PhD position in Geography (palaeoecology) at the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences,...

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 17 May 2021

The University of Iceland invites applications for a PhD scholarship at the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences – Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences. Applications are invited from highly qualified and motivated applicants to take up a new PhD scholarship opportunity to contribute to the research project “Power, Wealth and Pandemic in Two Valleys: Svarfaðardalur, Hörgárdalur and their hinterlands ca. AD 870–1500 (Two Valleys)” funded by a Grant of Excellence by the Icelandic Research Fund. The principal aim of the project is to investigate the development of social stratification in northern Iceland AD 870–1500.

The PhD project will consist of supervisor-guided collection, analysis, interpretation, and contextualization of palaeoenvironmental data arising from field excursions and laboratory examinations of contexts derived from Eyjafjörður area, Iceland.

The position is for three years and it is expected that the candidate can start between June and September 2021.

Supervisor: Prof. Egill Erlendsson.

Field of work

The research is performed as part of workpackage 4 (WP4) within the Two Valleys project, titled “Palaeoecology and land use decision-making in Svarfaðardalur and Hörgárdalur”. Here, palaeoecological methods are used to examine spatial and temporal patterns of colonisation, occupation periods, land use (e.g. grazing, cultivation), resource availability and management. More specifically, the questions to be addressed can relate to timing, speed and extent of colonisation, changes in agricultural emphasis and social structure, environmental significance of the 15th century Black Death epidemic, farm abandonment, and environmental change in a broader sense across various spatial and temporal scales.

The work will include (but is not exclusive to):

  • Fieldwork to select and extract suitable contexts from which to build palaeoenvironmental datasets.
  • Build chronological frameworks for soil/sediment profiles using tephra stratigraphy and 14 C.
  • High resolution pollen analysis of a series of soil/sediment profiles, data processing and interpretation.
  • Reconstruct past environmental, economic and social change, both via palaeoenvironmental data and in collaboration with other members and WPs (archaeology, environmental archaeology, history, geology) within the project.
  • Communicate the arising data and results in relevant peer-reviewed international journals, conferences and seminars.
  • Synthesise research outcomes in a doctoral thesis.

The project will be carried out using facilities at the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland.

Qualification requirements

  • Applicants should hold an M.Sc. degree in Geography, Biology, Geology, Archaeology, or related fields.
  • The applicant needs to be able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Proficiency in both written and spoken English is required (IELTS overall score of 7.0 or TOEFL overall score of 100).
  • Proficiency in both written and spoken Icelandic is preferred.
  • Prior experience with palaeoecological and geochronological work is preferred.
  • Knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, past and present North Atlantic environments and societies.
  • Skills to communicate research outcomes in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and local and international conferences.

Application process:

The selected candidate must send a formal application for PhD studentship at the University of Iceland in due time. Please apply through the University of Iceland website, vacancies . Please include the following in the application: i) CV; ii) motivation letter stating your interest in the project and how you can contribute to the project (no longer than 1 page); iii) certificates of B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees; iv) two reference letters and contact information; v) proof of English language proficiency.

The successful candidate will be enrolled into the doctoral program in Geography at the University of Iceland which is based in Askja , Reykjavík. The selected candidate must send a formal application for PhD studentship at the University of Iceland in due time and be accepted before being considered for this position (applications outside regular deadlines are accepted for this position). Information on how to apply for the doctoral program in Geography at the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences is available here .

Interviews will take place in May and June.

Salary will be according to the current collective wage and salary agreement between the Association of University Teachers (Félag háskólakennara, and the Ministry of Finances.

All applications will be answered and applicants will be notified of the employment decision when a decision has been made. Applications will be valid for six months from the end of the application deadline.

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in consideration of the Equal Rights Policy of the University of Iceland.

The University of Iceland has a special Language Policy .

The School of Engineering and Natural Sciences employs approximately 360 people in academic positions. The School offers an international working environment, with the number of international employees and students increasing each year. Currently about quarter of all employees and graduate students are international. There are around 2900 students at the School, divided into six faculties, including approximately 350 MS students and 150 doctoral students. Research institutes at the School are the Science Institute that divides into the Institute of Earth Sciences and Institute of Physical Sciences, Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences, Engineering Research Institute and the Institute for Sustainability Studies which is an interdisciplinary institute and belongs to the five schools of the University of Iceland.

The University of Iceland is the largest teaching, research and science institute in Iceland and is ranked among the top 300 universities in the world by Times Higher Education.

More information about the University of Iceland can be found here

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Prof. Egill Erlendsson,

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