PhD position РUme̴ University

PhD student position: Paleolimnology

UmeÃ¥ University – with its 36,700 students and over 4,200 employees – is an organisation in constant change and development. UmeÃ¥ University conducts groundbreaking research within several areas – several in which we are among the best in the world – within others regarded as the leaders in Sweden. We are one of Sweden’s largest providers of education and offer a broad and attractive range of courses and programmes. Our campus constitutes an inspiring environment for everyone that studies and works here. We wish to co-operate with companies and organisations throughout the UmeÃ¥ region and all over the world.

Project description

Model predictions for future climate indicate dramatic shifts in the accentuation of the different seasons. Changed seasonality has strong implications for ecosystems and society, not least at higher latitudes. Despite its significance, little is known about seasonality changes in the past, mainly because the majority of paleoclimatological archives track summer conditions or have low temporal resolution. By combining analyses of diatoms and varved lake sediments, this research project will develop and apply a novel approach to reconstruct changes in seasonality. Sensitivity of diatoms to seasonal climate conditions using surface sediment samples and sediment trap data, as well as combined high-resolution time series analyses of diatoms and varve properties are used to develop a quantitative seasonality index. This quantitative index will be applied to infer seasonality changes during time-periods of interest over the past >6000 yrs, relating locally prevailing seasonal shifts in precipitation and temperature to regional circulation patterns and climate regimes. This project will increase the understanding of long-term changes of seasonal climate dynamics, which is highly relevant in light of recorded and predicted rapid climate changes.

A PhD education is 4 years (48 months) and the PhD-student will get a formal position at the start of the project (Swe: doktorandanställning). Up to 10 % as teaching assistant may be included in the position (then the position will be extended accordingly). The tasks of the PhD education include fieldwork, diatom analyses and geochemical analyses, data analyses using mathematical and statistical methods, participation in courses, writing of scientific papers and presenting the project outcome at workshops and conferences.


The recruitment procedure for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen Chapter 5 and 7). Prerequisites include either i) 240 ECTS credits (Swe. högskolepoäng) of higher education studies of which 60 should be on an advanced level (Master level), or ii) 120 Swedish (old) credits (Swe. poäng; corresponding to 180 ECTS credits) of higher education studies if they were taken before July 1, 2007 or equivalent competence.

The successful applicant should have good ability to write and speak in English, creativity, power of initiative, independence and ability to collaborate. Evaluations will be based on results on University courses, quality of master’s thesis, references, interviews and the letter of intent.


The application should include a short description of your research interests and why you are interested in the position, CV, certificates from higher education, copies of Bachelors/Masters thesis, and contact information for two reference persons. The application may be written in English or Swedish.

Your complete application, marked with reference number 313-653-11, should be sent to (state the reference number as subject) or to the Registrar, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden to arrive August 29, 2011 at the latest.

For more information, contact Associate Professor Christian Bigler, +46-(0)70-280 96 24, email:, or check

We look forward to receiving your application!