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New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

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1 PhD fellowship at ICTA-UAB - CALMED Project

Date: 2017-05-30



1 PhD fellowship at ICTA-UAB

Contract Duration: up to 4 years
Contract type: PhD contracts (FPI),
Reference project: CTM2016-79547-R (CALMED Project)


The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) offers 1 fellowship available to candidates who would like to pursue their PhD studies at the Institute. The position is related to the call “Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores 2017” of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO). Deadline for pre-applications is 15th of June 2017, please write to  for further information or to apply for the position.

This call:

Within the current call, the successful applicant will be hosted at UAB Campus (Barcelona, Spain) and will develop their PhD training in the project detailed below:

Project title: Planktonic calcifying organisms in a high-CO2 Mediterranean Sea (CALMED).

Abstract: Unprecedentedly fast, human-derived fossil-fuel burning has elevated atmospheric CO2 with largely unknown impacts to surface ocean organisms. While warming and acidification have produced some observable changes globally and regionally in a physical and chemical sense, associated changes to planktonic calcifying organisms at the base of marine food webs and ecosystems remains very poorly understood. In particular, coccolithophores (phytoplankton), foraminifera and pteropods (zooplankton) that form CaCO3 shells have been demonstrated as particularly, puzzlingly, and potentially sensitive recorders of such combined influences. Furthermore, the Mediterranean Sea has been recognized as a global climate change “hotspot” whereby regional impacts are expected to be especially profound throughout the 21st century. Much knowledge is missing however on the nature of pre- versus post-anthropogenic change throughout the W. Mediterranean in particular, and here in the CALMED project we aim to fill these important and glaring gaps with new studies on these 3 major classes of marine calcifying plankton. We will explicitly test the hypothesis that human-induced climate change since the mid-19th century has already borne detectable changes on these plankton groups that are observable through their assemblage compositions, mass and morphometry, and seasonal cycling of both former aspects plus geochemical tracers.

CALMED will exploit a top-down approach in the broader Mediterranean basin, including the NE Atlantic as a form of background, by examining culture and field water samples, sediment traps, surface sediments, and down-core sediments dating back several centuries into the last millennium. This combination should enable a temporally- and spatially-scaled assessment of the major planktonic calcifying groups under the influence of diverse Mediterranean physical oceanographic and associated geochemical influences and features, plus a greater understanding of marine biodiversity changes of the same organisms through a critical time period. The findings should ultimately contribute critical knowledge on a number of outstanding issues in the Mediterranean Sea, which is widely- recognized as especially sensitive to a range of global-scale influences but yet at the marginal sea (or basin) scale.

Supervisors: Patrizia Ziveri and Graham Mortyn


The fellowships are open to truly outstanding candidates with distinguished curricula and proven ability to communicate fluently in English. We expect candidates with studies in environmental and earth sciences, oceanography and biology. Interdisciplinary experience is highly appreciated. Successful candidates will hold a master’s degree or equivalent at the time of recruitment and had courses in statistics and research methods.

Eligibility criteria:

Applicants should meet the requirements for PhD call “contratos predoctorales” 2017 by MINECO. As the call has not been published yet (expected month: June-July 2017), as basis you may read the call from the previous year.

At the time of submission the candidate:

  1. Should have not received funding from the Spanish Programme for Research with the aim to pursue his/her PhD studies.
  2. Should be holder of a degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate for the academic course 2017-2018 (MSc Degree).
  3. Should have not been granted any other PhD scholarship with a duration of 12 months or more, and should not have a PhD.
  4. Should be in the position to be legally accepted in the UAB PhD Programme “PhD in Environmental Science and Technology”:

Responsibilities: The selected student would register in the PhD program of Environmental Sciences and Technology Institute at UAB and be ready to start the fellowship in September-December 2017. She/he will be responsible for collecting data for the project and carrying out the dissertation; the thesis will be directed by the supervisors.

Contract terms are detailed in the Call for “contratos predoctorales” 2017 (MINECO). As it has not been published yet, as basis here the main features for the previous call (note that quantities may slightly change):

  • This is a 4 year fellowship with an annual evaluation. The gross salary will be approximately 16.422€ (excluding social security). In the case the PhD is completed and defended in 3 years, the fellowship will be renewed to a postdoctoral fellowship and the gross salary will be of 19.000€ (excluding social security).
  • The programme also includes a travel package per fellow to undertake research visits to other research centers during the duration of the fellowship.

Application procedure:

Interested students should send the application to the ICTA María de Maeztu Management Unit ( by June 10th, 2017 to receive full consideration.  The application should include:

  1. A 1500 characters of interest explaining the student expertise and the reasons for wanting to do research in the selected field.
  2. A current Curriculum Vitae of the applicant.
  3. A statement declaring that the applicant has not benefited from a grant previous to June 2017 to pursue his/her PhD studies of a duration of more than 12 months.
  4. The names, email addresses and telephone numbers of two or three confidential referees whom we might contact in June 2017.

The subject of the email message should have the following structure <”PhD MINECO Application”> (e.g. MINECO Application, Maria Evans, CALMED Project)

The deadline for applications is the June 15th 2017, 8pm. The preselection, including interviews, will take place during the first week of June. Decisions will be communicated to applicants during June.

This is an internal pre-selection of the best candidates. Then, the pre-selected candidates should be ready to apply in June-July 2017 through the MINECO on-line platform as soon as the call opens. The final ranking will be done at the MINECO.

This programme is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).


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