Posted: July 10, 2019
Anticipated start: Winter term (January) or Fall term (September) 2020 
Review of applications: begins July 22, 2019
Supervisory team: Stephan Gruber (Carleton University), David Stillman (Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado), Jocelyn Hayley (University of Calgary) and Daniel Fortier (Université de Montreal).

This project will improve methods for measuring and monitoring ground-ice content and permafrost thaw directly. This is important because changing soil characteristics govern the impacts of permafrost thaw on the natural and built environment, but permafrost temperature alone reveals these changes only incompletely. This project will advance (a) the understanding of soil thaw close to 0ºC, (b) in situ measurement of liquid water content in permafrost for tracking thaw, and (c) the geophysical detection of ground ice. This will be achieved with laboratory and fielddeployed Spectral-Induced Polarization (SIP) and other dielectric sensors to estimate ice and water content of soils under changing temperature conditions. Sensors for installation in plastic pipes will be used to monitor thaw in permafrost. Within PermafrostNet, results will be compared with differential scanning calorimetry on small samples and CT-scanning obtained from cores, where solute contents and macroscopic ice content will provide further evidence to support the interpretation of dielectric spectra. SIP work is planned in the vicinity of Inuvik, co-located with other projects. A laboratory setup and field instruments for SIP, three field installations with dielectric sensors in permafrost and funding to work with advisor David Stillman at SWRI in Boulder, Colorado are available

This fully funded PhD studentship will be based at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. As part of PermafrostNet, the new Permafrost Partnership Network for Canada (, it will have an outstanding training environment.

The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in a relevant discipline, e.g., geophysics, soil physics, geography, atmospheric science, environmental engineering or geotechnical engineering, as well as excellent written communication in English.

This PhD studentship is fully funded for twelve months per year. For international students with demonstrated academic excellence, our graduate program usually has competitive additional funding to offset increased tuition per year..

To apply, Send a cover letter, c.v., copies of transcripts, a writing sample, and contact details for three references to Stephan Gruber (