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Subject: 2 SFI funded PhD Scholarships on the topic of Biogas and Renewable Gaseous Biofuels are available at: The Environmental Research Institute (ERI), University College Cork (UCC) & The Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Grange, Co. Meath.  

Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI): MaREI is a cluster of key university and industrial partners dedicated to solving the challenges of marine renewable energy. MaREI will be shared between third-level institutions in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Maynooth, in collaboration with more than 50 industry partners. MaREI will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, advanced computational models, and considerable research capability in the basic, applied and social sciences. MaREI will educate and train the next generation of engineers and scientists for Irish industry, and will build upon and promote Ireland’s excellent track record in the Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) field.

Concept of Research: Biological conversion of electricity to methane. Storage of electricity is essential to facilitate large scale renewable energy penetration in particular when the source of electricity is intermittent and variable. The concept proposed here includes for converting electricity to a gaseous fuel. Initially hydrogen may be produced via electrolysis. This may be converted to methane as described by the Sabatier Equation (4H2 + CO2 = CH4 + 2H2O). The Sabatier system requires a concentrated stream of CO2. This is readily available from a biogas facility. Typically biogas comprises 55% CH4 and 45% CO2. In order to inject biogas to the gas grid, CO2 must be removed. The Sabatier system can be applied as an upgrading facility while also doubling the methane output (each m3 of CO2 is converted to approximately 1 m3 of CH4).

Project Supervisors:
Professor Jerry D Murphy (jerry.murphy@ucc.ie) leads Bioenergy and Biofuels Research in UCC. To date he has secured competitive research funding of €3M. His group consists of ca. 8 PhD students and 2 post doctorates.
Dr Padraig O Kiely (padraig.okiely@teagasc.ie) leads Teagasc research in forage conservation, biorefining, and methanogenesis by beef cattle. He has published extensively in peer review press and has supervised numerous PhD students.

Ecoventi. Ecoventi (a Northern Ireland based Company) is the industrial partner co-funding these research positions. Ecoventi are in the process of developing a number of digesters based on beets and other substrates. The digesters will be evaluated at laboratory scale in the ERI.

Funded PhD scholarships. There are 2 funded PhD scholarships available. Each scholarship attracts an annual stipend of €18,000 per annum; registration fees are paid separately by the scholarship fund. The duration of the scholarship is 4 years. The scholarships will run from January 2014 to December 2017. Applicants are requested to contact the project supervisors and forward a detailed CV and cover letter explaining your interest in the research. Please mark the subject line of e-mails and /or any hardcopy correspondence: – “MaREI PhD Scholarship”. Deadline for applications is 13 December 2013.

PhD1: Life Cycle Analyses: Supervisor: Prof Murphy

The PhD student should possess a first-class or upper second-class honours degree in civil/energy/chemical/environmental engineering. The student should have a good knowledge of energy systems, in particular bioenergy systems. The PhD student will investigate biological applications of the Sabatier Equation. This will include for desk top studies of the life cycle analysis of biogas production including utilisation of hydrogen as a method of upgrading of biogas to biomethane. Scenarios will include for:

  • a wind turbine on the same site as a biogas facility whose sole function is to produce hydrogen for upgrading;
  • wind or wave turbines at a remove from the biogas facility with hydrogen production only when surplus electricity is available.

The thesis should assess optimal methods of employing biological Sabatier systems through evaluation of scenarios on technical, economic and environmental grounds.

PhD2: Agronomy aspects of biomethane: Supervisor Dr O’Kiely

The PhD student should possess a first-class or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in Plant science, Microbiology, Molecular biology, Civil/chemical/agricultural engineering, Agricultural science or other closely related discipline. Good spoken and written English is essential. The student should have a good knowledge of anaerobic digestion in particular when applied to crops and agricultural residues. The PhD student will investigate optimal methods of ensiling beet and will carry out extensive laboratory experimentation on co-digestion of beet with forage and slurries. The project may include desk-top studies of topics such as biomass availability and cost, value-added used of digestate, and of optimal structuring and operation of a beet-to-biomethane process. The thesis should address the optimal design and operation of systems of producing biomethane using beet as part of the substate mix.


Subject:  New PhD position. Hydrologic and geomorphic effects of river restoration and implications for Freshwater Pearl Mussel habitat.

This research project aims to (a) understand how a river restoration scheme will influence fluvial processes and physical habitat (hydraulic and sedimentary) conditions in the river, and (b) assess the extent to which changes in habitat affect the suitability of the river for freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera). The project is focused on a river in the English Lake District and is funded jointly by Environment Agency, United Utilities and the University of Aberdeen. The project duration is 3 years and will commence in April 2014.

