Wednesday, 12 January 2011

UK:University of Exeter Mathematics PhD Studentship

Under GREENCYCLESII (GCII), the University of Exeter will participate in the work package to improve constraints on terrestrial ecosystem processes through targeted model evaluation. Extensive use will be made of the new observational datasets derived elsewhere in GCII.The Early Stage Researcher (ESR) will evaluate existing algorithms and develop new algorithms for coupled vegetation and soil nitrogen cycling in extra-tropical ecosystems. The general focus will be on the assessment of the roles of nitrogen cycling for ecosystem structure and function, under present and future environmental conditions, and will quantify relevant feedbacks within the climate system.

The project will exploit existing functionality in the well-established JULES model, including the Fixation and Uptake of Nitrogen Model (FUN), the soil nitrogen dynamics model (ECOSSE), and the Ecosystem Demography dynamic vegetation model (ED).

The successful candidate will first conduct a literature review, evaluate the existing, and develop new, algorithms to explore questions such as the role of nitrogen constraints and plant-fungi symbiosis for ecosystem structure and function, including C storage; and competition between microbes and plants for N deposition. Available field manipulation and forest structure data will be synthesised and simulated ecosystem dynamics will be evaluated at both site and regional scales. Evaluation of simulated vegetation growth against forest inventory data will be undertaken with Microsoft Research Ltd, UK. The position will also involve spending periods working at the Met Office in Exeter.

The University of Exeter, through its Climate Change and Sustainable Futures initiative, is at the leading edge of interdisciplinary research into climate change.

The successful candidate will join Exeter Climate Systems, a rapidly growing research centre in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, and will also spend time working with Chris Jones at the UK Met Office in Exeter.

Supervisors will be Professor Peter Cox and Professor Pierre Friedlingstein. For informal enquiries please contact: Professor Cox at

Funding* (subject to country-specific cost of living adjustment) €34,500/year plus mobility allowance (€500-€800/month depending on family circumstances); travel allowance (e.g. €750/year); career exploratory allowance (€2000); up to €600/month for participation in research and training activities. PhD will be paid in UK pounds with a fixed exchange rate defined in the contract.

*Funding rate is a gross contribution. Net amount will result from deducting all compulsory social security contributions as well as direct taxes.

Start date: 1st February 2011

For general enquiries about applying please contact Liz Roberts at
Further Details:

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