World-Leading St Andrews Scholarship in Earth Sciences
The University of St Andrews is pleased to offer a full scholarship funded by St Leonard’s Postgraduate College, to support an exceptional student undertaking doctoral research in the following project:
Rapid CO2 and Climate Change in the Southern Ocean
The Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in the regulation of atmospheric CO2 and climate. This is driven by its unique circulation, which brings water from the vast store of CO2 in the ocean’s abyss to the surface, allowing exchange with the atmosphere. Changes in the Southern Ocean’s circulation are invoked to drive major CO2 change over the ice ages and will likely dictate future uptake of fossil fuel CO2. However there are currently almost no data that allow us to test these hypotheses of how Southern Ocean CO2 changed in the past, and models disagree on how it may change in the future.
The aim of this project is to understand how the Southern Ocean’s CO2 and circulation changed over rapid climate change events during the last ice age. This doctoral project will bring together world-leading expertise at St Andrews in reconstructions of past CO2, observations of modern CO2 and circulation, and modelling of ocean circulation, united through the umbrella of the Scottish Oceans Institute. Ultimately this will help solve the mysteries of CO2 change in Earth’s past, and improve understanding of the role of the Southern Ocean in global CO2 and climate change in our future.
Specifically the student will:
- make the first reconstructions of Southern Ocean CO2 storage and release during the rapid climate change events of the last ice age, by measuring the boron isotope composition of fossil shells; and
- quantitatively test hypotheses for causes of CO2 change using a circulation and carbon cycle model, calibrated against modern Southern Ocean data.
The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr James Rae (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences), Dr Lars Boehme (School of Biology), Dr Andrea Burke (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences), Professor David Dritschel, (School of Mathematics and Statistics), and Dr Jean Reinaud (School of Mathematics and Statistics) and based in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Domicile for fee status
Level of study
Postgraduate Research (Doctoral)
Year of entry
2020-2021 academic year; applicants should be able to start their degree in September 2020, but other start dates may be possible (August 2020, October 2020, January 2021, or May 2021).
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Applicants must not already (i) hold a doctoral degree; or (ii) be matriculated for a doctoral degree at the University of St Andrews or another institution.
What does it cover?
Duration of award
Up to 3.5 years. The successful candidate will be expected to have completed the doctorate degree by the end of the award term. The award term excludes the continuation period and any extension periods.
Value of award
The award covers full tuition fees for the award term as well as an annual stipend payable at the standard UK Research council rate (the 2019-2020 annual rate is £15,009).
Tuition or maintenance award
Tuition and maintenance.
About St Andrews
Doctoral Research at St Andrews
As a doctoral student at the University of St Andrews you will be part of a growing, vibrant, and intellectually stimulating postgraduate community. St Andrews is one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world and offers a postgraduate experience of remarkable richness.
St Leonard’s Postgraduate College is at the heart of the postgraduate community of St Andrews. The College supports all postgraduates and aims to provide opportunities for postgraduates to come together, socially and intellectually, and make new connections.
St Leonard’s Postgraduate College works closely with the Postgraduate Society which is one of the most active societies within the Students’ Association. All doctoral students are automatically welcomed into the Postgraduate Society when they join the University.
In addition to the research training that doctoral students complete in their home School, doctoral students at St Andrews have access to GRADskills – a free, comprehensive training programme to support their academic, professional, and personal development.
How to apply
- Apply for admission as a doctoral student. Please see the advice on Research programmes.
- After submitting the research application form in step 1, you will receive an email with a direct link to the Scholarships and Funding catalogue, where you can apply for the World-Leading St Andrews Scholarship.
- Enter the catalogue by following the link in the email and clicking View the scholarships and funding catalogue to apply.
- Select 2020/1 as the Academic Year and click Refresh list.
- Locate World-Leading St Andrews Doctoral Scholarships in the list of scholarships (using the filter box if necessary), click Apply and complete the application form.
- You can also use the catalogue to search and apply for other scholarships for which you are eligible.
As part of the scholarship application you will be required to upload a personal statement. This should serve as a cover letter for the research project application as a whole, and should include an outline of your suitability for the project and why the project interests you. Please include how you meet any specified project criteria, which can be found in the "Eligibility" and "Project Description" sections above.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries about the scholarship application process.
When do applications open?
Scholarship application deadline
16 January 2020
When should I apply for the scholarship?
Apply for the scholarship as soon as possible after you have applied for admission.
When will I hear if my application has been successful?
The outcome of your scholarship application will be available on "View my applications" in Scholarships and Funding by late January/early February 2020.