PhD Student Position, Palaeoclimatology, Switzerland

The Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland invites applications for a PhD student position in the field of Palaeoclimatology. This is a full-time position funded by the Fonds National Suisse (FNS).


The PhD student will work within the FNS funded HORNET project to reconstruct and understand the mechanisms driving Holocene climate change over the Northern Hemisphere.
Current climate models have difficulty reproducing the seasonal and regional nature of Holocene climate change. One explanation is that models underestimate the role of the atmospheric circulation, which has an important impact on regional and seasonal climate anomalies. The HORNET project will investigate this problem by developing a new spatially and seasonally explicit gridded reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere climate change throughout the last 12,000 years based on pollen data. This will provide the basis for investigating the role of atmospheric dynamics using model simulations, modern analogue circulation patterns, and records of circulation modes based on other proxies.
The project is directed by Dr Basil Davis, together with Prof. Jed Kaplan, and based within the ARVE research group at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Candidate Profile

The candidate should hold a Masters degree in climate sciences, palaeo-environmental sciences or equivalent. A strong background in climate science and/or quantitative palaeoecology is required, ideally in relation to the Quaternary period.
An aptitude and interest in the quantitative, spatial and statistical analysis of palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironmental data is essential. Experience in handling large datasets, databases, climate model output and data-model comparisons, transfer-functions, programming and spatial analysis would be an advantage.
English is the working language of the research group, and the PhD will be written and conducted in English. The candidate is therefore expected to have excellent skills in written and spoken English. The language of the University and region is French and the candidate will be encouraged to develop a basic competence in French, although the ability to speak French is not a requirement of the position.


The starting date is to be as soon as possible, and no later than February 2017. The position will follow the standard FNS format for PhD students, being for 1 year in the first instance, renewable for a further 2 years and then possibly an additional year to a maximum of 4 years. Salary will be on the FNS scale between approximately 47-50K CHF.


The application should be in the form of two pdf documents containing the following:
1. Motivation Letter & Full Curriculum Vitae (including grades)
2. Any additional research output in electronic format (MSc diploma thesis, PhD thesis, research reports, proceedings papers or other scientific publications)
We will begin to consider applications immediately, and will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. Applicants are therefore encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Further information

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Basil Davis (
Posted: 14 November 2016