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The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,500 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.
For section 3.2 Organic Geochemistry (department "Geochemistry"), we are looking for a:

PhD student (f_m_x): Organic-Inorganic Interactions in Kupferschiefer - How did organic matter control mineralization

Reference Number 8346

We seek a highly motivated PhD candidate to examine the impact of organic matter (OM) on ore forming processes of Cu, Zn and Pb sulphides in the Permian “Kupferschiefer system”. Having largely not been overprinted by elevated thermal stress, the Kupferschiefer in Germany and Poland represents an ideal natural laboratory for geochemical investigations of organic-inorganic interactions.

This project will aim at characterizing and quantifying the effect of OM on mineralization processes, with a focus on polar organic compounds. The candidate will combine standardized organic geochemical techniques (e.g., GC, GC-MS) with up-to date advanced analytical methods like Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS). The data of the proposed multi-proxy approach will fill a fundamental gap in studies that largely lack microscale-resolved analyses of organic-inorganic interactions. 

As a doctoral researcher (f_m_x), your challenges will be to conduct a broad spectrum of different organic geochemical analyses. In particular, you will exploit the composition and the stable carbon and hydrogen isotope signatures of a variety of compounds (e.g., biomarkers, n-alkanes, polar compounds) to detect changes in OM alteration in dependence on ore mineralization. In addition, microscopic analyses will be used to characterize the rock matrix. 

Your responsibilities:

  • Prepare Kupferschiefer sediments for organo-chemical analyses
  • Determine composition and stable isotopic signature of hydrocarbons (e.g., biomarkers) and polar compounds to trace changes by Cu, Pb and Zn mineralization
  • Carry out microscopic analyses
  • Integrate all results to obtain a detailed understanding of the mineralizing processes that alter the organic carbon quantity and composition
  • Publish key results in international journals and present them at scientific meetings

Your qualifications:

  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in geosciences (geology, geochemistry, or related fields) or chemistry
  • An ability to quickly grasp scientific concepts and place detailed information and observations in a wider context
  • A talent for combining techniques and insights from different disciplines, and a keen interest in organic geochemistry and ore geology
  • Experience in organic geochemical analysis is an advantage
  • Very good English skills, both written and spoken
  • High motivation and creativity geared towards result-oriented, structured and independent results
  • Capacity for interdisciplinary and international team-work and excellent communication skill

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre 
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Start date: 1st January 2024
Fixed-term: 3 years
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 5th November 2023. Please use our online application form only.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at]gfz-potsdam.de, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]gfz-potsdam.de.

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Dr. Hans-Martin Schulz either via email at schulzhm@gfz-potsdam.de or phone +49 (0)331-6264 1789. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

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