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The nature and dynamics of ice stream beds: assessing their role in ice-sheet stability

   Graduate School, College of Physical Sciences

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  Dr R G Bingham  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Aberdeen’s Cryosphere and Climate Change group, in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), seek a student to undertake a prestigious Ph.D. studentship tied to NERC’s iSTAR Programme, which aims to improve understanding of the key ice sheet and ocean processes that affect ice sheet stability. The programme focuses on the Amundsen Sea sector and Pine Island Glacier (PIG) in West Antarctica, and offers the option of participating in Antarctic fieldwork.

The overarching aim of the studentship is to characterise the nature and dynamics of the basal boundary across the Pine Island Glacier system, encompassing the ice catchment inland of the grounding line and the deglaciated seafloor topography downstream of the grounding line. It will provide three key deliverables designed to complement the iSTAR programme and which are of significance to the wider issue of ice sheet stability:

D1. Geophysically-derived data products that provide information on the spatial distribution of basal conditions across the Pine Island Glacier catchment and their effects on contemporary ice flow.
D2. A quantitative comparison of basal conditions found beneath the contemporary Pine Island Glacier system and those interpreted from palaeo-ice streams, such that the representativeness of palaeo-ice stream landform and sediment assemblages as indicators of present conditions under ice streams can be assessed.
D3. Maps of basal conditions across the Pine Island Glacier system (onshore and offshore) formatted to serve as input and/or validation for modelling the ice stream’s stability.

Students with quantitative skills from a background in geophysics, geology, physical geography, geomorphology or with any physical or mathematical background are strongly encouraged to apply.

A berth on the iSTAR traverse is available for the student to take part in Antarctic fieldwork during the 2013-14 Antarctic field season.

Details of the NERC iSTAR programme can be consulted at:

Further details about the project can be obtained by contacting Dr. Robert Bingham (Aberdeen) [Email Address Removed], Dr. Matteo Spagnolo (Aberdeen) [Email Address Removed] or Dr. Alastair Graham (BAS) [Email Address Removed]

We anticipate interviewing candidates in Aberdeen during the week commencing 29 April 2013.

Funding Notes

Funding for the project is for 3.5 years (42 months) from the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The studentship is tied to the Ice Sheet Response – Ice Sheet Stability (iSTAR) Thematic Programme.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications from International students due to the criteria set out by the funding body.

The start date will be between August 2013 and early 2014 depending on the student’s availability and whether s/he participates in Antarctic fieldwork.

To participate in Antarctic fieldwork the student will be expected to complete Antarctic training for two weeks in September 2013.


Application Procedure:
Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Geography, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please note that you should apply at least 4 days before the deadline to allow us to contact you for further information, if required. All applications up to, and including, the closing date will be processed. Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Robert Bingham with a copy of your current CV. Email: All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit (
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