Job Posted: 28 Jan 2022
Closing Date for Applications: 15 Feb 2022
School: School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and MaREI Centre, Environmental Research Institute
College: College of Science, Engineering and Food Science
Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time
Job Type: Research
Salary: see advert for details


Marine renewable energy (MRE) will undergo a rapid expansion in Ireland over the next 30 years. The Irish government’s stated objectives are to have 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore renewable energy (ORE) in place by 2030, increasing to 20 – 25 GW by 2050. Fixed turbines are the most mature of these technologies and thus the near term 5-year objective (5 GW of ORE) will most likely be met by fixed wind turbines with solid foundations at depths of less than 50 m. Given the scale of this target, the number of devices involved, the quantity of cables needed to connect everything to the Irish grid, there is a considerable need to understand the impacts these developments will have on the sensitive species. There is a substantial body of research investigating the potential impacts of ORE devices on cetaceans and seabirds, however, there are large knowledge gaps pertaining to non-protected species, particularly elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays). Two of those knowledge gaps are: 1) does the electromagnetic field (EMF) generated around electrical transmission cables influence the behaviour of elasmobranchs? and 2) do the artificial reefs resulting from ORE infrastructure influence the behaviour of elasmobranchs? To address these questions, the project will use passive and active acoustic tracking, and use 3D tracking technology to gather novel data on thornback rays and catshark (dogfish) behaviour. In addition, baited remote underwater video (BRUVs) will be used to study elasmobranch distributions, as well as that of their prey.

This PhD represents an exciting opportunity to work closely within a diverse team, to learn from experienced scientists and, to develop their exciting research skills and independence. The candidate will be expected to carry out fieldwork in a challenging marine environment and collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders including state agencies and the angling community.


Applicants must have a good primary degree in an appropriate discipline. An MSc in Marine Biology or equivalent would be preferable, though not essential. Applicants will also need to satisfy the University’s requirements regarding English language ability.

Essential criteria
1st or 2:1 BSc in appropriate discipline (e.g., Zoology, Ecology, Marine Biology)
Knowledge of fish and fisheries science
Ability to work in a team
Excellent communication skills in both written and oral format
Full driving license
Must be comfortable in small boats

Desirable skills
MSc in a related discipline
Experience piloting small boats
Diving experience and/or SCUBA qualification
BE category driver’s license
Experience of ecological and statistical modelling techniques in R


The student will be based in the Science Foundation Ireland funded MaREI Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork, and they will be registered within the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork. The student will be supervised by Dr Damien Haberlin of MaREI (Coastal and Marine Systems) and Dr Thomas K Doyle (BEES). The Scholarship will start on April 1st, 2022, with interviews held early in 2022. The scholarship will cover EU fees of €5,900 and a tax-free stipend of €18,500 per annum for a period of four years. UK applicants will be granted EU fee status due to the Common Travel Area with Ireland. Non-EU international students are required to make up the fee deficit (currently approx. €10,000 p.a.), however, a waiver may be applied understand certain circumstances.

It is anticipated that the successful candidate will start the project as soon as possible after 1st April 2022, with interviews held early in 2022.

As part of a 4-year structured PhD at UCC, the student will also be required to undertake 20 credits of postgraduate modules aimed at equipping students with a range of transferable skills (e.g., project management, scientific writing, outreach & communication, and data analysis).

MaREI Centre

MaREI is a key research centre within UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI), which is an internationally recognized Institute for environmental research dedicated to the understanding and protection of our natural environment and to developing innovative technologies, tools, and services to facilitate a transformation to a zero carbon and resource efficient society. The MaREI Centre is an SFI funded research centre headquartered in the ERI and includes 13 other Universities and Third Level Institutes from across Ireland, has 50 industrial partners, and has accumulated research funding of approximately €60m. It combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main scientific, technical, and socio-economic challenges across the climate, energy, and marine spaces. MaREI is also funded by SEAI, EI, EPA, ERDF, EU, HEA, Marine Institute, DCCAE and IRC, as well as through contributions from our industry partners. Researchers in the MaREI Centre have over 30 years of experience in conducting fundamental and applied research supported by competitively won national and international funding, and commercial contracts with government agencies and industry. MaREI’s strengths lie in the multi-disciplinary nature of its research teams, allowing it to combine insights across areas such as MRE Technologies, Materials & Structures, Observations & Operations, Coastal & Marine Systems, Bioenergy, Energy Policy & Modelling and Renewable Energy Management.

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science (BEES)

The School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science (BEES) is one of the largest and most active academic units within the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science (SEFS) at University College Cork (UCC). Despite its relatively recent formation (2010), it has a long history of teaching and research within the University through its cognate disciplines of Environmental Science, Geology, Plant Science and Zoology & Ecology. This history stretches back to the establishment of Natural Sciences, Geology, and Agriculture at the inception of our university in 1849 and soon thereafter. The school has over 70 postgraduate researchers (PhD, MSc and MRes) as well as 29 Academic Staff, 5 Administrative Staff and 11 Technical Staff. The school is research active, being one of the most successful Schools in UCC in terms of numbers of PhDs graduated and research grant income captured, resulting in productive research of international quality. BEES has been awarded 3 ERC awards and publishes in the top international journals such as Nature and Science.

Further Information

Damien Haberlin; email:

To Apply:

Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae including contact details of two referees and a one-page letter of interest to: quoting “PhD in Elasmobranch – ORE interactions” in the email subject line.

Submission deadline for this post is 15th February 2022.

Please note that the successful candidate will have to meet all UCC requirements.

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