Project background and approach: A diverted headwater tributary is to be reconnected to the main stem of the river in the summer of 2014. This re-connection will help restore natural flow variability and allow the tributary to again supply sediment to the upper part of the river system. These changes are expected to help re-instate more natural patterns of sediment delivery and associated habitat dynamics in the river. By monitoring fluvial processes following the reconnection, the research aims to document changes in the suitability of conditions in the river for pearl mussels; it will assess changes in bed sedimentology, morphology and hyporheic conditions (notably dissolved oxygen) in the reach immediately downstream from the tributary confluence. The re-connection is due to take place in summer 2014, so the project is timed to assess changes immediately following this.  The research is interdisciplinary and represents a major opportunity for a student keen to work at the interface between ecology and fluvial geomorphology. The studentship will provide strong interdisciplinary training, integrating fluvial geomorphology and freshwater ecology. Key skills which will be developed within the PhD include monitoring fluvial processes and associated geomorphic change, characterisation of fine-scale hydraulic and hyporheic conditions, and assessment of the links between physical habitat conditions and benthic organisms. The existence of baseline (pre-reconnection) data for the study reach provides a very strong platform for the PhD. The student will join a highly successful research group in the Northern Rivers Institute, University of Aberdeen (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/nri).

The ideal candidate will have an environmental science background, so graduates with physical or biological science degrees are encouraged to apply. Applicants should have a strong first degree (2:1 or better) and ideally a Masters degree. Knowledge of GIS would be useful, although is not essential. The student will be based at the University of Aberdeen, but will spend short periods of time in the Lake District (Cumbria), as required by the research. All fees and research expenses will be covered by the project budget; the student will receive an annual stipend of £14,000.

Application procedure: Informal enquiries and requests for further information about the project should be directed to Dr Chris Gibbins (c.gibbins@abdn.ac.uk). Applications can be completed online at: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sras/postgraduate/apply.shtml. As well as the standard information requested on the application form, applicants should submit a document summarizing scientific knowledge of the impact of dams on fluvial processes and river channel geomorphic conditions. This document should be a maximum of 2 sides of A4 (font size 11), including references.


Subject:  Please find below a new PhD position in luminescence dating techniques at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. Please circulate it to any potential applicants. The deadline for applications is 1 December 2013, to start in September 2014.

Qualifications/Experience: We invite applications from all countries. Applicants should have a Master’s, Honours or equivalent degree before the start of the program. Candidates should be fluent in written and spoken English. Knowledge of German is not required but international students have the opportunity to take free German courses. For this project a background in luminescence dating, geology, physics, physical geography or Quaternary science is helpful.

Salary/funding: Ph.D. students are supported for the duration of their PhD by tax-free stipends of approximately  15,000 Euro per year. There are no tuition fees, and low cost health insurance is available. Leipzig is an attractive city with readily available housing and a relatively low cost of living.

Start Date and Application process: Applicants should follow the application process described at http://www.leipzig-school.eva.mpg.de/index.html and indicate interest in this project. The application deadline is December 1, 2013, and the planned starting date is September 1, 2014.

For further information please contact: Dr. Kathryn Fitzsimmons, Department of Human Evolution, MPI-EVA, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, Saxony 04103, Germany kathryn_fitzsimmons@eva.mpg.de


Subject: Environ 2014 February 26th – 28th 2014, Trinity College Dublin, co-hosts ESAI & TCD

24th Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium
“Environmental Challenges and Solutions”

Call For Papers and Online Registration Opens Today www.environ2014.org

The theme of this year’s colloquium is ‘Environmental Challenges and Solutions’ which provokes delegates into considering how their research either investigates contemporary threats to the natural and human environment and/or contributes towards finding solutions. Oral presenters will be asked to include one sentence in their abstract submission and dedicate their final slide to explain how their research relates back to the overarching theme of the conference.

