Characterisation of the Celtic Sea shelf using digital sea floor geomorphological and geophysical mapping approaches

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship as part of the University of Plymouth (UoP)-University College Cork (UCC) Climate and Sustainability Doctoral Training Partnership (Enabling our regions to meet the challenges, and realise the opportunities, from the climate crisis).

Lead Supervisors: Riccardo Arosio ( and Andy Wheeler (, University College Cork

Co-Supervisors: Martin Stokes and Ian Selby, University of Plymouth

Lead School and Institution: School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork

Primary location: Cork, Ireland

Project Description: The Celtic Sea is a key area for future development of renewable energy and aggregate resource by the Irish and UK governments. Its seabed geomorphology and near surface geology are critical to engineering and extraction plans, as well as informing on ecological habitat mitigation. Surprisingly, its seabed geomorphology lacks detailed and comprehensive characterisation using modern methods, which forms the focus of this PhD. The research will accordingly develop and apply high resolution digital sea floor geomorphological mapping approaches. Mapping outputs will be integrated with existing geophysical and geotechnical engineering datasets to construct 3D sea floor ground models for use by engineers, habitat ecologists and other net zero and blue economy stakeholders. The work on this project will involve:

  1. Training by experts in geomorphological mapping, seismic stratigraphy and sedimentology. Learning to use professional software as ESRI ArcGIS Pro and Kingdom Suite.
  2. Modelling past environments and contributing to a better understanding of the competing fluvial, glacial and marine processes that have shaped the seabed of the Celtic Sea.
  3. Exciting fieldwork in the Celtic Sea aboard a research vessel and participation at international conferences.

The candidate must have an Honours degree in Geology, Marine Sciences or Physical Geography (minimum second class Honours, Grade 1 or equivalent), or a Master's degree in one of those disciplines. Candidates with degrees in other disciplines but with relevant and significant working experience are also encouraged. Some familiarity with GIS is desired. All candidates whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency.

Disciplines: geomorphology, geophysics, sedimentology, engineering geology

Keywords: Celtic Sea, glacifluvial processes, aggregates, seafloor hazards

Application Process

To apply please complete the application form (Personal Details and Motivational Statement, found at this page: and send to the Lead Supervisor(s) along with a CV (2 page maximum).

Please ensure that your CV includes the following information:

  1. Bachelor Degree Title & Specialisation
  2. Bachelor Thesis Title
  3. Masters Degree Title & Specialisation (if applicable)
  4. Details of publications (if applicable)
  5. Research Experience (if applicable)

The closing date for applications is 23:59 on July 3rd, 2022.

The anticipated start date for the studentship is October 1st, 2022.

Shortlisted candidates may be invited to preliminary interviews before a final selection is made of the six successful projects/candidates.

Successful candidates will be awarded a studentship for 3 years which covers fees, stipend (non-taxable stipend of €18,500 per year) and funding to cover research costs (€4000). A discrete annual travel/collaboration budget between UCC-UoP will also be available.

posted: 08 June 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.