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Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (SeaChanges)

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
43,130 a year or 47,200 (Family allowance if applicable)
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Role Description


The Department of Archaeology at the University of York has been awarded funding for an Innovative Training Network with the universities of Groningen, Copenhagen, Bologna, Olso, Cambridge, and the Marine Research Institute of the Spanish National Research Council. The project “SeaChanges: thresholds in human exploitation of marine vertebrates” is funded by the European Commission under its Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. As part of the project the University of York is offering 2 fully-funded positions in marine zooarchaeology.

This vacancy offers a 3-year, fully-funded, salaried PhD position under the title “Tracking the decline of salmon in the North Sea basin” (ESR 5). You will be supervised by Dr. David Orton, co-supervised by Dr. Michelle Alexander, and will work with network partners at the universities of Groningen and Oslo.

In this project you will explore the impact of the medieval agricultural revolution and subsequent intensification on salmon through a systematic review of archaeological finds around the North Sea basin, employing ZooMS collagen fingerprinting and geometric morphometrics (GMM) to refine identifications. Potential imports will be assessed via aDNA, working with partners in Oslo, and you will spend a secondment in Groningen accessing Dutch samples and data. Additional guidance on salmon ecology and contemporary relevance will be provided by the Atlantic Salmon Trust, while you will work closely with ESR 6 (sedimentary DNA, Copenhagen) to understand wider ecosystems.


In this role, you will conduct research; assist with the day-to-day operation of the project(s); and undertake a programme of learning and development, in the form of a PhD. You will work closely with the project supervisor to prepare work for dissemination, including presenting research findings internally and externally at seminars, workshops and conferences and assisting in writing articles, papers, reports, etc. for publication.  You will also undertake appropriate administrative activities as delegated by the project supervisor, including: providing support to colleagues and supervising student projects.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

You will have an undergraduate degree in Bioscience or Archaeological Science or equivalent experience. You will also have research experience  in zooarchaeology, bioarchaeology, palaeoecology, or marine/freshwater ecology. You will have experience conducting individual and collaborative academic research, including preparing, setting up, conducting, recording and disseminating the outcome of laboratory experiments. You will have a positive attitude toward and willingness to work with and provide support to colleagues and students including supervising student projects; excellent IT, written and oral communication skills; the ability to develop internal and external contacts; and a commitment to personal development.      

To be eligible to apply for this role you must, at 1 October 2019:

  • Be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience, not including taught degrees) of your research career and not been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the preceding 3 years (mobility rule). Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.


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