PhD Scholarship opportunity: Investigating drainage beneath the British-Irish Ice Sheet: groundwater flow modelling and meltwater channel networks

University of Sheffield - The University of Sheffield Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

The Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (CSE), in collaboration with the Department of Geography (Geog) at the University of Sheffield (tUoS), and the British Geological Survey invite applications from outstanding candidates for one competitive PhD scholarship opportunity. This is is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment), a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool, York and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.


Dr Domenico Baù, CSE tUoS,

Dr Stephen Livingstone, Geog tUoS,

Other supervisors

Dr. Christopher Jackson, BGS,

Prof. Chris Clark, Geog tUoS,

Project description

Ice sheet behavior is largely controlled by bed conditions. Observations beneath the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets reveal significant basal meltwater generation, storage and evacuation, which can lubricate the bed causing rapid ice-flow. Meltwater flow patterns beneath modern ice sheets are poorly understood. Glaciologists have often assumed the bed as an impermeable surface, but the weight of an overlying ice mass is likely to have a strong influence on the groundwater recharge rates, flow patterns, recharge rates and distribution. Detailing the complex aquifer--ice-sheet interactions is therefore crucial for understanding draining meltwater as well as landform and sediment genesis mechanisms.

In this project we will use data on the bed of the British-Irish Ice Sheet, which has fully retreated revealing a bewildering array of meltwater features, to develop a groundwater flow model that reconstructs the form, evolution and drainage of groundwater and basal meltwater over the last 70,000 years.

Candidates with knowledge/interests in groundwater/ice-sheet modeling, glacial hydrology and/or glacial geomorphology are encouraged to apply. Preferred qualifications include: master degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines; computer programming skills; and strong research motivation.


The studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years and covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (at least £14,296 per annum for 2017-2018), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. The studentship is available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.

Application link:

Deadline: 9 January 2017

Shortlisting will take place after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of Sheffield on w/c 13th February 2016.

Enquiries: Venelina Koleva, 0114 222 0054,

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