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ACCE DTP fully funded studentship - Is Greenland greening? Biogeomorphic interactions in the ice sheet forelands

   School of Biosciences

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  Dr S Livingstone, Prof G Phoenix  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Sheffield United Kingdom Climate Science Environmental Biology Geography Geology Plant Biology

About the Project

This project investigates biogeomorphic dynamics in the glacier forelands of Greenland. The student will be trained in the use long-term (decadal) satellite archives and their products in the Google Earth Engine cloud computing platform to develop tools to automatically map and quantify spatiotemporal changes in vegetation and foreland dynamics. This will be combined with local field observations and potentially uncrewed aerial vehicles to monitor foreland vegetation and geomorphic change and to calibrate and quantify uncertainty in satellite vegetation indices. Remote sensing and field results will be combined to quantify spatial and temporal relationships between vegetation change and controlling factors, such as ice sheet recession, meltwater runoff, catchment connectivity and geomorphic activity and climate change indices (e.g. temperature, precipitation, wind). The results of this project will be valuable for determining how Arctic ecosystems downstream of the Greenland Ice Sheet have changed, and will respond to climate warming. It will also help characterise ecosystem response to, and impact on, foreland geomorphic processes, which act as a filter on the transport of water and sediment to the ocean. The project will suit a motivated graduate with expertise or interest in geomorphology, glaciology and/or Arctic ecosystems, ideally with some experience of using remote sensing and/or coding although we will provide training. There will be opportunities for the successful student to carry out fieldwork in western Greenland.

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment. ACCE is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool, York, CEH, and NHM, for more information about ACCE and how to apply please visit the website:

The NERC ACCE DTP and the University of Sheffield are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills. "

 How to apply:

All applicants to ACCE must complete the ACCE personal statement proforma. This is instead of a normal personal/supporting statement/cover letter. The proforma is designed to standardise this part of the application to minimise the difference between those who are given support and those who are not. The proforma and more information on the ACCE application process can be found here:

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the w/c 21st February 2022.

Science Graduate School

As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

Funding Notes

Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 3.5 years.
The funding includes:
Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£15,609 for 2021/22 starts)
UK tuition fees (£4,500 for 2021/22)
Research support and training grant (RTSG)
We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.
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