PhD Scholarship at University of Ghent

Applicants are invited to apply for a PhD position in marine sciences at University of Ghent. This position is available for four years. Applications are welcome before February 01, 2019.

The Renard Centre of Marine Geology (Department of Geology) is offering a PhD position (4y) in the framework of the FWO research project DynaMOD "an oceanographic and sediment DYNamic MODelling study of MOunded contourite Drifts".

The PhD scholarship is fully funded for four years and preferably starts in April 2019. The DynaMOD project will focus on the increase of bottom current intensity in the presence of a seabed with a complex topography such as cold-water coral mounds. Previous investigations along the upper eastern slope (300-800 m depth) of the Porcupine Seabight (off Ireland) have indicated a sufficiently small area having the potential to become a unique natural laboratory to investigate this present and past sediment dynamic variability. Firstly, it is aimed to understand and quantify the temporal and spatial variability of the present-day hydrodynamic regime. Secondly, through an acoustic dissection of the subseafloor, we aim to obtain a pseudo-3D view of the contourite drift, formed due to the action of bottom currents. This will enable the reconstruction of the architectural evolution during the past 2 million years, supported by correlation to nearby IODP boreholes. Based upon these present and past observations, 3D numerical modelling will simulate the past palaeohydrodynamic variability to better understand the oceanographic drivers behind the contourite drift construction. For this purpose, the PhD student will apply an integrated approach which is built upon a large legacy dataset using seismic profiling, as well as very-high resolution observations using oceanographic moorings and AUV and ROV technologies.

Applicants preferably hold an MSc-degree in either Geology, Earth Sciences, Marine Sciences, Physical Oceanography (or equivalent). The eligibility requirements of Ghent University must be met. Demonstrated proficiency in English is a requirement. A suitable candidate is a communicative team-player, has an interest in broadening her/his horizons across scientific disciplines and is willing to participate in marine geophysical surveys. The applicant should be aware of the emphasis on both geophysical surveying and oceanographic modelling. Prior experience in either geophysical processing (seismics, multibeam) and/or physical oceanography is recommended. The PhD candidate will be expected to dissipate the finds in scientific peer-reviewed journal papers, conference presentations, and a PhD dissertation, as well as through communications to the larger non-specialist audience. The candidate will interact, collaborate and actively contribute to the whole of interdisciplinary activities by all agencies, international scientists (NUI Galway, Helmholtz Center Geesthacht, Royal Holloway University of London) and third parties (Flanders Marine Institute) involved in the research project. Due to the international character of this study, the applicant must be willing to spend several weeks abroad within the framework of research mobility. She/he will be encouraged to strengthen the academic background and competences, through for example assisting in teaching activities (practical exercises, field work, supervising).

The scholarship is intended to run over a period of four years (48 months in total). General information on requirements, modalities and salaries can be found on the UGent website (

Applications should include a CV (including your grade list and a copy of your diploma), a motivation letter and contact details of at least two referees. The application deadline is 01/02/2019 (16:00, Brussels time). Applications and/or inquiries can be sent to Prof. dr. David Van Rooij (


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