2 PhD Fellow Positions in Climate Theory at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark 2021

The University of Copenhagen is currently accepting applications for the 2 PhD Fellow Positions in Climate Theory at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark for the 2021/2022 academic year.

The Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth (PICE), Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen studies the elements of the Earth and climate system – the atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets, sea ice, solid Earth, and the interactions between them.

The positions are posted as part of the exciting CriticalEarth project – “Multiscale Critical Transitions in the Earth System – funded through the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme under Grant number 956170.

You will join a network of 15 PhD Fellows (ESRs), trained to research new methods for assessing the mechanisms and associated risks of critical transitions in the climate. The focus will be on investigating how complex mathematics can be used to predict and avoid irreversible climate change.

The position will offer you an excellent background, working within a strong, cross-disciplinary network among leading Universities and research institutions across Europe and with contacts to industry, governmental- and non-governmental institutions.

ESR1: Project Title: Tipping in the past and future climate

Principal supervisor:  Associate Professor Peter Ditlevsen, based at PICE, NBI in Denmark. This PhD project will simulate climate change during the past glacial cycle. The project will use a hierarchy of models to investigate different types of possible climate transitions that the Earth system has experienced during the last glacial cycle.

The project will use a suite of Earth System Model (ESM) complexity, as well as a theoretical based dynamical systems approach to determining the nature of the transitional behaviour present in the full range of model complexity.

Secondments for at least 6 months at Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) and University of Exeter (UK) will provide training in ice sheet model interpretation and theoretical development of b-, n- and r-tipping exhibited in the climate model simulations.  

ESR2: Project Title: Climate response to greenhouse gas forcing

Principal supervisor:  Associate Professor Peter Ditlevsen, based at PICE, NBI in Denmark. The aim of this PhD project is to identify accelerated climate response to greenhouse gas forcing in observations and climate models. The relationship between forcing and response will be investigated. In the paleoclimate the forcing is taken to be determined by the astronomically driven changes in insolation, while the response is the climatic record.

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In present days’ climate and future projections, the forcing is the measured and prescribed greenhouse gas concentrations, while the response is the observed climate and the climate model projections. The CMIP5 and CMIP6 will be analysed and compared with observations in order to detect accelerated (non-linear) climate response to the greenhouse gas forcing.

A Secondment with Danish Meteorological Institute (Denmark) will provide observational – and CMIP6 archive data. FUB will provide methodology to quantify the response to forcing using dynamical systems.

Worth of Award

This is a full salaried position as successful applicants will be employed by the university.


To be eligible for the PhD Fellow Positions in Climate Theory scholarship, students must

  • Hold an MSc degree in Physics or similar with good results and good English skills.
  • Not have resided and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months. This is in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Unless of course as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention.
  • Be an Early Stage Researcher (ESR). Meaning that at the time of recruitment she/he must be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career.
  • Similarly, s/he must not have been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for research and a desire to learn new skills.
  • Enjoy working independently and as part of a wider network of other students.
  • Be willing to travel and will be required to complete international secondments.
  • If an applicant is applying from a location that requires a visa or permit, then support and advice throughout the process of relocation for them and their families will be provided.
  • It is not an essential requirement, but any relevant work experience or publications (if any) can also be considered in the assessment.
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Job descriptions for ESR1 and ESR2

The positions are available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To work independently, develop and carry through your research project.
  • Attend PhD courses to learn additional skills.
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis with support from your supervisors.
  • Teach and disseminate your research, participate in network related and international conferences and workshops.
  • To stay at a partner research institution for at least six months to develop new skills.
  • Contribute to the everyday activities at the department.

How to Apply

The application for the PhD Fellow Positions in Climate Theory scholarship, in English, must be submitted electronically.

Please include

  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your enthusiasm and background for applying for the specific PhD project.
  • CV with relevant work experience (if any).
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc).
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any).
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any).

Deadline: The deadline for applications is January 31, 2021, 23:59 GMT +1.

Click here for more details and to apply