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European Geosciences Union

PhD Studentship

PhD Studentship

Victoria University of Wellington logo

Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington ( is a vibrant research-strong university ranked #1 in New Zealand for research excellence in Geology/Earth Sciences. Wellington is the cosmopolitan capital of New Zealand and boasts a beautiful natural setting, from a picturesque waterfront, beaches, rocky coastline and bush covered hills. This project involves close collaborations with the University of Newcastle, Australia, The University of Tasmania, The University of Melbourne, Rutgers University and William Patterson University.


Wellington, New Zealand


Relevant division
Climate: Past, Present & Future (CL)

Full time

Student / Graduate / Internship

$NZD 27,500

Preferred education

Application deadline
Open until the position is filled

4 January 2020

Job description

PhD Opportunities at Victoria University of Wellington: Tropical South Pacific Palaeoclimate

How did Rapid Climate Changes during the Last Glacial Period Impact the Tropical South Pacific?

We wish to announce two exciting 3-year PhD studentships to be held at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), New Zealand, as part of an International research effort using speleothems to reconstruct the response of tropical South Pacific climate to rapid perturbation.

The South Pacific hosts the largest single component of tropical atmospheric circulation: the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). This belt of storms and atmospheric convection dictates rainfall across a vast tract of the southern tropical Pacific and is a dominant source of water vapour to the entire southern Hemisphere. However, we know little about the dynamics of the SPCZ, especially how it responds to rapid climate shifts such as the unprecedented changes we are experiencing today. To better understand the future, we look to the past; aiming to study how the SPCZ responded to the major climate perturbations that characterized the Last Glacial period (~12 to 110 ka BP). We will use tropical speleothems to reconstruct the position and intensity of the SPCZ, and palaeoclimate models to study the driving mechanisms.

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in geochemistry, palaeoclimate and/or Earth Sciences, including sedimentary geology. The successful candidate needs a strong understanding of climate dynamics and ideally show potential to develop numerical/modelling skills. Candidates will conduct caving fieldwork in the tropical south Pacific, and some technical caving experience would be a welcomed skill. We encourage applications from diverse candidates, particularly those who might be under-represented in this field. The successful applicant will gain experience in a range of cutting-edge geoanalytical techniques and work with coupled ocean/atmosphere climate models. The studentship provides stipend, fees and covers all research costs, including travel to work with team members located in Australia and the USA.

How to apply

Applications consist of: 1) a cover letter; 2) a statement of research experience indicating how the applicant’s experience and skills match the position; 3) contact details of 3 academic referees; 4) a curriculum vitae; and 5) a copy of current academic transcript (certified transcripts will be requested of short-listed candidates). The complete application in pdf format should be sent by email to: The positions will remain open until filled, but to be guaranteed consideration, applications should be received by Friday January 17th. Review of applications will begin early January 2019, with interviews scheduled for late January.