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PhD Student (m/f/x) in Active Tectonics
The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association we are part of the largest German scientific organization. With around 1,300 employees (including our guests) we develop a sound understanding of the systems and processes of the solid Earth as well as strategies and options for action to face global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and reduce associated risks, and to assess the influence of humans on the Earth's system.
As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities.
The section 4.1 “Lithosphere Dynamics” (department 4 "Geosystems") welcomes applications from highly motivated and qualified students for the position as:

PhD Student (m/f/x) in Active Tectonics

Reference Number 4424

Current research of the geodynamics group focuses on interdisciplinary system analysis of plate boundary zones with a particular focus on the interaction of tectonic mass flux, deformation processes and seismotectonics at GFZ’s Plate Boundary Observatories and has a long-standing research expertise in mountain building processes in the Andes.

The successful candidate will be a young researcher within the DFG funded CRC1211 “Earth evolution at the dry limit” (sfb1211.uni-koeln.de/). CRC1211 has the objective to study the mutual evolutionary relationships between earth surface processes and biota in arid to hyperarid conditions. Within the framework of project C05 “Adaptation of drainage to tectonic forcing”, the history of the macro‐scale drainages of the Atacama Desert will be examined using cosmogenic nuclide and amphipod speciation chronologies, combined with topographic analysis and kinematic modelling. Findings will be compared to the established broad‐scale tectonic and climatic context.

Your responsibilities:

  • conduct geological/geomorphological fieldwork within selected drainage systems in the Atacama Desert
  • map geometry, activity and kinematics of fault systems and related marker horizons in sedimentary sequences (terraces, fans)
  • synthesize field data with additional data sets in structural models
  • perform kinematic modelling in MOVE (Petex) to reconstruct drainage development in the tectonic framework of the uplifting Altiplano plateau
  • publishing of research results in international scientific jour­nals

Your qualifications:

  • M.Sc. or equivalent in geosciences, preferentially with a focus on active tectonics, tectonic geomorphology, structural geology or a closely rela­ted field
  • skills in GIS, 3D visualization and/or kinematic modelling techniques
  • motivation to work in an interdisciplinary team in a desert environment
  • experience in fieldwork (structural mapping techniques, drones, remote sensing etc.) including driver’s license
  • excellent English communication and writing skills

Start date: 1st January 2021
Fixed-term: 3 years
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Working hours: part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

What we offer:

  • the opportunity to work as a researcher and to complete your PhD within an open, diverse and international work environment
  • extensive advanced training opportunities within the IRTG of the CRC1211 and GeoX framework
  • state-of-the-art equipment
  • public service benefits
  • professional career advice offered by our in-house Career Center
  • flexible working hours and conditions
  • support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • institute day care center on-site
  • working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • good public transport connections

Did we pique your interest?

If so, we are looking forward to receiving your application by 15th October 2020. Please use our online application form only.
Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. We therefore very much welcome applications from qualified women. In the case of equal aptitude, severely disabled persons are given preferential consideration in accordance with the Code of Social Law IX.
Your personal data will be treated in line with Art. 6 (1b) and Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with § 26 BbgDSG during the selection process. After the selection process has been concluded, your application documents will be deleted, in line with data protection regulation. 
In case of any further queries relating to the role’s responsibilities, please contact Dr. Pia Victor by email (pia.victor@gfz-potsdam.de). If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge on +49 (0) 331 288-28787.


Glad to help with any general questions about the application process:

Louisa Poralla

Human Resources

Tel. +49 (0) 331  288 28787