PhD Student

Last application date
Feb 27, 2022 00:00
WE13 - Department of Geology
Limited duration
MSc in Geology, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, or an equivalent degree in related fields pertinent to the research project.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

We offer a 4-year PhD researcher position to test the hypothesis that proglacial lakes were important landscape features in the southern North Sea during the Quaternary, with a special focus on the Elsterian and Saalian glacial periods.

The PhD researcher will use advanced marine geological research techniques, such as multibeam bathymetric mapping, sub-bottom and high-resolution reflection seismic profiling, and sediment (vibro)coring followed by a multi-proxy core analysis, involving core scanning (CT, MSCL, XRF), geochemistry, mineralogy, fabric analysis, microfossil analysis, geochronology,... The aim will be to refine the complex Quaternary stratigraphy of the North Sea Basin and identify the presence of glaciolacustrine deposits, map their extent and define their stratigraphic and geomorphological context.

Specific tasks:

  • Conduct an extensive and comprehensive literature review and review of existing geological data;
  • Plan and perform surveys at sea;
  • Process and analyze geophysical and ground-truth data;
  • Formulate additional research hypotheses and questions;
  • Collaborate with (inter)national researcher partners;
  • Write high quality research manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Participate in and represent UGent at project meetings, follow up and deliver milestones and deliverables as indicated in the grant proposal;
  • Discuss planning and report progress to principal investigators;
  • Present research at national and international conferences.

The PhD student will be based and enrolled at the Department of Geology at Ghent University. The PhD supervisors will be Prof. Marc De Batist at Ghent University (UGent) and Dr. Ruth Plets and Dr. Tine Missiaen (VLIZ – Flanders Marine Institute).

Tentative start date: 1 April 2022. The position is initially for one year, but it will be extended to a maximum of four years after positive evaluation. More information about PhD studies at Ghent University can be found here:

The PhD researcher will work in tandem with a second PhD researcher, hired by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ, Ostend). This second PhD project will largely use the same data, but with a focus on studying the Weichselian glacial period (see vacancy on:

Both positions are funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) under the collaborative research Grant “Where are All the (proglacial) Lake seDiments in the NOrth Sea Basin? (WALDO)”. This project has been awarded in the framework of a special programme to stimulate innovative scientific research using Belgium’s new RV Belgica II. We urge applicants to consider applying for both positions.

Job profile

  • MSc in Geology, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, or an equivalent degree in related fields pertinent to the research project. MSc degree is required at the start of the appointment. For diplomas awarded outside the European Union, a certificate of equivalence (NARIC) must be submitted.
  • A keen interest in marine geology, interpretation of marine geophysical data, sedimentology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Prior experience (e.g. via master thesis) in one or more of these topics is desirable.
  • Willingness to participate in multi-day marine surveys, predominantly onboard RV Belgica II.
  • Good organizational and interpersonal skills; a team player.
  • Excellent communication skills in English – both orally and written.
  • Highly motivated to conduct scientific research.
  • Critical and creative.
  • Scientific integrity.
  • Open minded and taking initiative.
  • Passionate scientist, willing to learn new skills and develop excellent research.
  • Willing to work in an international context.

How to apply

Application to be submitted electronically in a single PDF file, by e-mail, to Prof. Marc De Batist (
Application should Include CV, a motivation letter and an overview of study results (transcript of records).
All applications will be assessed after the deadline and shortlisted candidates will be contacted for a remote interview, which will likely take place on 7-8 March 2022.