Doctoral student in geophysics

Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geology

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Subject description

A doctoral student position in Geobiosphere Science is hereby announced at the Department of Geology, Lund University (LU), Sweden. The PhD position will be part of the ERC project “Core dynamics on millennial timescales (PALEOCORE)”. In this project we will use new models of how Earth’s magnetic field has varied through time, based on geological and archeological data, to study ancient analogues of the present-day geomagnetic field and reveal the underlying processes within the (hidden) liquid core of our planet. Age uncertainties of paleo-data are one of the main challenges with this project and a fundamental challenge for paleo-reconstructions in general. To overcome the issue, we will use novel modelling techniques whereby the slowly varying morphology of the geomagnetic field, which we are trying to recover, is simultaneously used to synchronize the different datasets in time. The methods and results from this project will not only be of benefit for our understanding of the geomagnetic field but will also provide important geochronological constraints that are necessary to study, for example, leads and lags in paleoclimate.

Work duties

The PhD research will primarily focus on palaeomagnetic analyses (including lab measurements and modelling) of previously collected sediment cores from Kerguelen and South Georgia Islands. The new data will be important for the construction of a new generation of global geomagnetic field models, developed in parallel. The PhD student will be part of a larger research team here in Lund and the project will also involve extensive exchanges with associated research teams in Oregon, USA, and Bergen, Norway.

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Work environment

The doctoral student position will be placed at the Department of Geology at Lund University. At the department we conduct research over a broad range of geoscience disciplines with extensive collaboration with both national and international institutions. With this collective atmosphere, we maintain a positive and stimulating work environment.

The Department of Geology hosts and is surrounded by excellent infrastructure and professional staff in several support functions. Lund University is a government agency which means that you, as a doctoral student, get benefits including e.g., generous paid annual leave, and health promotion benefits, see

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Additional requirements:

  • When starting, the applicant is expected to hold a university degree (M.Sc. or equivalent) in geology/geophysics or a closely related field of natural sciences.
  • Documented very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • The PhD-project may include lab work at facilities abroad and in the field. It is expected that the PhD student can travel in order to conduct this work.

We are looking for a creative person who thrives in a dynamic research environment. The project requires close collaboration with international researchers and the ability to work independently. The candidate should be able to carry out hands-on experiments both alone and in close collaboration.

The following qualifications are an advantage:

  • Documented experience with programming, data analyses, Bayesian statistics and data modelling.
  • Documented experience of research in the field of paleomagnetism, geomagnetism, paleolimnology.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  3. Written and oral communication skills
  4. Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment

Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LU consist of full-time studies for four years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. Additionally, within this cover letter, we kindly ask you to include a section (approximately half a page) stating the research direction you would like to focus on within the broader subject of Earth Sciences. This short outline serves to demonstrate your scientific interests and creativity and can be different from this project.

The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate (if awarded at the time of application) or equivalent, a copy of the MSc thesis (or equivalent, or a summary if the thesis is not completed at the time of application) and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts etc.). While we ask you to include contact information for one to three references, actual letters of recommendation are not needed at this stage. Candidates will be called for an interview before appointment.

We appreciate your interest in our position and look forward to receiving your complete application.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Science. The Faculty is organized into eight departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

The Department of Geology has a long and successful history of research with an international reputation throughout the entire geological field and offers nationally leading undergraduate programmes at Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. About 40 researchers/teachers and 20 research students are active at the department, which consists of two sub-departments: Quaternary Sciences and Bedrock Geology.

published: 07 March 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.