Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

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The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University, Sweden, invites applicants for a PhD position in physical geography,with a focus on using environmental seismology to understand effects of ice dynamics on fluvial geomorphic processes. Start date will be March 1, 2023, or according to agreement. Application deadline is December 31, 2022.

Project description
The Doctoral Network “Studying the Earth’s surface with seismic methods” (EnvSeis) is funded by the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Bringing together 10 leading research groups from 7 countries, EnvSeis supports 12 early stage researchers in the emerging field of environmental seismology, in which seismic methods are used to study processes at or near the Earth’s surface, such as landsliding, river sediment transport, debris flows, and glacial and marine processes. Projects in the network are connected by the common methodology and joint training and networking activities. More information can be found on the project website

We, the EnvSeis network, invite you to apply for several ESR (early stage researcher, i.e. PhD student) positions of your interest and in that case, indicate it in your application (cover letter) with the order of preference. Applicability follows the mobility rules of the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks. Candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the host country for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date. In addition, an extended secondment (at least 6 months) abroad is required as part of the position.

In the project “Climate change impacts on river ice-related sediment transport and erosion” (a part of the EnvSeis network) hosted by the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University, the PhD student will use environmental seismology to quantify the role of ice on sediment transport in different river ice regimes. In high-latitude and high-altitude rivers, winter ice cover and its break-up can have a large impact on bank erosion and sediment transport. Climate change will affect the ice regime by decreasing the duration of ice cover, altering the number of 0° C-crossings and thus ice break-up events, and change the timing of ice break-up/cover in relation to high flows. In order to understand how climate change will affect ice-related bank erosion and sediment transport, continuous monitoring of sub-ice sediment transport and concurrent with ice break-up is needed to compare with erosion and sediment transport processes due to high flows with and without ice-covered streambanks. Measurement of sediment transport and bank erosion under ice or during ice-breakup has previously been nearly impossible due to practical methodological problems and safety concerns during field work. Preliminary studies have proven that environmental seismology techniques can quantify sub-ice sediment transport as well as during ice break-up. Seismic networks will be installed along several rivers spanning a climatic gradient in northern Sweden (60- 68° N) to calibrate the seismic signature of various ice-related processes with field measurements of sub-ice and open-channel sediment transport and bank erosion. The timing of sediment transport in relation to river ice processes will be used to determine the role of different ice regimes on shaping river channels.

Work tasks
The holder of this position will combine direct field measurements of channel morphology change, ice-covered and open-channel sediment transport, and ice dynamics, with analysis of seismic data. Potential field sites will be located close to Umeå and in Abisko, Sweden. The project will include a secondment (research exchange) for at least 6 months at Université Grenoble Alpes (France) with Dr. Florent Gimbert, a stakeholder secondment with the County Administrative Board of Västerbotten, one of the project partners, and a science communication project with Curiosum (science center at Umeå University).

The supervisors will be Dr. Lina Polvi Sjöberg (PI), and Dr. Florent Gimbert (UGA).

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from abroad, or equivalent qualifications.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level within the subject of physical geography, the applicant is required to have completed courses within a first-cycle subject relevant to physical geography comprising at least 120 credits. At least one course at second-cycle level in a subject that is central to the doctoral student's planned specialization shall have been completed, as well an independent piece of work (degree project) with relevant specialization of at least 15 credits. The recruitment procedure for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen Chapter 5 and 7). The requirements should be met at the time of acceptance to doctoral studies.

We are looking for a person with an interest in examining the role of ice dynamics on fluvial geomorphic processes. The ideal candidate should have experience with field work and experience with or a willingness in learning how to apply environmental seismology methods. The candidate should also have an academic background in geomorphology, physical geography or similar field. The successful applicant should further have a good ability to write and speak in English, strong quantitative skills, creativity, power of initiative, independence, good interpersonal skills and ability to collaborate.

Strong merits are knowledge in one or more of the topic areas (fluvial geomorphology, environmental seismology), experience with GIS and statistics, and a driving license for cars.

Evaluations will be based on the application, references, and interviews.

Terms of employment
The employment is expected to result in a doctoral degree and the main assignment for the doctoral student is thus to be part of the research education, which includes participation in the described research project but also to take relevant courses. Teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years at full time or up to five years if teaching and other departmental work is performed. The salary is fixed according to the established salary level for doctoral students.

How to apply
You apply through our recruitment system on December 31, 2022 at the latest. The application, written in English or Swedish, should include:

1. A short (max 2 pages) description of why you are interested in and suitable for the position
2. CV
3. Certified copies of degrees and certificates from higher education
4. List of completed university courses and the grades
5. Copy of master’s thesis and possibly other scientific publications
6. Names and contact information of three reference persons

The documents should be in PDF-format.

If you have questions regarding the position, please contact Lina Polvi Sjöberg,

 The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science (EMG) is both a research and teaching department situated within the Umeå University campus. The department has approximately 150 staff members, of which 30 are PhD students. For more information, visit

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Employment expires 2027-02-28
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-03-01 or according to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-1743-22
  • Lina Polvi Sjöberg, 090-7866190
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 14.Nov.2022
Last application date 31.Dec.2022 11:59 PM CET

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