Greenland fjord productivity under climate change (GreenShift)

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at the Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Geoscience programme. The position is available from 1 November 2018 or later.

Greenland fjord productivity under climate change (GreenShift)

Research area and project description:
This PhD thesis project will be developed within the framework of a new Geocenter Danmark project: Greenland fjord productivity under climate change (GreenShift; 2018-2021), which brings together experts from the main geoscience institutions in Denmark in sedimentology, biogeochemistry, micropaleontology, and glaciology.

The overarching goal of the PhD project is to reconstruct primary productivity in two contrasting Greenland fjord systems during the Holocene, with emphasis on past warm intervals such as the Medieval and Roman warm periods and the Holocene thermal maximum. Special focus will also be given to the period from the Little Ice Age to present warming.

The successful candidate will be trained in multiproxy analyses of already existing and new sediment core records from the Godthåbsfjord (SW Greenland) and Young Sound (NE Greenland), respectively. Specifically, the candidate will reconstruct past changes in fjord productivity based on biogenic sedimentary signatures of primary producers (biogenic silica, dinoflagellate cysts, and specific biomarkers), alongside with estimates of bulk organic matter including total organic carbon, and carbon to nitrogen ratios. Stable isotopes of C and N will also be applied to assess the terrestrial vs. marine provenance of the organic matter in the fjords. Changes in the diversity and community structure of primary producers will be assessed from the microfossil record of dinoflagellate cysts (including autotrophic and heterotrophic species). As part of the project, sea ice-related productivity will be assessed from the biomarker record, using highly-branched isoprenoids (IP25 and HBI III).

In order to assess the impact of Greenland Ice Sheet melt on fjord productivity, the candidate will compare reconstructed trends for the period 1840-present against a time-series of Greenland ice sheet discharge obtained for each fjord, in order to improve inference models based on proxy-data. 

Please also consult the project website:


Qualifications and specific competences:
The PhD candidate should have a Master’s Degree (3-year PhD programme) or 4-years studies (4-year PhD programme) in Geoscience. A degree in Biology, Geography, Chemistry or Physics may also be considered; but in this case, the student will be required to attend courses in Quaternary/Marine Geology during the PhD studies. Knowledge about micropalaeontology, especially dinoflagellate cyst analyses used in concert with organic or inorganic geochemistry and sedimentology will be considered a plus. Laboratory and/or sea-going experience is also of advantage.

Place of Employment and Place of Work:
The place of employment is shared between the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), with first 18 month employment at GEUS followed by 18 month at Aarhus University. The candidate will also have his/her place of work shared between these two institutions, with about 50% at GEUS, Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark and 50% at the Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University. Supervisors will be Senior Researcher Sofia Ribeiro (GEUS; project PI), and Professor Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz (Centre for Past Climate Studies and iClimate, Aarhus University; main supervisor).

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Senior Researcher Sofia Ribeiro, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark; Phone 91333843; Email:

Professor Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; mobile phone +45 2778 2897; Email:

Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to
Choose August 2018 Call with deadline 1 August 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Geoscience'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Greenland fjord productivity under climate change"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • The project will only be initiated if final funding (from GSST/the faculty) is secured.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.