Analysis of Long-term Trends in Water Framework Directive (WFD) Benthic Invertebrates Quality Element in transitional and Coastal Waterbodies Across Ireland via EURAXESS

Atlantic Technological University (ATU)

Galway, Ireland 🇮🇪

Job Information

Organisation/Company: Atlantic Technological University

Department: Marine and Freshwater Research Centre

Research Field: Biological sciences » Biodiversity

Researcher Profile: First Stage Researcher (R1)

Country: Ireland

Application Deadline: 08/02/2023 – 12:00 (Europe/Dublin)

Type of Contract: Other

Job Status: Full-time

Hours Per Week: 39

Offer Starting Date: 1/5/2023

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?: Not funded by an EU programme

Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?: No

Offer Description

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a suitably qualified and strongly motivated graduate to undertake an MSc (24 months) as part of a collaboration between the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC) located in the ATU and the Marine Institute.

The purpose of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to attain and maintain good ecological quality status (water quality) for coastal and transitional waters. Water quality is monitored through the assessment of a variety of proxies or Quality Elements such as benthic invertebrates, phytoplankton and water nutrient concentrations. The WFD benthic invertebrate Quality Element has been monitored in designated waterbodies (n≈60) across Ireland since 2013 with biological and environmental data collected from approximately 3,500 sampling stations over this period. A large long-term dataset now exists which, once analysed in detail, will help elucidate spatial and temporal trends in the benthic invertebrate Quality Element and water quality across Ireland.

The project will aim to:

 Describe long-term trends in benthic invertebrate Quality Element across Ireland using biotope mapping (ArcGIS) and multivariate analyses (Primer v7).

 Compare and contrast differing trends within and across waterbodies and regions.

 Carry out detailed assessment defining the relationship between ecological status and different invertebrate community constituents.

 Assess the relationship between the benthic invertebrate, microplastics and other Quality Elements in space and time.

 Incorporate Microplastic (MP) data (old and new) from coastal sediments as a new environmental variable to compare to water quality status assigned.


Research Field: Biological sciences » Biodiversity

Education Level: Bachelor Degree or equivalent


Demonstrated experience in statistical software packages PRIMER, ArcGIS, and knowledge of benthic ecology and microplastics would be an advantage, although training will be provided.

A full clean driving licence is desirable.

The candidate will be expected to work on their own initiative and be willing to acquire the broader skills necessary for the successful completion of an MSc project.LanguagesENGLISHLevelExcellentResearch FieldBiological sciences » BiodiversityYears of Research Experience1 – 4

Additional Information


Scholarships will be up to €27,500 per annum (maximum funding of €55,000 over two years). This amount comprises a maintenance award of €18,500 (Irish Research Council rate effective 1-Jan-21) to the student as well as payment of fees to the host higher education institution (HEI). Postgraduate fees for EU students will be covered by the project. The maximum fees payable to the HEI will be €6,000 per annum.

Please Note: Candidates from outside the EU are eligible to apply, but will be expected to provide evidence of sources of additional funds to cover excesses associated with Non-EU fees.

The scholarship award also includes a budget of up to €3,000 per annum for eligible research costs (travel & subsistence, publication costs, consumables and other costs e.g. laptop) for the sole use of the student, and are payable on a reimbursement basis direct to the host institution where the postgraduate student (scholar) is registered. There are no overheads payable on the scholarship. Publication costs are intended to cover publications on which the scholar is listed as first author and are published under Open Access. Scholars can also apply for additional funding under the Marine Institute’s Networking Initiative, which is an annual call.

Eligibility criteria

The successful candidate will hold an Honours Degree (minimum 2:2, but 2:1 or higher is desirable) in a cognate discipline (Marine Biology, Zoology, Ecology or a related discipline).

Selection process

Applicants should submit: – Curriculum Vitae (to include 2 referees) – A copy of transcript of results – A Personal Statement (max 1 page) outlining:

o How you meet the requirements of the position

o Why you would like to pursue this MSc research programme.

Applications must be submitted to e-mail address only. Please ensure all documents are emailed as a single Word or PDF file.

Interviews will be carried out following shortlisting of candidates who meet the criteria. 

Additional comments

For further information on the project, please contact: Dr Fiona Kavanagh ( or Dr Francis O’Beirn ( for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available: 1

Company/Institute: Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Galway

Country: Ireland

City: Galway

Street: Atlantic Technological University

Where to apply

E-mail Research:


City: Galway

Street: Atlantic Technological University, Old Dublin Road, Galway

Postal Code: H91 T8NW






IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development