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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 3.3 "Earth Surface Geochemistry" (department “Geochemistry”), we invite applications for a:

Doctoral student in Earth Surface Geochemistry (f_m_x)

Reference Number 7782

Research takes place within the German-French bilateral project "PALAVAS – Present and pAst weathering fLuxes from tropicAl Volcanic islAndS" in which the interaction between weathering and erosion in tropical volcanic islands will be evaluated. Within this framework, two doctoral projects on the German side (at GFZ Potsdam and FU Berlin, respectively) and two positions on the French side (IPGP Paris and EDYTEM Chambéry, respectively) will collectively test the hypothesis that the degree and rates of weathering and erosion depend on age of the underlying bedrock. Back through time, however, centennial to millennial-scale variations in climate may modify weathering and erosion rates, and these trends may be preserved in offshore sediment archives. We will use classical elemental geochemistry and state-of-the-art novel Beryllium and Lithium isotopes as tracers of modern and past weathering and erosion rates, in conjunction with biomarker analysis and numerical modelling.

Within PALAVAS the here advertised doctoral project will focus on identifying modern weathering and erosion processes by geochemically characterizing soils and modern river sediments and will be led by Dr. Hella Wittmann-Oelze. The project will be based in GFZ´s section 3.3. The second German project focusing on changes over Quaternary timescales will be led by Prof. Anne Bernhardt at the Freie Universitaet Berlin and will be advertised separately. The French projects will be led by Dr. Julien Bouchez (IPGP Paris) and Dr. Fabien Arnaud (EDYTEM Chambéry) and will be advertised separately. All successful applicants will be working closely together and will carry out research visits among the different research facilities.

Your responsibilities:

  • Field work in tropical islands like Guadeloupe and Réunion for sampling sediment, water and soil
  • Close collaboration within a German-French project of both leading scientists and other doctoral students
  • Dynamic and interdisciplinary supervisor team (2 female and 2 male scientists) with backgrounds in inorganic and organic geochemistry, sedimentology and paleoclimatology
  • Reconstruction of changes in earth surface processes and in paleohydrology as well as vegetation through a diverse geochemical characterization of samples: Cosmogenic nuclides (meteoric 10Be/9Be ratios), elemental geochemistry, biomarker isotope analyses (δD & δ13C), and lithium isotope analyses

Your qualifications:

  • University degree (master / diploma) in Geosciences, Geochemistry or related 
  • Good (English) communication skills; willingness for exchange with colleagues and travel within the bilateral project
  • Experience in geological field work
  • Knowledge of French is of advantage
  • MSc thesis including either geochemical, sedimentological, and/ or isotope work
  • Work experience in geochemical laboratories with acid digestions is beneficial

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 September 2023
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 15th June 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. Hella Wittmann-Oelze via email at hella.wittmann-oelze@gfz-potsdam.de.
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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