Dr Derek Harland


I gained a PhD under the supervision of Richard Ward at Durham University in 2008.  I was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in 2012.  After spending time in Hannover, Durham, and Loughborough I settled into my current position at the University of Leeds in 2013.


  • Examinations and Assessment Tutor

Research interests

In theoretical physics and in differential geometry one often encounters the problem finding minima of an 'energy functional' defined over an infinite-dimensional configuration space. Typically the configuration space might be a space of maps between manifolds, or a space of connections on and sections of a vector bundle. The study of such critical points may provide non-trivial information about the underlying manifolds and the physics involved. Three systems I am currently interested in are the Yang-Mills-Higgs, Yang-Mills and Skyrme energy functionals, whose critical points are called 'monopoles', 'instantons' and 'skyrmions' respectively. The Skyrme model relates to nuclear physics, and I have developed a version of this model which yields realistic binding energies.  My recent work on instantons has focused on so-called "exceptional" geometries in seven and eight dimensions.

Research groups and institutes

  • Pure mathematics

Current postgraduate research students

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.