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PhD Fellow in Soil Environmental (Bio)Geochemistry (m/f/x)


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Prof L G Benning No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

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.

In the Interface Geochemistry section, led by Prof. Liane G. Benning, we want to expand our environmental minerals team and are looking for:

PhD Fellow in Soil Environmental (Bio)Geochemistry (m/f/x)

Reference Number 4200

The research will focus on the nucleation and growth of amorphous and crystalline iron- and magnesium-phosphate phases. The main work will be based on laboratory experiments through which the kinetics, mechanisms and pathways that control the formation and transformations of phases in the Fe-Mg-P system in the absence and presence of other elements are investigated. This knowledge will help better understand modern and ancient settings where element speciation and mineral inter-transformations affect global biogeochemical cycles and/or are linked to crucial resource recovery.

You will be trained in the use of both conventional and synchrotron-based in situ and time-resolved mineral synthesis and characterization methods and techniques. You will learn how to follow and quantify the formation and transformation of mineral phases and analyse any associated changes in solution/solid chemistry. This will include mass spectrometry and UV-VIS analyses of solutions and solid phase structure and crystallinity characterization through advanced state-of-the-art scattering, diffraction and spectroscopic means using both electron and X-ray methods available in the group (e.g., PISA) or at synchrotron-facilities around the world.

The successful candidate (m/f/x) will become an integral part of the Interface Geochemistry section, work closely with other students and postdocs in the group and be registered in the PhD programme of the Freie Universität Berlin.

Your responsibilities:

- perform wet lab synthesis experiments to investigate the nucleation and growth of iron phosphate or magnesium phosphate phases under simulated subsurface conditions in the presence and absence of simple organic compounds or of metals (e.g., [Me] = Co, Cu, etc)
- carry out novel, in situ and time-resolved lab experiments and phase characterizations to investigate the kinetics and pathways of these formation and transformation reactions
- determine the changes in structure, composition and size of iron phosphate or magnesium phosphate phases during their formation and subsequent transformation
- evaluate how organic compounds or metal ion adsorption or incorporation affects the stability of the formed phosphate phases
- publish in international peer-reviewed journals and present research results at scientific meetings

Your qualifications:

- MSc degree (or equivalent) in mineralogy, environmental sciences, materials or inorganic chemistry (or related fields)
- strong mineralogical or crystal chemistry background
- documented experience in the use of some analytical techniques (e.g., XRD, SEM/TEM, IR, UV-Vis, ICP-OES, IC) is an advantage
- experience in inorganic chemical or mineral synthesis is an asset
- capacity for interdisciplinary and international teamwork and excellent communication skills
- proficiency in spoken and written English

Starting date: 1st October 2020
Fixed term: 3 years
Working hours: part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
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.
Location: Potsdam

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 [email protected]
- institute day-care centre on site
- working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
- good public transport connections by being in walking distance of Potsdam main station

APPLY

Did we pique your interest?

If so, we are looking forward to receiving your application by 22nd June 2020. Please use our online application form only.

For an evaluation of your application the following information is strictly required:
(a) a full CV, (b) a cover letter stating which project you apply for and detailing point by point how you fit the above described qualifications, (c) your university certificates (BSc and if already available your MSc) and (d) the names, emails and full addresses of two referees.

In case of any further queries relating to the role’s responsibilities, please contact Prof. Liane G. Benning at +49 331 288-28970. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge at +49 331 288-28787.

Equal opportunity is an inherent part of our personnel policy. Therefore, we explicitly welcome applications from qualified women. Severely disabled candidates with equal qualifications will be given preference according to the SGB IX.
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