Two MPhil by Research Studentships in data integration for North Atlantic human ecodynamics research

Issued: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:36:00 BST

Project summary

The DataArc Project is producing online tools and infrastructure to enable researchers from a broad range of disciplines to study human ecodynamics in the North Atlantic context. Climate and environments in the North Atlantic are changing rapidly and unpredictably, and local northern residents are being forced to adapt in many different ways. Data from archaeology, historic documents, climate science, and the humanities in the North Atlantic indicate that this is not the first time humans in the region of the world have faced this challenge. Research on the interactions between Arctic environments and people requires linking data from over thousands of square miles, hundreds of years, and multiple disciplines, from climatology to archaeology to the humanities to truly understand these complex interactions. Datasets often exist to be able to address these questions, but it remains difficult to find these data, make them interoperable, formalize conceptual relationships between them, and analyze and visualize them in new and meaningful ways. Investing in comprehensive online cyberinfrastructure (CI) provides the opportunity to link collaborators and data from the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, resulting in the opportunity for a holistic approach to understand the rapid social and environmental changes that occurred in the past and for the creation of digital tools for expanded capacity to engage other users, including students and Indigenous northern communities.

Aims & Objectives

Each student will:

1. Work with DataArc researchers to develop small scale case studies using real data that illustrate the use of the prototype CI tool.
2. On the basis of the case studies, contribute to the ongoing development of a formal conceptual model of the links between the data used by DataArc affiliated groups to study North Atlantic human ecodynamics.
3. Develop one extended case study using data from DataArc repositories and the prototype CI and data model.

Each student will have the opportunity to select the topics of their case studies under the guidance of the supervisor, Rachel Opitz, and in coordination with collaborating DataArc researchers.

Research question

How can data-level integration through a formal conceptual model support interdisciplinary research on human ecodynamics in the North Atlantic?

Research methods

The primary research will utilise data aggregated by the DataArc project, which includes datasets on paleo-ecology and paleo-etymology, archaeology, zooarchaeology, tephrachronology, paleo-climate models, historical documents and sagas. The research will draw on ongoing work by the DataArc team to establish a formal conceptual model for their combined data.  Key methods include ontological and semantic modeling techniques, and a formal approach to research workflows. The project will require collaboration and interviews with researchers from a variety of disciplines related to human ecodynamics.


  • Rachel Opitz, Lecturer in Spatial Archaeometry at the University of Glasgow focuses on landscape archaeology, the rural Mediterranean, remote sensing, and digital data applications in archaeology. Within DataArc, she leads the project’s work on conceptual modeling and data integration.  


  • First degree (at least a 2i) in a relevant subject.

Funding details

Two studentships are available.  Each studentship will cover Home/EU tuition fees and a stipend towards living expenses.

How to Apply

The studentship will commence on 1 October 2018 and will last for one year.

Candidates wishing to submit an application should prepare and submit the following documentation:

  • A statement of no more than 1,000 words explains their motivation for applying for this studentship and outlines their relevant skills and experience in relation to this research project.
  • A current CV 
  • A transcript of qualifications to date (and anticipated results if you are still studying for your Masters)
  • An example of scholarly work up to 5000 words in length (e.g. a full essay or dissertation chapter) 
  • 2 academic references


  • Closing date for receipt of complete applications: **15 January 2018**
  • Applications, with the Subject line ‘DataArc Studentship’ should be emailed to
  • Interviews will be held in late Jan/early Feb 2018. Only short-listed candidates will be invited to interview.
  • Start date: 1 October 2018

Further information

Informal enquiries can be made to

Website links

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