4-year funded PhD position in Coastal Geomorphology: ‘Digital Twins of Vulnerable Irish Coastlines’

Earth and Ocean Lab, Department of Geography, University College Cork

The Earth and Ocean Lab, Department of Geography, University College Cork, are seeking an enthusiastic PhD candidate in the area of Coastal Geomorphology.
4-year funded PhD position in Coastal Geomorphology: ‘Digital Twins of Vulnerable Irish Coastlines’

The Earth and Ocean Lab, Department of Geography, University College Cork, are seeking an enthusiastic PhD candidate in the area of Coastal Geomorphology. The successful candidate will work on the DETECT project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, which broadly aims to use multiple sources of data (bathymetry, UAVs, sediment type, wind and met-ocean) and modelling such as CFD to create a digital twin framework that can inform policy on various climate-change scenarios. The successful candidate will be based at UCC and will work closely with academics at UCC and UCD.


It is estimated that >50% of the human population lives within the coastal zone. Given the recent surge in energy prices globally, offshore renewable energy prospects are ever-increasing, with considerable coastal developments required. Increased sea level, storm surge and coastal erosion are all projected by 2050, which may result in increased coastal flooding, further erosion, loss of land and increased expenditure for protection measures. Given the length of the crenulate Irish coastline, it is difficult to manually map and monitor it entirely.


This PhD project addresses a key aim of the DETECT project through identifying vulnerable and representative segments of coastline and further developing mapping methods and CFD models. In addition, the project will utilise timelapse, multiscale and multisource mapping data (multibeam bathymetry, 3D photogrammetry and satellite data) and environmental data to input into coastal CFD modelling. This will allow for creating various Irish-specific ‘what-if scenarios’ at a very high spatial and temporal resolution to inform policymakers.


The project will be supervised by Dr Aaron Lim (UCC), Dr Jennifer Keenahan (UCD) and Dr Larissa de Oliveira (UCC). Candidates should hold a second class (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Geoscience, Computer Science, GIS or Environmental Science. Candidates with an MSc in a similar discipline are viewed favourably. Candidates should be strongly interested in earth observation methods, mapping, GIS, coastal geomorphology, fieldwork and computation modelling. They will be expected to participate in fieldwork around Ireland.


The PhD is fully funded for four years, carrying a stipend of €25,000 per annum plus fees. There are additional funds available to cover field /conference travel and other costs.

Applications should include a CV, a cover letter explaining your interest in the position, and contact details for three referees, and be emailed to aaron.lim@ucc.ie.

The application deadline is Friday, 26th of January, 2024, at 12.00 pm. Interviews should be expected shortly after.

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