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Doctoral student in Earth surface Geochemistry

02.10.2018 - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany

The Section 3.3 "Earth Surface Geochemistry" invites applications for a Doctoral student in Earth surface Geochemistry (m/f). The research takes place within the DFG priority project "Earthshape – Earth surface shaping by biota" ( ( in which the interaction between biological, geochemical, and geomorphological processes in landscape evolution is explored along a climate gradient in Central Chile. Within this framework, six projects, called “Deep Earthshape”, will be investigating the “Critical Zone”, the zone where rock meets life, by drilling up to 100m depth. This doctoral project, led by Prof. Friedhelm von Blanckenburg, explores how the deep biosphere weathers rock.

The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national research centre for Earth sciences in Germany. With approx. 1260 employees, the GFZ is conducting interdisciplinary research on the “System Earth” and the influence of humans on the planet. As a member of the Helmholtz Association, it is part of Germany’s largest science organization. The student will be based in section 3.3, in which we apply geochemical methods in innovative ways to geological questions.

Your responsibilities:

  • field work in the Chilean Coastal mountains; including attending a shared a drilling campaign
  • close collaboration within an interdisciplinary German-Chilean network of both leading scientists and other doctoral students in Geology, Microbiology, Biogeochemistry, Geophysics
  • petrological and bulk geochemical description of drill cores; option to apply a reactive transport model measuring erosion and weathering front advance rates using innovative isotope geochemical methods (cosmogenic nuclide analysis (10Be) in quartz, 10Be(meteoric)/9Be, U-series analyses)
  • addressing, with network partners, the question: does microbiology or chemistry shape the deep Critical Zone?

Your qualifications:

  • University degree (master / diploma) in Geosciences
  • good communication skills; willingness for interdisciplinary exchange with colleagues in the priority program
  • experience in geological field work
  • MSc thesis including either geochemical, mineralogical, or petrographical, and if possible also isotope work
  • ability to work independently in geochemical laboratories with acid digestions.

Starting date: between 1 January and 1 March 2019
Fixed term: 3 years
Salary: The pay scale grouping will be into pay group 13 TVöD-Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost) provided that all tariff related and personal requirements are met.
Working hours: part-time 75 % (currently 29.25h/week)
Location: Potsdam
Deadline: 15.11.2018

Further information on the application and the complete job offer can be found at