January or May.

Possible Projects and Supervisors

Students will have an agreed project and supervisors upon accepting an offer of a PhD place. All students have two supervisors where the second supervisor may have a share of supervision between 5% (offers occasional advice) up to 45% (near-joint supervision).  This will depend on the nature of the project and available faculty expertise.

We are also open to modifying the projects listed below, or developing ideas that candidates may have themselves.

Projects currently available

Below are research projects currently available.  They are not funded positions; students would need to seek an independent sponsor, or self-fund their studies.  All the projects below are open to UK, EU and Overseas students.

For funded PhD positions (studentships), check the Searchable Funding Database where current vacancies are advertised.

You are welcome to contact the faculty member about the research projects below in advance of your formal application. 

Professor Anotida Madzvamuse

I am pleased to offer these exciting interdisciplinary projects in the application of mathematics to experimental sciences.  The projects are available for a September 2020 start date, and applications are welcome at any time.

There is no funding for these projects currently.  Applicants should say if they can self fund, have a financial sponsor, or know how to raise funding.  I am happy to help applicants obtain funding by, for example, writing letters of support.

These projects are driven by experimental research questions seeking to understanding how single cells migrate through complex non-isotropic environments. A key part of the study, is to work in close collaboration with experimentalists in order to develop predictive mathematical models and computational algorithms fit for experimental purposes that will allow for the generation of new research questions both experimentally and theoretically. 

Contact me if you are interested in any of these projects.

  1. Modelling and simulations of coupled bulk-surface PDEs with applications to RhoGTPases.
  2. Mechanobiochemical models for single cell migration in 3-dimensions.
  3. Modelling 3D cell migration through non-isotropic environments.
  4. Development of efficient Bayesian methods for model selection and parameter estimation.
  5. Unravelling the spatiotemporal dynamics of Keratin material during 3D cell migration.
  6. Theoretical analysis of coupled bulk-surface models for pattern formation in multi-dimensions.
  7. Novel mathematical models applied to healthcare technologies.
  8. Mathematical investigations of non-isotropic and nonlinear cross-diffusion for coupled bulk-surface reaction-diffusion systems.


Professor Istvan Kiss

I am pleased to offer this selection of projects on the interface of mathematics and biology. 

The projects are available for a January, May or September start date, and applications are welcome at any time.

There is no funding for these projects currently.  Applicants should say if they can self fund, have a financial sponsor, or know how to raise funding.  I will help applicants obtain funding by, for example, writing letters of support.

Contact me if you are interested in any of these projects.

  1. Coupling epidemic and human behaviour via overlapping or multiples networks
  2. Bridging the gap between control theory and modern epidemiological models
  3. Highly structured and dynamic contact network models for STIs
  4. Non-markovian epidemics: theory and applications
  5. Bifurcation theory for adaptive networks: rigorous mapping of system and network behaviour
  6. Higher-order network structure and dynamic networks at the interface of epidemiology and computational neuroscience.