PhD International Scholarships in Marine Ecosystem

  • Phd
  • £15,609
  • 10 January 2022

We are looking for a student with strong computational skills and a fascination about our natural world and the place of humans within it, to join a large EU funded project SEACHANGE focused on understanding how our marine ecosystems responded to, or potentially drove, major transitions in human history. These transitions span shifts between fishing and farming in North West Europe, Viking settlement of Iceland and colonialization of Australia, to the advent of whaling off Antarctica.

Within the wider SEACHANGE project, exciting new archaeological, paleoenvironmental and ecosystem data will be collected, and we want to work with you to develop and test hypotheses to explain the transitions that these data reveal. Using simplified physical-biogeochemical shelf sea models (e.g. Halloran et al., 2021) together with the ecosystem modelling toolset Ecopath with Ecosim ( we aim to understand how changes in the climate system, local oceanography, and human pressures might lead to reorganisation of ecosystems. Using this understanding together with, for example, snapshots of the marine ecosystem captured through environmental DNA, we aim to better understand how our reliance on life in the ocean has shaped our societies and vice versa, but also to begin to answer the critically important question of how resilient our marine ecosystems are to human pressure and exploitation.

Within SEACHANGE you will be working alongside experts and students from the UK, Europe, Australia and beyond, with opportunities to travel to develop these collaborations. We anticipate that you will learn in a hands on way about the techniques other areas of the project will be applying, while at sea. You will be expected to present your findings at international workshops and conferences, and publish your discoveries in scientific journals.

An ideal applicant would be comfortable solving problems using a computing language like Python, Fortran or Matlab in a Linux environment, and would have a background in numerical science such as physics, oceanography or meteorology, or the more quantitative areas within marine biology or ecology. We would however strongly encourage applications from highly capable and enthusiastic individuals with less obviously aligned educational backgrounds, as well as applicants with professional experience.


Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a scientific discipline. International applications are encouraged.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5  in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.

Alternative tests may be acceptable (see


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Home or International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,609 for 4 years full-time.


Please click the link to apply.

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.

  • CV
  • Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
  • Research proposal (2 pages maximum)
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • Two references from referees familiar with your academic work. If your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to quoting the studentship reference number.
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.
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