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PhD Opportunities

This lists details the PhD projects that we are aware of. They are by no means exhaustive and the institutions listed, and others, may well be offering additional projects. Further details for many of these projects are already available on institutional websites. Note that application deadlines can be as early as January, and interviews usually take place during the period January-April.

To add a PhD opportunity please use our online form: Add a PhD Opportunity.

Notices with expiry dates before this date are not shown.
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Institution: Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Turin, Italy
Supervisor(s): Prof. Massimo Delfino (Univ. of Turin), Dr. Emanuel Tschopp (Univ. of Turin), Prof. Paul Upchurch (Univ. College London, UK)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Specimen-level phylogenetic analysis based on osteology is becoming increasingly popular in vertebrate palaeontology. This kind of phylogenetic analysis includes single specimens instead of species or genera as operational taxonomic units, and thus ignores earlier taxonomic identifications based on morphological comparative studies. It is widely used in molecular phylogenetic studies, but rarely by morphologists. More information...
Expiry Date: Friday, March 24, 2017
Institution: University of Bremen, Germany
Supervisor(s): Dr. Jens Lehmann (University of Bremen, Germany)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: Applications are invited for one 75% PhD position (TV-L E13) available at the Faculty of Geosciences, University of Bremen (Germany). The Geoscience Collection belonging to the Faculty of Geosciences, University of Bremen is offering a PhD position in the area of invertebrate paleontology as part of the project "The Anisian (Middle Triassic) Ammonoids of Nevada - An Integrated Approach to Understand Morphological Change". The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) for 3 years and offers a TV-L E13 (75%) salary. More information...
Expiry Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Philip Donoghue (Bristol), Matthew Wills (Bath), Mario dos Reis (Queen Mary London), Thomas Guillerme (Imperial), Davide Pisani (Bristol)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: From Aristotle onwards, it has been apparent that there are discontinuities in organismal form, such that species are clumped within morphological ‘design space’ [1]. These clumps at once help us in attempts to classify but often frustrate our efforts to resolve phylogeny. More information...
Expiry Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Institution: Ghent University, Belgium
Supervisor(s): Prof. Thijs Vandenbroucke (Ghent University), Dr. Poul Emsbo (USGS)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: Job description More information...
Expiry Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Professor Michael J. Benton (Bristol), Professor Emily J. Rayfield (Bristol)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The origin and early evolution of dinosaurs has been debated for decades. Fossils are sparse, and phylogenies sometimes conflict. There are profound macroevolutionary questions concerning the diversification of dinosaurs, the timing, the role of mass extinction events, feeding and locomotory adaptations, and how those early dinosaurs eventually replaced the therapsids as dominant medium-sized to large terrestrial tetrapods. More information...
Expiry Date: Monday, May 1, 2017
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Philip Donoghue (Bristol), Ziheng Yang (UCL), Mario dos Reis (Queen Mary London), Davide Pisani (Bristol)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Traditionally, the fossil record has provided the timescale for evolutionary history. However, some evolutionary lineages are completely unrepresented in the fossil record and the rock record provides an inconsistent sampling of environments through Earth History. Given the frailties of the fossil record, molecular clocks have become the tool of choice in attempts to tell evolutionary time. More information...
Expiry Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017
Institution: University of Bath
Supervisor(s): Nicholas R. Longrich (University of Bath), Matthew A. Wills (University of Bath)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: The Dinosauria are one of the most successful groups of animals ever to evolve. Originating over 200 million years ago, dinosaurs evolved a remarkable range of forms, including agile predators, heavily armed and armored plant eaters, long-necked browsers, and huge apex predators; dinosaurs also showed enormous variation in body size, ranging from just a few hundred grams to over 50 tonnes in weight. More information...
Expiry Date: Monday, July 3, 2017
Institution: University of Leicester
Supervisor(s): Dr Tom Harvey (University of Leicester), Prof. Mark Purnell (University of Leicester), Dr Duncan Murdock (University of Oxford), Prof. Phil Donoghue (University of Bristol)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Project Highlights: Study an undescribed assemblage of exceptionally-preserved Cambrian microfossils Explore the origins of biomineralization in chordates, the taphonomy of carbonaceous Cambrian fossils, and/or the biostratigraphic potential of paraconodonts (depending on the interests of the student) Use cutting-edge microscopy and imaging techniques More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Institution: The Natural History Museum
Supervisor(s): Prof. Xiaoya Ma (The Natural History Museum, London), Prof. Matthew Wills (Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath), Prof. Philip Donoghue (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol), Prof. Davide Pisani ( School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The ‘Cambrian explosion’ some 542 Mya witnessed the apparently simultaneous appearance of most major animal phyla in the fossil record, with a rapidity that vexed Darwin. Many of the most intriguing Cambrian fossils discovered in the last thirty years come from exceptionally preserved fossil assemblages in Southwest China, which are increasingly shedding new light on our understanding of this pivotal period in Life’s history. More information...
Expiry Date: Thursday, August 31, 2017
Institution: Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath
Supervisor(s): Prof Matthew Wills (Bath), Dr Marcello Ruta (University of Lincoln), Prof Paul Barrett (Natural History Museum, London)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: As popularly understood, evolution is largely synonymous with increasing complexity. But is this really the case? The maximum complexity of animals is undeniably greater today than when they first evolved(1). However, the most marked increase in complexity occurred during the Cambrian ‘Explosion’ ~542Mya, which lasted perhaps 20My (a step-like rapidity that vexed Darwin). Two things in particular remain unclear, however. The first is whether the Cambrian marked a unique gear-change in the evolution of animal body-plans (e.g. More information...
Expiry Date: Thursday, August 31, 2017