International Research Training Group ArcTrain

General information

ArcTrain Graduiertenkolleg

The Arctic realm is expected to experience a greater-than-average response to global climate forcing. The cascade of processes that connect the Arctic cryosphere, ocean and atmosphere remain incompletely constrained by observations and theory and state-of-the-art climate models often fail to reproduce observed instrumental trends as well as past regional climate response reconstructed from marine sediment archives. The International Research Training Group ArcTrain "Processes and impacts of climate change in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian Arctic" aims to educate PhD students in an interdisciplinary environment that combines the strength in marine geosciences and environmental physics in Bremen with complementary skills and expertise in sea-ice and ice-sheet modeling in a consortium of eight Canadian partner universities. The scientific team with the PhD students in its centre aims to advance the understanding of the variability of the Arctic Ocean and the cryosphere on time scales of decades to millennia and to use these results to robustly assess the impact of projected future climate changes on the Arctic.

ArcTrain is an International Research Training Group entitled “Processes and impacts of climate change in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian Arctic“ It aims to widen the scientific base of the PhD students, to promote their international integration and to foster their project-managment and communication skills. It hosts about 50 funded and associated PhD students in Germany and Canada, who pursue research on global change in the Arctic.

ArcTrain is funded by the German Research Foundation DFG and the Canadian NSERC. The first cohort of students started in October 2013 and the project is envisaged to last until 2022. The group is organised jointly between MARUM, University of Bremen, the Alfred Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven and a consortium of Canadian universities coordinated by the GEOTOP cluster at the Université du Québec in Montréal including Dalhousie University, McGill University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary and Université du Québec à Rimouski.

The ArcTrain research training programme is designed to offer excellent conditions for doctoral candidates to pursue their research and academic training. It provides a unique discipline-specific and interdisciplinary training, including Arctic field course and floating university as well as courses on climate change and its impacts in the Arctic realm. The student community is strengthened by participation in regular seminars and annual retreats with soft-skills (such as science communication) training. Supervision of each Ph.D. student is supported by a thesis committee that includes Canadian experts.

The structured doctoral programme includes reciprocal research residences in Canada and Germany, conference participation and yearly workshops. English is the primary language in all communication and classes.

Research. To ensure an optimal degree of coherency of the research agenda, the proposed PhD projects will be clustered in three interconnected themes: sea ice, ocean circulation and ice sheets. Each theme will investigate processes, feedbacks and variability, combining observational data, reconstructions from marine sediments and modeling. Investigations of processes in the entire Arctic realm are combined with regional studies focused on areas of the strongest interaction between the ocean and the cryosphere, including in particular the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Baffin Bay, Labrador Sea, Greenland Sea and the surrounding ice masses.

Contact Person: Prof. Dr. M. Kucera (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0532 - Marine Geology", "0532 - Physical and chemical oceanography


Venue: MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences
Bremen, Germany



The programme offers fully funded places to 12 PhD students every 3 years; participation as associated student in the programme is possible - it incurs no charges but is subject to a successful application.


For its funded places, ArcTrain accepts undergraduate students eligible for PhD studies at the University Bremen. Further details are available in the advertisement every three years. Associated PhD students must be already pursuing a PhD degree. 

Application Procedure:

For fully funded places at the University of Bremen or AWI – see information on ArcTrain website provided every three years. For associated PhD students – see application documents provided on the ArcTrain website. For associated PhD students, this includes:

  • Letter of motivation (please include an explanation as to why you would like to join the ArcTrain programme)
  • Curriculum Vitae 
  • Outline of the PhD project
  • Letter from your supervisor confirming that:

         a) you have been selected in a competitive selection process
         b) your supervisor is willing to become a member of the thesis committee and share the supervision with other thesis committee members
         c) your supervisor agrees that you are expected to follow ArcTrain curriculum / training programme

Please combine the documents into one single PDF and apply to: Prof. Dr. M. Kucera (

Grant Opportunities:

For fully funded places at the University of Bremen or AWI – see information on ArcTrain website provided every three years. For associated PhD students – see application documents provided on the ArcTrain website.


Academic level: PhD

Qualification: Graduate Certificate
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