Postdoctoral Researcher
Acoustic noise modelling in Irish waters Earth & Ocean sciences, School of Natural Sciences NUI Galway

Ref. No. NUIG 015-20

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full time, fixed term position as a Postdoctoral Researcher with Earth and Ocean Sciences at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This position is funded through an industry project (with RPS Ltd.) and is available from 01 May 2020 or sooner if possible for 21 months.

The Irish continental margin is of interest for oil and gas exploration, but is also an area of significant ecological activity affected by anthropogenic sourced noise. The Government has presented guidelines which address sound from seismic surveys that may have adverse impacts on marine mammals. Before a survey can be undertaken, the operator must assess the effects of underwater noise to minimise impacts on marine life. As noise propagation in the ocean is complex, this has led to a conservative approach to estimating noise levels in the water column, so accurate physics-based numerical modelling of underwater noise is required. Therefore the outcome of this research is to create a functional 3-D model that will predict underwater noise levels for a given seismic source, taking into account factors such as bathymetry, seabed structure and seasonal oceanographic conditions relevant for the Irish continental margin. The numerical modelling will use COMSOL Multiphysics with Acoustic Module, and the successful candidate will develop a model in preparation for later implementation on a high performance computer based in NUI Galway. The modelling will be validated with existing data from a 3-D seismic survey.

Job Description:

The successful candidate will have experience in numerical modelling, preferably with COMSOL. They will work with the project partners to implement COMSOL in preparation for implementation on a high performance computing system, and develop a preliminary 3D model over a selected range of bathymetric and oceanographic conditions to provide a measure of variability of noise levels for typical seismic activities, The successful candidate will also be expected to publish the research and write a scoping study for the development of a fully-validated noise model for the Irish continental margin using high performance computing resources.

Duties: The successful candidate will be expected to;

  • Set up the COMSOL and other associated software required in collaboration with NUIG and RPS researchers liaising with experienced COMSOL modelling technicians
  • Utilise collated existing oceanographic, bathymetric and acoustic source noise data to build a simple 3D model to test COMSOL performance against existing seismic noise data
  • Assess the model performance and write a scoping study/report for the development of a more extensive 3D acoustic noise model using high performance computing
  • Publicise the results of the research at international conferences and research journals

Qualifications/Skills required:

Essential Requirements:

  • PhD with a physics-based modelling component in a subject relevant to acoustic science
  • Experience in marine or acoustic/seismic research
  • Desirable Requirements:
  • Experience in COMSOL modelling software
  • Demonstrable experience in acoustic modelling
  • Demonstrable experience in communicating and publishing science research
  • High level of interpersonal skills.

Salary: €37,874 - €40,222 per annum (pro-rata - for part time or shorter contracts)

Start date: The position is available from 1st May 2020 or as sooner if possible

Continuing Professional Development/Training:

Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans.

Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway

For information on moving to Ireland please see

Further information about Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway is available at

Informal enquiries concerning the post may be made to Dr. Martin White ( or Professor Colin Brown (

To Apply:

Applications to include a covering letter, CV, and the contact details of three referees should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to Martin White (

Please put reference number NUIG 015-20 in subject line of e-mail application.

Or by post to: Martin White, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Quadrangle, NUI Galway, H91 TK33

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 p.m. (Irish Time), Monday, 24th February 2020

All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment

National University of Ireland, Galway is an equal opportunities employer.

posted: 06 February 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.