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Department of Earth Sciences

Join us

The Palaeoecosystems group is currently expanding. We are recruiting individuals with an interest in pursuing Masters by Research or PhDs, and are also looking to attract postdoctoral fellows whose research interests complement those of the group.

The Department of Earth Sciences is also recruiting two Assistant Professors, for which potential group members may wish to apply.

Masters by Research

We welcome applications from undergraduate students looking to undertake MScR training.

Potential projects include:

Applications are due in early April, though we may be able to consider self-funded applicants after this date. Durham and external undergraduates may be eligible for the Stephen Mills Scholarship (April deadline: apply here).

We welcome enquiries or project proposals from potential applicants. Overseas applicants may be eligible for Erasmus, Fullbright, Chevening or other scholarships.


Funded PhD projects are typically advertised in Autumn with an application deadline in January. Projects that were offered in 2017 included:

  • Integrating Palaeontological Data in Phylogenetic Analysis – Developing a Principled Statistical Model and Bioinformatic Software for Morphological Evolution
  • An Information-Theoretic Measure of Tree Similarity: Testing the Resilience of Approaches to Phylogenetic Bioinformatics
  • Small Carbonaceous Fossils in the Burgess Shale – Identifying Ecological Signal in Microfossil Assemblages

We welcome enquiries from students who have obtained independent sources of funding. Further details are available here.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

We invite potential Postdoctoral Fellowships with compatible research interests to join the Palaeoecosystems group, and welcome the opportunity to support any potential applications. Besides national and international schemes (e.g. NERC/Leverhulme/Royal Society), Durham offers Addison Wheeler Fellowships and, for applicants not currently resident in the UK, Junior Research Fellowships.

Undergraduate Research

A range of undergraduate-level research projects are available for Durham and non-Durham students who wish to gain palaeontological experience. Bursaries may be available from the Palaeontological Association (Deadline: late February).