PostDoc Scientist (m/f/d) Igneous Isotope Geochemistry



Posted on Tuesday, September 5, 2023

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation under public law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90%) and the State of Schleswig-Holstein (10%). It is one of the internationally leading institutions in the field of marine research.

Through our research and our commitment to the transfer of knowledge and technology, we contribute significantly to the preservation of the function and protection of the ocean for future generations.

The research division Dynamics of the Ocean Floor is offering a

PostDoc Scientist (m/f/d)

Igneous Isotope Geochemistry

starting on April 1st 2024.

Project Description: The ERC Synergy Grant T-SECTOR is a multidisciplinary enterprise to investigate the effects of sea-level changes on volcanism, hydrothermalism and crustal accretion at mid-ocean ridges (MOR) over the past 1.5 Ma. These time series studies will allow to unequivocally test the influence of glacial cycles on MOR processes and will provide the first high-resolution time series of ocean ridge magmatism on a global scale, opening up a new frontier of scientific exploration. The project centers on multiple ship expeditions across reference MOR segments in the Atlantic (MAR) and Pacific to conduct geophysical surveys, obtain off-axis sediment cores and igneous rocks from the neo-volcanic zones. The lowermost portions of the sediment cores are expected to the contain sediment hosted glass (SHG) shards originating from past eruptions at the MOR. Through oxygen isotope stratigraphy of ambient foraminifera, the age of glass deposition is constrained allowing time series studies of MOR chemistry. While the major and trace element glass chemistry is dealt with in the sub-project of Prof. C. Langmuir at Harvard University (USA), the position offered here is related to the sub-project of Prof. K. Hoernle at GEOMAR (Germany) covering the isotope geochemistry of the igneous products. A full description of T-SECTOR can be found at:

Analytical facilities available to the project: The European Research Council (ERC) and GEOMAR fund purchase of a NEOMA MC-ICPMS, an iCAP TQ-ICPMS and conversion of a clean-air chemistry lab to a lab for the new ICPMS instruments. For the chemical preparation of silicate rocks the work group will also receive new state of the art metal-free clean labs in 2023 in the framework of the GEOMAR extension building. Along this line, a spatially integrated low-blank facility for the physical preparation of silicate rocks will also go into operation. The group also runs a TRITON Plus and a TI-BOX thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS).

Job Description:

  • collaborate in the installation and commissioning of the MC-ICPMS and TQ-ICPMS
  • participate in setting up the new clean-room complex
  • join efforts in bringing the new silicate rock preparation facility into service
  • implement procedures to extract and concentrate SHG’s
  • develop protocols for high yield chromatography of few mg amounts of MOR basalt glass and high precision analysis of their radiogenic Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotope ratios
  • carry out isotope geochemistry on SHG fragments and seabed drilling samples obtained at Cleft segment; the NE Pacific reference site
  • help organize cruises
  • participate in T-SECTOR cruises
  • synthesize the results of time series from the three reference sites
  • continuous publication of intermediate project results in peer-reviewed journals
  • teamwork with technicians and lab-management to ensure best possible operations of the ICP instruments, clean room chemistry labs and the physical rock preparation
  • participate and interact with the entire T-SECTOR team to organize and scientifically advance the project as a whole
  • contribute to project related outreach activities
  • contribute to regular project reporting


  • PhD in geosciences; preferably in igneous petrology & geochemistry
  • Practical experience in analytical geochemistry of igneous rocks
  • High interest, motivation and endurance to tackle analytical challenges. In particular in the fields of chromatography, ultra-low blank chemistry, high precision isotope ratio analyses and quantitative trace element analysis
  • Meaningful peer-reviewed publication record
  • Fluency in spoken and written English
  • Acquiring a basic knowledge of German will be helpful for carrying out the laboratory duties
  • Ability to work proactive in and with a team
  • Good communication abilities and organizational skills
  • Proficiency with job relevant software go without saying

Advantageous are:

  • Work experience with wet chemistry in a clean-room environment
  • Hands-on experience in operation and maintenance of ICPMS instruments
  • Experience in quantitative trace element analysis by Q-ICPMS and isotope ratio analysis by TIMS and/or MC-ICPMS

At a workplace, directly on the Kiel Fjord with many leisure and recreational opportunities, we offer you:

  • Good conditions for work-life balance: We offer, among other things, the possibility of mobile working and individual working time arrangements, vacation courses for the children of our employees, and good support in finding a place in a daycare center at the Kiel site
  • Support services for professional and personal life situations
  • An exciting work environment with the opportunity to provide important impetus for the development of sustainable solutions
  • Exciting topics in an international environment
  • Work in the field of marine and climate research, a forward-looking area with social significance
  • 30 vacation days + additional time off at Christmas and New Year's Eve
  • Company pension plan and capital-forming benefits

The position is limited for 5 years with an option to extend until the end of the project.

This is a full-time position. The position cannot be split but work times are flexible. Since the emphasis of the position is on analytical geochemistry a high quota of physical presence in Kiel is indispensable. The fixed-term contract shall comply with Section 2 Paragraph 1 of The Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract (German WissZeitVG).

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and explicitly encourages qualified female academics to apply.

GEOMAR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages scientists with disabilities to apply. Qualified disabled applicants will receive preference in the application process.

Please send your application for this post not later than 31st October 2023 under the following link:

Online application

As soon as the selection procedure has finished, all your application data will be removed according to data protection regulation.

For further information regarding the position and research unit please contact Kaj Hoernle (khoernle(at)

However, we will answer all your questions if you send us an e-mail to bewerbung(at) In doing so, please refer to the keyword “T-SECTOR: Magmatische  Isotop”.

For further information on GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel or the Helmholtz Association, please visit or

GEOMAR is committed to an objective and non-discriminatory personnel selection. Our job advertisements address all people. We expressly renounce the submission of application photos.