Doctoral Student In Physical Oceanography

Göteborg University
May 15, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Fixed term employmen
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

The University of Gothenburg tackles society's challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract researchers and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

Doctoral position in Physical Oceanography

The Department of Marine Science (https: // www. at the University of Gothenburg has with its broad scientific competence area and its unique infrastructure the most complete environment for marine science and marine education in Sweden. Only a few similar organisations exist in Europe. Through advanced research infrastructure and the clear connection to societies needs and challenges, the department contributes to new solutions for the global challenges surrounding the ocean.

The Department of Marine Science conducts science, education and innovation related to the sea and its resources. The operation is conducted in Gothenburg, at the research stations Kristineberg Center for Marine Science and Innovation and Tjärnö Marine Laboratory, as well as on the research vessel Skagerak. The department has an interdisciplinary width that includes marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, marine conservation and oceanography, and the research area spans geographically from coast to world ocean. Our scientists and students often have prominent roles in international expeditions, from Antarctica, Arctic, and the great world seas, but also work in our newly built laboratories with advanced equipment and complex analyses methods. The department also has a broad education palette, including a bachelor's program, three master´s programs and a Ph. D. education in the marine domain.

General information about being a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg can be found on the university's doctoral student pages.

https: //

Subject area description

The global overturning circulation (GOC) is the largest component of the ocean circulation, associated with a global redistribution of key tracers such as heat and carbon. This circulation generates much of the decadal to millennial climate variability, and may be associated with tipping points, i.e., abrupt irreversible climate changes. Knowledge about the global overturning circulation heavily relies on general circulation models, owing to the difficulty to observe such a global, slow evolving system.

Several key controls of the overturning variability have been identified, including wind pumping in the Southern Ocean, convective activity in the Southern Ocean and in the north Atlantic, interior mixing driven by tides and winds, and eddy activity. Until recently, only coarse resolution general circulation models could be used to simulate the global overturning circulation, but higher resolution simulations are now becoming available. These more realistic simulations are bringing a fundamentally different view about the hierarchy of processes controlling the overturning variability.

In this PhD work, the student will analyse the overturning variability in climate simulations available at different resolutions and identify the main processes that control it. A key part of this project will be to focus on the ocean's center of mass, used as a proxy of the global ocean stratification.

The PhD project will be part of a wider undertaking to understand variations in the strength and structure of the global overturning circulation, within the VR-funded project “Variability of the global overturning circulation in high resolution climate models”.


Education at third-cycle level comprises four years of full-time study, and leads to a doctoral degree.

This PhD project will be organized into two main aims:

Aim 1: Compare the overturning in climate simulations available at two different resolutions.

Aim 2: Identify the hierarchy of processes driving the GOC in eddying ocean- only simulations.

The recent availability of climate simulations with a high-resolution eddying ocean component offers a unique opportunity to investigate the overturning circulation with new eyes. In this project, we will focus on Earth system model simulations produced by the EC-Earth European consortium and used in the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP). The EC-EartbP-HR has an eddy-permitting ocean component at a nominal 1/4o resolution, so it will be compared to a lower resolution simulation EC-EartbP at 1o resolution (Aim 1). To go deeper in the determination of drivers of the GOC, ocean-only simulations at 1/8o resolution with a simplified geometry will be developed and analyzed (Aim 2).

The outcome of this work will be a renewed understanding of how the GOC operates and how it responds to given changes in the climate forcing. It will help identifying the impact of ocean resolution on the GOC variability, helping along the way to build trust in the projections of climate models at decadal to centennial time scales.

As part of your employment as a doctoral student, you may have departmental duties corresponding to up to 20 % of full-time employment, distributed throughout your study period. Departmental duties usually consist of teaching at first- and second-cycle levels, but may also include research and administration.


Education at third-cycle level requires general eligibility and, where appropriate, specific eligibility as set out in the general syllabus for the subject.

The general eligibility requirements for education at third-cycle level are:

  • having completed a degree at second-cycle level, or
  • the fulfilment of course requirements totalling at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits must be at second-cycle level, or
  • the acquisition of equivalent knowledge in some other way, either in Sweden or abroad.
  • To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must:

  • have a master´s degree in a relevant subject area in the natural sciences.
  • have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or
  • have completed a corresponding programme of relevance to the planned third-cycle programme, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.
  • Relevant subject for the planned third-cycle education in physical oceanography or closely related field.

    Assessment criteria

    The selection of applicants who meet the basic and specific eligibility requirements will be based on the ability to assimilate the education at third-cycle level. The assessment will attach particular importance to documented qualifications for:

  • Solid background in geophysical fluid dynamics
  • Experience with analyzing and/or running general circulation models (atmosphere, ocean and/or climate).
  • Solid skills in data analysis, preferentially using Python.
  • Experience with scientific writing.
  • Demonstrated verbal and written communication skills in English.
  • The following documents should be included in the application:

  • A short cover letter written in English, with the applicant's motivation for the position that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria and how the application is well suited for the proposed work (max. one A4 page).
  • An attested list of qualifications (CV) that includes possible publications.
  • Examination certificates and a transcript of courses with grades.
  • A copy of the master thesis (or equivalent). If you have not yet completed the thesis yet, please include a short description of the thesis work with title, abstract and brief overview of results (in English).
  • Employments certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant.
  • Contact information for at least two references that are familiar with the applicant's qualifications.
  • Reference number should be clearly stated when sending complementary documents.
  • Employment

    Once you have been admitted for education at third-cycle level, you will be employed as a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg.

    The provisions for employment as a doctoral student can be found in ordinance SFS 1993:100.

    Initial employment as a doctoral student may apply for a maximum of one year, and may be renewed by a maximum of two years at a time.

    A doctoral student may be employed as a doctoral student for a maximum of eight years, but the total period of employment may not be longer than the equivalent of full-time education at third-cycle level for four years.

    The University applies a local agreement on salaries for doctoral students.

    Type of employment: Fixed term employment, 4 years. Extent: Full time, 100%. Location: Until further notice at the Department of Marine Sciences, Gothenburg First day of employment: August 2024 or upon agreement.

    Selection process

    First a selection based on the qualifications and merits of the candidates will be carried out, and the candidates will be ranked. The highest ranked applicants will be contacted for interview. Interviews will take place either in person or on zoom. Interviews are typically one hour long, during which the candidate presents their previous work, and gets an opportunity to ask the selection committee about the project, the life in the department, and other administrative questions. The selection committee is making the final decision.

    Contact information

    If you have any questions about the position, please contact:

    Fabien Roquet, Prof [email protected] +46 760814868


    Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here: https: // www.


    You can apply to be admitted for education at third-cycle level via the University of Gothenburg's recruitment portal.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete as per the vacancy notice, and that the University receives it by the final application deadline.

    Applications must be received by: 2024-05-15

    Information for International Applicants

    Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

    https: // www. https: // www.

    The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

    Salaries are set individually at the University.

    In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden's regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

    In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

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