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PhD researcher position, Department of Geology - Ghent, Belgium

PhD researcher position, Department of Geology - Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium
Last application date: Jun 10, 2022 00:00
Department: WE13 - Department of Geology
Contract: Limited duration
Degree: MSc in Geology, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, or an equivalent degree in related fields pertinent to the research project.
Occupancy rate: 100%
Vacancy type: Research staff

We offer a 4-year PhD researcher position to analyze the offshore sedimentary record of past tsunamis and reconstruct a tsunami event stratigraphy for the Shetland Islands.
The PhD researcher will use a combination of marine geological research techniques, such as multibeam bathymetric mapping, sub-bottom and high-resolution reflection seismic profiling, and sediment (vibro)coring, followed by a multi-proxy core analysis, involving core scanning (CT, MSCL, XRF), geochemistry, mineralogy, fabric analysis, microfossil analysis, geochronology,... The aims will be i) to identify offshore tsunami deposits, which may require developing novel proxies for characterizing tsunami event layers in the offshore realm, ii) to map their extent and correlate them with tsunami deposits known from onshore on the Shetland Islands, and iii) to combine all information into a revised tsunami event stratigraphy for the region.

The PhD student will be based and enrolled at the Department of Geology at Ghent University. The PhD supervisors will be Prof. Marc De Batist and Prof. Maarten Van Daele at Ghent University (UGent), Prof. Sue Dawson (University of Dundee, UK) and Prof. Pedro Costa (University of Coimbra, Portugal). It is expected that the PhD student will spend considerable time at the co-supervisors’ institutions to receive specialist training in specific methods and techniques (e.g. diatom analysis) and to apply these methods and techniques to the project data.

Tentative start date: 1 August 2022. The position is initially for one year, but it will be extended to a maximum of four years after positive evaluation. More information about PhD studies at Ghent University can be found here:

The PhD researcher will work in tandem with a second PhD researcher, who will be hired by the Geological Survey of Belgium (Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Brussels). This second PhD project will largely use the same data, but with a focus on reconstructing relative sea-level changes (see vacancy on:

Both positions are funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) under the collaborative research Grant “Storegga and beyond – North Sea tsunami deposits offshore Shetland Islands (NORSEAT)”. This project has been awarded in the framework of a special programme to stimulate innovative scientific research using Belgium’s new RV Belgica II. We urge applicants to consider applying for both positions.
- Conduct an extensive and comprehensive literature review and review of existing geological data;
- Plan and perform surveys at sea;
- Process and analyze geophysical and ground-truth data;
- Formulate additional research hypotheses and questions;
- Collaborate with (inter)national researcher partners;
- Write high quality research manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
- Participate in and represent UGent at project meetings, follow up and deliver milestones and deliverables as indicated in the grant proposal;
- Discuss planning and report progress to principal investigators;
- Present research at national and international conferences.
- MSc in Geology, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, or an equivalent degree in related fields pertinent to the research project. MSc degree is required at the start of the appointment. For diplomas awarded outside the European Union, a certificate of equivalence (NARIC) must be submitted.
- A keen interest in marine geology, working with and interpreting marine geophysical data, sedimentology, geohazards and lab work. Prior experience (e.g. via master thesis) in one or more of these topics is desirable.
- Willingness to participate in multi-day marine surveys, onboard RV Belgica II.
- Good organizational and interpersonal skills; a team player.
- Excellent communication skills in English – both orally and written.
- Highly motivated to conduct scientific research.
- Critical and creative.
- Scientific integrity.
- Open minded and taking initiative.
- Passionate scientist, willing to learn new skills and develop excellent research.
- Willing to work in an international context.
Application to be submitted electronically in a single PDF file, by e-mail, to Prof. Marc De Batist (
Application should Include CV, a motivation letter and an overview of study results (transcript of records).
All applications will be assessed after the deadline and shortlisted candidates will be contacted for a remote interview.
Application deadline
Further information
See vacancy:
Contact email