PhD Positions - Pollen-based Reconstructions of UV Radiation History

Project details

We are seeking candidates for two fully funded PhD projects to develop pollen-based proxy reconstructions of relative changes in UV-B flux within the Holocene. Both projects will involve highresolution sampling of lake sediment records for pollen, followed by FT-IR analysis to determine abundance of UV-B absorbing compounds (UACs) in the extracted pollen samples. One project will focus on the record from a New Zealand site (Lake Ohau) and the other on the record from a site in Turkey (Nar Golu). The aim of both projects is to investigate nature and timing of variations in UACs in the context of changes in solar activity (e.g. grand maxima and minima) and other processes which may impact the levels of UV-B reaching the Earth・s surface. This research is part of a wider project entitled :Unlocking centuries・ worth of surface UV-B radiation hidden in pollen;, funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Ap.rangi Marsden Fund.


Both positions will be based in New Zealand, at Massey University・s Palmerston North campus, in the School of Agriculture and Environment. Depending on the conditions imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, candidates may be required to spend an extended period of time at the University of Nottingham (Sutton-Bonington campus) in the United Kingdom.

These positions are open to all domestic overseas applicants and international applicants currently based in New Zealand as well as those international applicants currently based overseas. All international applicants currently based overseas should be aware that the New Zealand Government has placed restrictions on the borders, which may impact on their application.


Candidates should have a BSc (Hons) or MSc degree equivalent Grade Point Average of 7.5 or higher, ideally in some area of Earth science, physical geography, environmental science or related fields, and be proficient in written and spoken English. Ideally, candidates would have experience with pollen analysis. However, we would also consider those who have experience with one or more of the use of:

  • lake sediment records to investigate Holocene/Late Quaternary climate change,
  • spectroscopy (particularly FT-IR),
  • and/or UV radiation and related atmospheric processes.

Ideally, candidates should also have experience in the handling of large datasets within R or similar packages.

All who are interested in this PhD opportunity should also ensure they meet Massey University・s generic PhD eligibility criteria (including IELTS requirements) before applying.


Scholarship funding is in the form of a 3-year scholarship with a minimum stipend of $27,500 NZD (taxfree) per year and payment of student fees. In addition, research-related expenses and research equipment will be supported.

Application Procedure

To apply, please email Dr. Kat Holt ( with a full C.V. (with the contact details of three referees), a copy of any relevant academic transcripts (i.e. list of completed courses with grades), and an accompanying letter of application detailing how your experience, background and qualification are suited to this position. Shortlisted candidates will be notified within two weeks of the closing date.

Closing date: 12 March 2021

Start date: Negotiable

More information

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Kat Holt (, Geosciences Group, School of Agriculture & Environment, Massey University +64 6 951 6535.

posted: 05 February 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.