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Dr Watson's main research interests are in the field of stellar astrophysics and extrasolar planets. In particular he is interested in how to improve the detection of exoplanets against the backdrop of noise due to stellar activity, as well as probing the atmospheres of exoplanets.

He has authored/co-authored more than 100 publications in the refereed literature, including Science and Nature. In addition, he is co-PI on a number of exoplanet discovery instruments, including the Next Generation Transit Survey and HARPS-N.

His research has attracted funding from a number of sources including the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Leverhulme Trust, and the European Union (FP7).

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Open to PhD applications in the field of 

  • Stellar astrophysics and exoplanet research
  • Probing exoplanet atmospheres
  • Mitigating astrophysical noise: Towards the confirmation of Earth-2.0
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Research students

PhD title: Understand thy star, understand thy planet

Name: Jean Costes
Years of Study: 2017 - 2020
Country: France

PhD title: UnEarth

Name:  Andrew Thompson
Years of Study: 2014 - 2018
Country: Northern Ireland


PhD title: Sniffing the Skies of New Worlds

Name: Matthew Hooton
Years of Study: 2015 - 2019
Country: England

Alumni: where are they now?

Dr Colin Hill

PhD title: Roche Tomography of Cataclysmic Variables

Years of Study: 2012 - 2015
Country: France
Current position: PDRA, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Toulouse

 Dr Ryan Brothwell

PhD Title: The Dynamic Nature of Exoplanets

Years of Study: 2012 - 2016
Country: UK
Current position: Mathematics Programme Support Tutor, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Heather Cegla

PhD Title: A Pathway to Earth-like Worlds: Overcoming Astrophysical Noise

Years of Study: 2010 - 2013
Country: Switzerland
Current position: CHEOPS Research Fellow, Observatoire de Genève

Research at Queen's

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