COMET Research Internships

To improve access to research in Geosciences, COMET offers paid research internships each summer.  The scheme is designed to give participating students the experience of undertaking scientific research and a flavour of what PhD-study is like.

Eligibility: The scheme is open to any undergraduate student currently in their 2nd/3rd or 4th year who has the right to work in the UK. We strongly encourage applicants from minority backgrounds, and from students who are the first generation in their family to attend University. Priority will be given to applicants from outside the host institution. Part of the work may be completed remotely in consultation with the supervisor.


COMET is funding two undergraduate students to undertake an exciting 8-week research internship during summer 2024 (June-September) with a COMET scientist.

Find details of the projects and how to apply below.

Available Projects:

Project 1: Kinematics of the Hindu Kush from InSAR Velocity Measurements

Supervisors: Dr Milan Lazecky, Dr John Elliott (University of Leeds)

This project aims to advance our understanding of crustal deformation and continental tectonics for the region of the Hindu Kush mountain range. You will quantify the rates of faulting and distribution of crustal strain using the latest satellite radar interferometry (InSAR) data. This is important for understanding the deformation of continents, growth of mountains and distribution of seismic hazard, in particular for the city of Kabul. The intern will process COMET-generated InSAR data using state-of-the-art time series codes and compare results with GPS data, looking for velocity gradients associated with tectonic deformation and compare with locations of recent and historical seismicity.

Project 2: Does Crustal Heterogeneity Influence Volcano Deformation?

Supervisors: Dr Stanley Yip, Dr Craig Magee (University of Leeds)

Most volcano deformation models assume magma reservoirs are surrounded by a homogeneous, isotropic, and linearly elastic half-space. However, the reality is that rocks are heterogeneous, meaning their response to deformation is complex. In this project, you will first systematically analyse how crustal heterogeneity affects ground deformation models. You will achieve this by incorporating multiple layers of homogeneous materials with varying mechanical strength into an existing model set-up and analyse how stiffness contrasts affects deformation. You will then apply the model to assess the ground deformation associated with the 2011 Cordón Caulle eruption in Chile and lastly, apply existing code to incorporate magma compressibility.

How to apply:

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scheme you must: (1) be a current 2nd-4th year undergraduate student with no prior research internship experience, and (2) hold the right to work in the UK. Earth Sciences is the least diverse STEM subject, and therefore we strongly encourage applicants from minority backgrounds and those who are the first generation in their families to have attended University.

Salary: Projects will be paid at University of Leeds Grade 3 (~£427.19 pw).

Application Form: (~20 minutes to complete)

Application Deadline: Friday 10th May 2024, 5:00 pm BST

Read about previous COMET internship experiences.


In summer 2023, COMET funded three students to undertake exciting six-week research internships

Project 1: Exploring plume dynamics in the La Soufriére St Vincent eruptions of April 2021Supervisors: Dr Isabelle Taylor, Prof. Don Grainger, Prof. David Pyle (University of Oxford)

Project 2: What drove the 2020-2021 earthquake swarm at Casiri Volcano in Peru?
Supervisors: Dr Sam Wimpenny, Dr Lin Shen, Dr Camila Novoa-Lizama, Dr Tim Craig (University of Leeds)
Project 3: Synthetic Aperture Radar backscatter for monitoring on-going volcanic eruptions
Supervisors: Dr Edna Dualeh, Prof. Juliet Biggs (University of Bristol)


In summer 2022, COMET funded two students to undertake exciting six-week research internships:

Project 1: Improving Building Exposure Datasets using High-Res Imagery and Deep Learning
Supervisors: Dr. Scott Watson and Dr. John Elliott (University of Leeds)

Project 2: Cosmogenic Isotope Analyses on Active Normal Faults
Supervisors: Dr. Laura Gregory, Prof. Andy Hooper, Dr. Sam Wimpenny (University of Leeds)