Photo by Amaelle Landais

Ca’ Foscari prepares scientists to interrogate ancient ice

Ca’ Foscari participates in DEEPICE, a project that involves an international network of 18 of the best academic and industrial centres devoted to the study of the information on climate which is preserved in glacial archives. The DEEPICE project aims to equip scientists with the knowledge they need to understand the information on climate which is hidden in the deepest, most ancient ice cap in Antarctica. The project has been funded by the European Commission under the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Actions – The Innovative Training Network grant agreement. 

15 remarkable PhD candidates 

During the next few months, the universities involved in the project will select 15 outstanding PhD candidates who will be offered the opportunity to carry out their training and research in a variety of academic and non-academic settings. Over the course of three years, these PhD candidates will acquire a high-level of scientific knowledge and transversal competencies.  

The selection process will take into account the potential of the candidates’ research project, their creativity, their independence, their ability to work in a team, their knowledge, and their experience in communication. 

The PhD programme in Polar Sciences at Ca’ Foscari will welcome a PhD candidate to work on a research project that involves the improvement of laser techniques LA-ICP-MS for high-resolution non-destructive elemental analyses on ice cores. Moreover, three students will be selected from other universities to join Ca’ Foscari for a research stay. The supervisors on this project will be Pascal Bohleber, Barbara Stenni, Carlo Barbante and Elena Barbaro (from the Institute of Polar Sciences-CNR).  

The best European experts 

The network forms a research group which includes the best European experts in this field and can boast a consolidated, successful collaboration in numerous international projects which focus on ice cores and on paleoclimatology. This remarkable academic network is supported by 8 academic and non-academic partners that will host the researchers as they gain specific experience to complete their learning and training. 

The training programme benefits from the momentum created by the project Beyond EPICA Oldest Ice (, which involves a deep perforation in eastern Antarctica and the reconstruction of the climate in the last 1,5 million years. This new perforation will allow the paleoclimatology community to face the main scientific issues related to the role that the dimension of the Antarctic ice cap and the concentration of greenhouse gases played on the dynamics of past climate change.   

Beyond scientific training 

DEEPICE will provide invaluable connections with non-academic partners who will equip the PhD candidates with a range of extended competencies which are now necessary in the world of work, both inside and outside academia. The study of climate change is a complex scientific subject and a long-term challenge for society. DEEPICE will offer a complete education and training programme that will enable the PhD candidates to develop a solid scientific understanding of climate processes and the technical expertise that is required (use of statistics, specialised equipment, climate modelling), as well as transversal competencies and an unparalleled experience in the communication of data on climate change.