April 12, 2018

Undergraduate research experience placement in Past Climate Change in the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham.

Paid summer research placement opportunity

A funded opportunity is available for an undergraduate student (subject to eligibility, see below) to be part of University of Nottingham/British Geological Survey research project with Dr Matthew Jones, Dr George Swann and Prof. Melanie Leng during the summer of 2018. The work will start on the 16th July and run through to the start of September (8 to 10 weeks of flexible work), and will be supported by a student stipend of £200 per week from the Envision NERC scheme. This is an exciting opportunity to gain experience in Quaternary Science, and a great way to develop your CV while earning some money,

Lake Baikal, in south Siberia, is the World’s oldest, deepest and most voluminous lake. As such it has been extensively studied as a keystone site for present and past environmental issues, such as pollution and climate change. This project will scrutinise the use of Lake Baikal sediments as a recorder of past rainfall amount, using oxygen isotope tracers.

The project will develop a Proxy System Model for silicate oxygen isotopes in Lake Baikal, using a combination of monitored and virtual hydrological data as well as the analysis of existing and new lake core isotope measurements from diatoms. The model will then be applied to provide a quantitative reconstruction of past rainfall variability over the last 20,000 years. Proxy system modelling is becoming state-of-the-art in the palaeosciences for comparing geological data to models of past climate, a key step in testing the skill of climate models used for future projections.

Lake BaikalLake Baikal DiatomsLake Baikal Diatoms

Photos: Lake Baikal (from and some of its diatoms.

During this internship, depending on your interests, you will be trained in the following: Proxy System Modelling, laboratory preparation of lake sediment samples for isotope analysis, isotopic analysis (at the British Geological Survey). The student will be encouraged to write up the project results for publication. Please note that the project does not include any field work, but will include time at both the University of Nottingham and at the BGS (a short bus trip from Nottingham).

To apply send a short (maximum one A4 page) letter of motivation and your CV to Dr Matthew Jones ( by the 8th of June. If you need further details, or to discuss the opportunity, pleas also e-mail Dr Jones.


Please note the following eligibility criteria. Applicants should:

  • be studying for an undergraduate degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree,
  • be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters),
  • be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree,
  • be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (i.e. UK, EU or right to remain in the UK).