Open position: Researcher on extreme event dynamics in coastal oceanography in the context of global change – Deadline 20 May 2023

A pioneer in ocean science, IFREMER’s cutting-edge research is grounded in sustainable development and open science. Our vision is to advance science, expertise and innovation to:

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With more than 1,500 personnel spread along the French coastline in more than 20 sites, the Institute explores the 3 great oceans: the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A leader in ocean science, IFREMER is managing the French Oceanographic Fleet and its dedicated scientists create ground-breaking technology to push the boundaries of ocean exploration and knowledge, from the abyss to the atmosphere-ocean interface.

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Founded in 1984, IFREMER is a French public organization and its budget approximates 240 million euros. It is operating under the joint authority of the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the french Ministry of the Sea, the French Ministry for the Ecological and Solidary Transition, and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

General areas of responsibility

  • Presentation of the research laboratory

The Laboratory for Ocean Physics and Satellite remote sensing (LOPS) is a multi-research institute unit driven by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD and the Western Brittany University (UBO It is also a laboratory from the European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM). As a research unit, the LOPS develops and participates to research programs in oceanography. The LOPS contributes to develop knowledges on ocean dynamics at different temporal and spatial scales and studies links between ocean and other earth system compartments as atmosphere, land, ice and living organisms. The Ifremer LOPS component is part of the Oceanography and Ecosystem Dynamics (ODE) department.

The LOPs is built on four research groups, including the Coastal Ocean group driving research on coastal environment dynamics along French metropolitan and overseas coasts.

  • Introduction of the open position

In the Coastal Ocean research group in Mixed Research Unit LOPS, the candidate will drive an original research project on the dynamics of extreme events in the coastal environment in a context of global change.

General areas of responsibility

The coastal environment is influenced by rare events sometimes referred to as extreme. These can be particularly intense storms or a succession of storms modifying more or less deeply the ecosystem and its environment (e.g. turbidity); marine heatwaves limiting the ventilation of deep waters and responsible for mortality episodes for certain organisms; exceptional precipitation modifying the dynamics of the river plumes (and their content in particles, nutrients and chemical contaminants); unusual surges. These extreme events, in the context of climate change, are set to become more numerous, more frequent and more intense (Sixth Assessment Report, IPCC, 2023). Even more than the long-term trends (warming, sea level rise), understanding the effects, risks and resilience capacity of ecosystems inherent in these intense events represents a strong societal challenge.

Together with the evolution of high-frequency in situ datasets allowing to observe these events, and with the increase of our high-resolution modelling capacities, it is now possible to better understand the physical oceanic processes that will allow to describe, explain and even predict the responses of the coastal ocean to extreme events.

The challenge is therefore to assess how these exceptional, potentially extreme events, in terms of their frequency and intensity, will impact coastal dynamics and, more broadly, the entire coastal environment. New observation strategies for future networks in connection with the monitoring and understanding of the mechanisms at work in a context of global change will also be proposed.

The person recruited will contribute to the study of coastal physical processes in relation to their extreme manifestations (e.g. impact of storms and heat waves on the dynamics of river plumes, internal waves or upwellings) on continental shelves and their long-term trends. To this end, he/she will explore the measurements of the different Ifremer observation networks, in particular the national COAST-HF network of the ILICO Research Infrastructure, as well as the results of high-resolution modelling. He/she will also participate in the improvement of time series processing procedures from the observation networks and the evolution of measurement strategies (station positioning, studied parameters). This work will be enhanced by scientific publications. He/she will participate in the scientific activity of the UMR LOPS and may be required to exchange and collaborate in particular with researchers from the CLI (ocean and climate), SIAM (ocean-atmosphere-wave interaction, exploitation of satellite images) or IEO (interaction of ocean scales) teams. He/she will contribute to studies on the impact of extreme events on ecosystems or sediment transport by participating in coupled physical/biogeochemical/ecological/sediment dynamics studies in collaboration with the Ifremer/DYNECO and IUEM/LEMAR laboratories for the Brest site and with ODE/UL and REM/RDT at the institute level.

Principal activities

The research will :

  • conduct research on the understanding of coastal processes on the continental shelf in relation to extreme events.
  • participate in a multidisciplinary framework in the study of past or probable extreme events.
  • contribute to the analysis and development of data already collected and participate in the development of strategies for observing these events.
  • to integrate his/her work into current and future regional, national and European scientific programmes and to propose and coordinate innovative scientific projects
  • to supervise students (Masters, PhD Thesis) and post-doctoral students
  • to contribute to the laboratory’s influence through appropriate scientific production
  • contribute to the Horizon 2030 Institute project

Collaborative work environment

– Internal:

Work carried out within the LOPS Coastal Ocean team in close collaboration with the Research and Technological Development unit (REM/RDT), the Coastal Ecosystem Dynamics unit (ODE/DYNECO), the Nearshore unit (ODE/UL), and the Scientific Information Systems for the Sea department (IRSI/SISMER). The 4 research teams of the UMR and the LOPS In Situ Observation Techniques (TOIS) department.

– External:

Work carried out within the framework of regional (e.g. CPER ObsOcean – ROEC-ILICO component), national (e.g. PPR RiOMar) and European (e.g. JERICO-RI) projects in collaboration, among others, with INSU, Shom and all the actors of the ILICO research infrastructure and the COAST-HF national observation service. At the European level, more specific exchanges are already envisaged with AZTI, IEO (Spain), IST (Portugal), MI (Ireland) and NOC (Liverpool, UK), ISMAR (Barcelona), etc.

Required Knowledge, skills, and characteristics

Required education and experience

  • PhD in physical oceanography or geophysical fluid dynamics.
  • First professional experience(s) in the required field.

Required knowledge, skills and characteristics

  • Technical / professional skills

– Scientific research skills in the field described in the job description

– Knowledge of coastal physical oceanography (an interest in bio-geochemistry would be appreciated),

– Knowledge of geophysical fluid dynamics and climate science,

– Skills in in situ data processing and analysis and/or numerical modelling,

– Strong writing skills (in French and English)

  • Personal skills

– Research spirit and intellectual curiosity to understand processes,

– Interest in the scientific context and the themes of the current projects of the ODE department,

– Ability to work in a team and to dialogue with collaborators from other disciplines,

– Strong autonomy,

– Animation and coordination of working groups.

How to apply

The candidate specifies in his cover letter how he collaborates into the team and what he brings in terms of approaches or innovations (1 page maximum).

In a second step, the selected candidates have to propose a research and collaboration project that they plan to develop in the framework of this position, in coherence with the scientific orientations of Ifremer and the Coastal Ocean laboratory (max 5 pages). For this, direct and early contact with the Coastal Ocean Laboratory is recommended; please send an email to

Specific working conditions

Possible participation of cruises in coastal ocean


Deadline for applications: 20/05/2023

All applications are processed exclusively via our website. Interested candidates can apply by clicking the “Apply” button. 

Further details about the opportunity, in this link.

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