Registration and the call for oral and poster presentations will open on Monday, 25th November 2013 and closes on 10th January 2014. Registration and uploading of abstracts is now available online at www.environ2014.org


Subject: BSG Post-Graduate Training Workshop (International Association of Geomorphologists IAG/AIG)

CALL for IAG GRANTS for the BSG Post-Graduate Training Workshop

Windsor, UK, 9-12 December 2013

The International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG/AIG) offers 2 grants of 300 (three-hundred) Euros to PhD STUDENTS in GEOMORHOLOGY from EUROPE (except UK) who are willing to take part in the BSG Post-Graduate Training Workshop (Windsor, UK, 9-12 December 2013). PhD students at an early stage of their PhD programme are encouraged to apply. The Workshop is organised by the British Society for Geomorphology (BSG) and recognised by the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG/AIG). The course will provide PhD students with elements of training for research and with an opportunity to meet others at an early stage of their training when they were wrestling with the problems of research design etc. There will be sessions about starting research, designing research projects, methodological issues, modelling, fieldwork problems and remedies, presentations techniques, time management, and workshops for project organisation and discussion of individual projects.

For further information on the Workshop, please visit the BSG website at:

Candidates for IAG GRANTS are requested to submit the following files before 5 NOVEMBER 2013:
Application form (see below); One page CV;  Title and brief summary of PhD research project.
Files should be submitted to: Mauro Soldati, e-mail: soldati@unimore.it.
The selection of candidates will be carried out by a Commission appointed by the IAG/AIG  Executive Committee. Looking forward to receiving many applications!

Prof. Mauro Soldati, IAG Vice-President and Training Officer


Subject: Postgraduate opportunity

Please think about supporting your postgraduate to attend the Windsor Workshop Dec 9th to 12th. (£115 + travel). The content is non-technical, but provides training in project management, group work, dealing with large data sets, fieldwork, lab and numerical modelling. But one of the the most important aspects is meeting other new researchers, finding out how the PhD is working for others in different Universities and often making friends and contacts that can last a career.



Subject: Research fellow opportunity

Trapnell Research Fellow in African Environments University of Oxford -School of Geography and the Environment

The School of Geography and Environment (SoGE) wishes to appoint to a Trapnell Research Fellow in African Environments. The fellowship is designed to provide an intensive and supported career development for outstanding academics at an early stage of their career. The appointee is expected to have a strong research interest in African environments and to have considerable expertise in one or more of the following fields: plant ecology, animal ecology, soil science and geomorphology and have an understanding of broader environmental change issues. Candidates should already have field experience in Africa and will be expected to undertake research visits to Africa during the tenure of their fellowship. In addition they should be prepared to promote field research in co-operation with appropriate African universities or government departments of agriculture and forestry.

The successful applicant will have a doctorate in physical geography or a relevant closely related field. You will have evidence of high-quality research and publication commensurate with career stage that achieves standards of international excellence and the ability to develop a research plan for the period of the fellowship. The appointment will be available for up to 3 years.

Enquiries regarding the post should be directed to Professor David Thomas, email: david.thomas@ouce.ox.ac.uk<mailto:david.thomas@ouce.ox.ac.uk> with application and general queries to HR, email: hr@ouce.ox.ac.uk<mailto:hr@ouce.ox.ac.uk>.

Applications for this vacancy are to be made online. You will be required to upload a CV and supporting statement as part of your online application.

The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on Friday 15 November 2013. It is intended that interviews will be held during the week beginning Monday 25 November 2013.


 8th International Conference on Aeolian Research (ICAR VIII) 


The 8th International Conference on Aeolian Research (ICAR VIII) will be held in Lanzhou, China from Monday July 21 to Friday July 25, 2014. The conference will include technical sessions on the following themes:

  1. Mechanics of aeolian processes
  2. Aeolian geomorphology: desert, coastal and planetary
  3. Aeolian deposits and loess
  4. Paleo aeolian system: environment and its responses to global change
  5. Aeolian dust and health
  6. Desertification and its control: Anthropogenic interactions with aeolian systems
  7. Modelling aeolian transport
  8. Extraterrestrial aeolian research


Soils & Land Use Research Workshops 
Environmental Protection Agency
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 from 09:00 to 16:30 (IST)
Dublin, Ireland

ISIS Stakeholder Workshop: Addressing Soil Data Gaps & EPA Soils & Land Use Research Planning Workshop. 
This event is free of charge but places are limited


The 19th Windy Day, an informal meeting for the UK aeolian research community, will be held by Geography and Environment at the University of Southampton on Wednesday 23rd October 2013. A history of past Windy Day events can be found here. This meeting will be of interest to any scientist undertaking research relating to drylands, deserts, coastal dunefields, playas and processes therein. Presentations covering the application of basic physics, methodological issues and techniques to these environments are also welcome, and presentations by research students are especially encouraged. Attendance is free to all registered participants and will include morning/afternoon refreshments and a buffet lunch.




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