ACEAS Student Projects and Scholarships

From the second half of 2021, a number of PhD research projects related to the research programs of the Centre will be advertised here and on Australian university partner web sites for proposed commencement in January 2022 and beyond.  Applicants will be able to apply for Stipend Scholarships and fee waivers from the participating Australian Universities or from other sources, as well as Top-up Scholarships from ACEAS.

It is anticipated that many PhD graduates will have careers in industry and government, as well as in research and academia.  And, so, ACEAS is committed to training PhD students in their specialist area of research as well as in Antarctic science broadly plus Antarctic policy, governance, and law. The research of ACEAS will have particular focus on end-user engagement and early career researchers will be trained in communicating with those groups and the public through the media (including social media).

If you are interested in undertaking a PhD with ACEAS, please check this page regularly to look for advertised opportunities or contact a relevant supervisor directly.

A.I. assisted subglacial investigations


The overall aim of the research is to understand how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is shaped and influenced by the largely unknown continent beneath it. The work is specifically designed to resolve the flow of water at the ice-bed interface (Mackie et al. 2020), the distribution of soft sediments connected to deep groundwater systems (Christoffersen et al. 2014), and the formation of temperate basal ice with low viscosity (Law et al. 2023).  With a broad scope and focus on drainage basins across East Antarctica, the research will identify poorly understood factors that control the flow of ice on timescales ranging from decades to centuries.

Applications close 1st July 2023

Antarctic oceanography in the warm past


This project will use marine sediment records from the Antarctic Zone of the Southern Ocean to characterise the response of this region during key intervals of the Pleistocene. Focusing on sediment records from East Antarctica, this project will use a multi-proxy approach to reconstruct biological productivity, ocean ventilation and ice sheet behaviour across glacial cycles before, during and after the MPT, and during warm interglacials of the late Pleistocene. These new reconstructions will provide context for the first continuous ice core records extending beyond 1 million years.

Applications close 25th September 2023

GPS measurement of deformation of East Antarctica

Program 1 and 3 I UTas

This project will focus on the analysis of GPS data with state-of-the-art techniques in order to better understand the deformation of Antarctica. It will make use of a new set of GPS sites in East Antarctica deployed. It will apply novel techniques to remove time series noise and compare these to numerical models developed from existing codes and from outputs provided by third parties. These results will be important for understanding present-day ice-sheet contribution to sea-level rise and in gaining fundamental understanding into the interior of the Earth. The project will provide students with advanced skills in numerical analysis, interpretation and presentation.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Matt King


Impact of changes in Southern Ocean sea-ice on the carbon cycle

Program 1 I UNSW

It is hypothesised that the Southern Ocean played a central role in past climate and carbon cycle changes. In addition, the Southern Ocean is one of today’s largest oceanic sink of anthropogenic carbon. The PhD student will perform numerical experiments with Earth system models to better understand how Southern Ocean climate and carbon cycle respond to different forcings, and how this can feedback on other parts of the climate system. More specifically the student will study how changes in Southern Ocean sea-ice impact the marine carbon cycle.

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Laurie Menviel


Developing ways to understand the glacial history of East Antarctica from minerals found in sediments

Program 3 I University of Western Australia

A knowledge of the glacial history of Antarctica is needed to help to predict future effects of a changing climate. This project seeks to develop a more robust technique to better analyse records of past periods as predictors of East Antarctic glacial history.

This PhD project will develop and apply approaches to the analysis of detrital data using a Bayesian probabilistic framework to interrogate models of detrital generation and transport. These techniques will seek to find, for records of past deposition, the most likely state of the erosion and sediment transport system in the past, and in so doing will define the most likely state of the ice sheet and the ocean in Antarctica.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Alan Aitken (UWA)

Ocean processes impacting warming around the Antarctic margin

Program 1 and Program 3 I University of New South Wales

Climate change risks driving rapid ocean warming at the Antarctic margin, with marine terminating ice-sheets locking up many meters of potential global sea-level rise. Change has already been detected via deep ocean warming, land-ice melt, and ice shelf collapse. Yet the associated oceanic processes controlling ice shelf cavity warming remain poorly understood, with only limited observations due to both a harsh environment and a lack of standard data streams (e.g. satellite altimetry and Argo floats). This PhD project aims to use high-resolution global and regional ocean/sea-ice models to examine mechanisms for rapid warming of Antarctic continental shelf waters via both large-scale drivers and fine-scale processes, including mesoscale eddies, tide-topography interactions, and bottom boundary flows.

Primary Supervisor: Prof Matt England

For more details please contact Prof Matt England 

Records of past ice shelves and their melt rates in the Denman Glacier area

Program 2 I University of Canberra

This project will utilise novel isotopic tools to reconstruct past ice shelves and ocean circulation on the continental-shelf in the Denman Glacier region. Ice shelf melt in this area is presently some of the fastest in Antarctica, and the glaciers feeding the site are undergoing some of the most rapid thinning observed in the East Antarctic coastline. The PhD will utilise sediment-based archives collected from around the region to deduce the history of ice shelves in the area, and understand changes in the rate and distribution of sub-shelf ice melt. These outputs will place modern processes in context, and provide critical observations to validate ice shelf-ocean models used to project future change in this critical area.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Duanne White

Applications close 31 March 2023

For more details contact Dr Duanne White