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Funded PhD Opportunity

Glacio-marine processes offshore the Celtic Sea: new insights into the evolution of the southernmost paleo-ice stream of the British-Irish Ice Sheet.

Subject: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology


The evolution of the northwest European continental margin was strongly affected by Pleistocene glaciations, particularly where ice sheets extended onto the continental shelf and transferred glaciogenic sediment onto the slope, contributing to the formation of canyon systems, submarine fans and slides (Sejrup et al., 2005; Ó Cofaigh et al., 2012).

Reconstruction of the history of the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) has progressed greatly in the last 10 to 5 years but a region that remains largely unknown is the Celtic Sea, which was in the past occupied by the southernmost ice stream of the BIIS. There is new evidence from the continental shelf that the ice margin was positioned close to the shelf edge, at least in portions of the Celtic Sea (Lockart et al., 2018; Praeg et al., 2015).

However these recent works highlight how little it is known about the position and oscillation of the ice margin in this region. The offshore sediment record can provide additional and important evidence of ice-sheet dynamics through the investigation of sediment type and depositional processes.

A set of newly acquired gravity cores from the Goban Spur (a portion of the continental slope offshore of the Celtic Sea), together with marine geophysical datasets of the Irish National Seabed Survey, will be used to investigate the delivery of glacially-derived sediment to the margin, in particular ice-rafted debris (IRD), and to investigate potential links to wider North Atlantic climate and ocean circulation.

The project is suitable for a self-motivated applicant with Earth Science, Geology, Geography, Environmental Science or Marine Science background, with capacity to learn new analytical.

Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 65%
  • Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Experience of presentation of research findings


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £14,777 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 14,777 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Completing the MRes provided me with a lot of different skills, particularly in research methods and lab skills.

Michelle Clements Clements - MRes - Life and Health Sciences

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I would highly recommend Ulster University as you get so much support.  Coleraine is a beautiful town and the people are so friendly. It was a really positive experience.

Carin Cornwall - PhD Environmental Sciences

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Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 18 February 2019

Interview Date
w/c 18 March 2019


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Coleraine campus

Coleraine campus
Our coastal and riverside campus focussing on science and health

Contact supervisor

Dr Sara Benetti

Other supervisors

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