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PhD Studentship (fully funded), New Zealand

Organisations: Bodeker Scientific, the University of Otago, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

The student will be supervised by Associate Professor Nicolas Cullen (Department of Geography, University of Otago) and further advised by Dr Greg Bodeker and Dr Jordis Tradowsky (at Bodeker Scientific), and Dr Ian Longley and Dr Jono Conway (at NIWA).

Term: 3 years
Start Date: As soon as possible
Remuneration: NZ$30,000/year + fees
Deadline to apply: 14 November 2018 at 17:00NZST

Emissions of particulate matter (PM), reactive gases and greenhouse gases (GHGs) from industry, transport and domestic activities, degrade air quality in cities, increasing the chances of developing heart and lung related illnesses. While most New Zealand towns and cities fortunately do not experience photochemical smog, for many megacities internationally, smog is a serious health hazard urgently requiring remediation. In New Zealand, it is primarily emissions of PM from wood burning for home heating during wintertime, and fossil fuel use, that degrade the air quality in cities such as Christchurch and Timaru.

Actions to mitigate PM and gaseous emissions require information on emissions sources, which have traditionally been identified using bottom-up accounting exercises. Through a project funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), our team is developing a new approach, based on inverse modelling, to infer PM emission maps at high spatial and temporal resolution from measurements of PM concentrations. Inverse modelling adds value to bottom-up approaches by capitalising on surface observations and a mesoscale atmospheric model enhanced to simulate aerosol microphysics - a  system we are calling MAPM (Mapping Air Pollution eMissions). While the MAPM project formally runs for two years (1 October 2018 to 30 September 2020), funding to support the PhD student has been secured for a full three years and the supervisor and advisors of the student are committed to supporting the student for a three year PhD project.

We seek an enthusiastic and motivated student to work on measurement-related aspects of MAPM. A key question that the student will help address is “What combinations of low, medium and high quality PM measurements lead to inferred pollution emissions maps with the lowest uncertainties and highest spatial resolutions?”. The student will research a wide range of existing and emerging PM measurement technologies and available instruments exploiting those technologies. Under the guidance of the MAPM modelling team, the student will conduct a range of observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) to develop a theoretical understanding of what combinations of instruments/measurements will optimise the derived emissions maps. To provide data to ground-truth the OSSEs, the student will participate in a field campaign in New Zealand’s winter of 2019 (July to August) to collect the PM and meteorological measurements used by MAPM. The focus in the first year of the project will be preparation for, and execution of, the 2019 winter field campaign. Later years in the PhD project will be spent conducting the OSSEs and interpreting the data collected during the field campaign in the context of the OSSE results.

Additional detail on the project is available on the MAPM section of our Current Projects page.

The student will be based primarily at Bodeker Scientific with the MAPM measurement team, but with working visits to the University of Otago, and fieldwork in either Christchurch or Timaru (yet to be determined).

Bodeker Scientific operates as a federation of largely independent researchers who collaboratively work on shared contracts under a commonly agreed company constitution. We focus on conducting high quality research within the time and financial constraints imposed by our research contracts. To achieve this goal, decision-making in the company is participatory with an emphasis on personal responsibility.

As a PhD student at Bodeker Scientific, you will have a high level of autonomy, while also receiving the supervision you require. You will participate in Bodeker Scientific group discussions in the same way that members of the permanent staff do. You will also have many opportunities for personal and professional development and will likely develop a wide network of collaborators over the 3-year course of your PhD project.

Bodeker Scientific is located in Alexandra, known for its outdoor lifestyle which provides excellent opportunities for mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing in winter, trail running, rock climbing etc. Alexandra has a population of approximately 5,400 people. It is in a central location, with easy access to popular locations such as Queenstown and Wanaka. Alexandra is 2.5 hours drive from Dunedin.

We seek candidates with a sound knowledge of atmospheric measurement science with strong technical capabilities and an ability to write and communicate effectively. Previous experience in field work, and in particular atmospheric PM measurements, would be an advantage.

How to Apply:

Applicants should submit a CV, academic transcript, the names of two academic referees, and a cover letter outlining their skills and expertise relevant to this project, and preferred start date. The cover letter should also demonstrate that the candidate meets the entry requirements to the University of Otago’s PhD programme. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed.

Applications should be emailed to Greg Bodeker (greg@bodekerscientific.com) and Nicolas Cullen (nicolas.cullen@otago.ac.nz) by the application deadline. For further information please email Greg Bodeker.