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QUADRAT DTP: Source-to-sink dynamics and palaeo-environment reconstruction from a dynamically evolving glacial foreland

School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD

Applications are now CLOSED
Funding
Funded
Reference Number
NBE/2020/01
Application Deadline
22 January 2020
Start Date
1 October 2020

Overview

The pathways of glacial meltwater, from surface ablation through to proglacial discharge, are a key component in understanding the role of hydrology and its influence on glacier dynamics. The trajectory and volume of this meltwater can have both long- and short-term impacts on ice velocity, which in turn play an important role in glacier mass balance regimes. This project will investigate the Breidameryokull (‘Breida”) glacier and its foreland in Iceland. This is a glacier that is currently experiencing rapid ice margin retreat that is well-captured in satellite records. This provides an excellent opportunity for documenting how subglacial meltwater systems transition into proglacial systems and what processes dominate during this evolution.

In this project the student will be exposed to a suite of geological and geophysical methods to understand how the glacier has evolved in the past and what relevance this might have to understanding ongoing and future environmental changes. Sedimentary cores collected from a proglacial lake at Breida will be utilised in unison with the mapping of landform records that will be integrated with repeated ground-penetrating radar surveys that will be calibrated against sedimentological records. Combining these methods and considering the source-to-sink dynamics of the glacial system will provide the student with a holistic understanding of environmental changes in the study area, with the potential to upscale this understanding to other ice masses currently experiencing increases in surface meltwater production, such as analogous outlet glaciers in Greenland. This record will allow a comparison between historical and contemporary changes. These changes can be considered together to refine our understanding of different glaciological and geomorphological processes that evolve during ice margin retreat as well as the impact of an adjacent tidally-influenced water body. Such observations are crucial for helping to calibrate and test numerical Earth-system models that seek to project the implications of future environmental change in glacierised settings brought about by rising global air and ocean temperatures.
The project will provide training opportunities in sediment analysis, geophysics and remote sensing applied to an accessible location. Interest in glacial processes with regard to climate change has never been greater, such that this work will have high research impact applicable to the study location and beyond.

Funding Information

This project is in competition for funding.

This project is funded by the NERC QUADRAT-DTP and is available to UK/EU nationals who meet the UKRI eligibility criteria. Please visit www.quadrat.ac.uk for more information.

The studentship provides funding for tuition fees, stipend and a research training and support grant subject to eligibility.

Project Summary
Supervisor
Dr Alastair Ruffell
Mode of Study

Full-time: 3.5 years


Funding Body
NERC QUADRAT-DTP
Apply now Register your interest

Geography overview

The research undertaken within Geography falls under two interdisciplinary Research Clusters; Environmental Change & Resilience (ECR) and Culture & Society (C&S).

Physical Geography-related projects focus on themes such as long-term landscape and environmental change, resilience of ecosystems, environmental change impacts on heritage structures, and analysis of contaminated lands. Investigative approaches include a range of geo-spatial technologies such as remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), big data analysis and spatial and temporal modelling. Much of our research spans several disciplines, for example projects on the hydrogeology and restoration of bogs, climate change implications for resilience and stability of soil, geoforensics and coastal geomorphology. Funding opportunities to pursue these lines of research are available, including the doctoral training partnership, QUADRAT. Further details are available here: www.quadrat.ac.uk

The C&S cluster focuses on a number of themes, both historical and contemporary, which consider the relationships between human society, spatiality and culture. Two doctoral training partnerships provide relevant funding opportunities for research in these areas: NINE-DTP www.ninedtp.ac.uk and Northern Bridge Consortium www.northernbridge.ac.uk Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to make contact with potential supervisors during the autumn semester.

The four main research themes are:

The Geographies of Knowledge:
Research is focused on the geographies of knowledge, with particular emphasis on the cultures of science. The cluster has expertise on the relationships between science, race and religion since 1650; the historical geographies of scientific knowledge; the cultures of botanic gardens in the age of empire; the reception of Darwinism; the role of climate in debates about human cultures; the geopolitics of apocalyptic thought, and the ways in which cultures of science, technology and outer space are connected to questions of place, landscape and identity in the twentieth century.

Landscapes, Critical Cartography and GIS:
Research consists of quantitative spatial analyses of socio-economic data and qualitative cultural analyses of landscapes and cartographic knowledge from the medieval to the modern period. Critical cartographic/GIS techniques have been deployed to interrogate the veracity of the knowledge universe of the map, while digitally-translated documentary data have been used to re-configure our understanding of medieval urbanism and agrarian economies, as well as the spatial dynamics of religion and the politics of cartographic rhetoric.

Political Geography:
Research is focused on nationalism and regional conflict; critical geopolitics of religion; monumental landscapes and the politics of memory; international relations in a globalised world; colonial and postcolonial geographies of India; the processes of border making, geographies of embodiment and the securitisation of public spaces. This work has been carried out from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

The Population Dynamics of Contemporary Societies:
Research is focused on the population dynamics of contemporary societies and includes census analysis; research on travel to work; employability and labour markets; as well as social and religious segregation particularly in divided cities such as Belfast; the study of borders and external migration.

Mode of study / duration
Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD (or part-time equivalent).

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Course content

Research Information

Associated Research
Both research clusters attract funding from a range of sources including; NERC, EPSRC, ESRC; AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, and JISC. The clusters have developed an international reputation in the themes identified in the overview as demonstrated by an impressive record of scholarly monographs and publishing agenda-setting articles that have informed and influenced research directions within the wider discipline of Geography. The cluster's research themes are carried out over a wide range of different geographical contexts and from the Medieval period to the present. Current research is focused on the UK, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, the Balkans, USA, Canada, Burma and India.
Strong connections exist with cognate disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and with the School of Biological Sciences. Several staff are involved in cross-faculty supervision of a number of PhD projects.
The cluster's research themes are carried out over a wide range of different geographical contexts and from the Medieval period to the present. Current research is focused on the UK, Ireland, Korea, Italy, Israel/Palestine, the Balkans, USA, Canada, Burma, and India.
Strong connections with cognate disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and is involved in cross-faculty supervision of a number of PhD projects.

Career Prospects

Introduction
For further information on career opportunities at PhD level please contact the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Recruitment Team on askEPS@qub.ac.uk. Our advisors - in consultation with the School - will be happy to provide further information on your research area, possible career prospects and your research application.

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Learning Outcomes

Course structure

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Entrance requirements

Graduate
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) £4,407
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,407
Other (non-UK) EU £4,407
International £21,300

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Geography costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

Additional course costs

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Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.

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