PhD Student

Last application date
Sep 29, 2023 00:00
LA20 - Department of Environment
Limited duration
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

We are looking for a motivated PhD student (1+3Y) for the UGent funded project ‘MesoMag: a geophysical perspective on Mesolithic land use in complex environments’, which is a collaboration between Ghent University, the University College Dublin, the University of Southampton and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
You will devote a minimum of 90% of your assignment to scientific research as part of doctoral dissertation preparation. The remaining time within your appointment you may be engaged to contribute to the general teaching, research and service tasks of the Department of Environment.

The project:
The aim of the ‘MesoMag’ project is to investigate the presence and environmental impact of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in challenging landscapes (such as mountainous areas) using geophysical techniques. Methodologically, there is a strong focus on environmental magnetism, which will be explored as a marker for hunter-gatherer activity traces. This project starts with two reference sites in the United Kingdom, where the magnetic signal from hunter-gatherer activity will be characterized. Subsequently, geophysical prospecting will carried out in the wider surroundings of these sites. Combined with environmental proxies and archaeological information this will serve as a basis for reconstructing Mesolithic landscapes and hunter-gatherer land use.
In your work as a PhD student, you will be supported by an international and multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, engineers, geologists, and geophysicists.

Your tasks as a PhD student

  • You research and characterize the magnetic signal of the investigated type sites;
  • You contribute to developing geophysical prospecting strategies;
  • You participate in field survey campaigns and conduct lab work;
  • You process and interpret geophysical field data;
  • Together with the project team, you combine magnetic indicators for former land use, with additional archaeological, chronological, and paleo-ecological data as the basis for environmental reconstructions;
  • You report on your research results in scientific journals, and present them at scientific conferences.

Job profile

Profile - Degree, Knowledge, and Experience:

  • You have a Master of Science degree in Bio-Engineering Sciences; Geology; Geophysics; Physics; or similar program.
  • You are capable of conducting field and laboratory work.
  • You have a (European) driving license or are willing to obtain this during the first project year.
  • You are proficient in English, both written and spoken.
  • You preferably have experience with applied geophysics or environmental magnetism (internship, master thesis, ...).
  • You preferably have knowledge of geographic information systems and scientific programming.

Profile - Skills and Attitudes:

  • You work independently and as part of a team.
  • You work accurately and are well organized.
  • You possess strong communication skills and proactively approach tasks and responsibilities
  • You dare to show creativity in solving problems and developing research ideas.
  • You have an eye for detail and enjoy presenting your work.

Full-time PhD position for a period of four years (subject to positive evaluation after the first year). Start date possible from November 1, 2023.
A competitive scholarship amount, in accordance with the salary scales for PhD students of the Flemish Government (
Various opportunities for further training and participation in international scientific meetings as part of the project.
For more information about the benefits of being a PhD student at UGent, please visit:

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Philippe De Smedt (, +32(0)9 264 60 56).

How to apply

To apply for this position, please send your application file (as a single pdf) to, including ‘MesoMag PhD’ in the email subject.
This pdf-file should include:
1) a motivation letter;
2) your CV;
3) copy of your diploma (if already in your possession);
4) an overview of your study results, listing all courses and the grades obtained for these;
5) contact information of two references (e.g., MSc thesis supervisor);
6) If you have a foreign diploma, provide evidence of English language proficiency.
Candidates that pass pre-selection through CV-screening, will receive further instructions on the selection process and will be invited for a job interview (live or online). Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.