About the VeWA consortium:

Goethe University Frankfurt and the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research invite applications for twelve research positions within the LOEWE consortium project VeWA (Past Warm Periods as Natural Analogues of our future 'high CO2' Climate); this includes eight PhD and four post-doctoral positions.

Via the LOEWE excellence initiative, the State of Hessen funds internationally visible research consortia with the aim of establishing thematic priorities.

What does VeWA focus on? We are investigating what conditions on Earth might be like under atmospheric CO2 concentrations more than double relative to pre-industrial times. The Paleogene (>35 million years ago) was the most recent geological period with similar atmospheric CO2 as predicted for the end of the 21st century. In VeWA, scientists from geology, geography, biology and climate modelling join forces to quantitatively investigate and model palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment of the Eocene and late Cretaceous Periods. In 12 subprojects we will study marine and terrestrial proxy archives (e.g. calcifying organisms and sediments), including those of the Hessen World Heritage Site Messel, and compare these results to new state of the art climate model simulations. Our results will be shared through a public outreach initiative, including an exhibition at the Senckenberg Museum.

VeWA includes 12 positions focusing on the following subprojects and institutions:

Subproject Short title Lead institution

A Marine
palaeoclimate &

A1 Sea surface temperatures (SST) to determine the polar amplification under contrasting CO2-conditions GU, PhD
A2 Long-term variability of ocean chemistry: 'Deep-Time' temperatures and carbon cycle GU, PhD
A3 Chemical weathering as a sink for atmospheric CO2 GU, PhD
A4 Diversity and abundance of calcifying phytoplankton under different CO2 concentrations GU, PhD
A5 Development of a new paleo-pH/CO2-proxy and its application to the Late Cretaceous and Palaeogene GU, PhD
A6 Seasonal and multi-year variations of atmospheric circulation patterns GU, PhD

B Terrestrial
palaeoclimate &

B1 Seasonally resolved, continental temperature and precipitation changes SGN,
B2 Evolution of continental palaeoclimate and biodiversity SGN, PhD
B3 Reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 using triple oxygen isotope analysis of fossil mammalian teeth SGN/JGU/GU,

C Climate
modelling &
Public outreach

C1 Processes of latitude-dependent temperature variability in a hyperthermal world GU Postdoc
C2 Vegetation dynamics during the Palaeogene and Late Cretaceous: climate feedbacks and mammal habitats SGN Postdoc
C3 Public outreach initiative SGN Postdoc

More details can be found at www.vewa-project.de

About this position:

The Institute of Geosciences at Goethe University Frankfurt (Stable Isotope Research Group) invites applications for a fixed-term position - available on 1st June 2020 or soon thereafter - for a

PhD student in clumped isotope-based Paleoclimatology (VeWA Project A1) (m/w/d)
(E13 TV-G-U, 75% part-time)

(36 months tenure)

The salary follows the Goethe University pay structure (TV-G-U).

This position is based on research within the LOEWE consortium VeWA, specifically subproject A1, and shall be completed as part of the doctoral degree program at Goethe University.

Project A1 focuses on the reconstruction of paleo-latitudinal temperature gradients having prevailed on Earth during the contrasting atmospheric P(CO2) conditions of the Eocene and Maastrichtian. For this purpose, a wide range of fossil carbonates will be investigated for their clumped isotopic compositions (Δ47 and Δ48). The stable isotope facility at Goethe University is one of the very few labs in the world that is able to analyze 48 in high-precision along with Δ47. Dual clumped isotope analysis, for the first time, allows to deconvolve temperature from the kinetic information recorded in the single carbonate phase.

An enthusiasm to help with some academic teaching such as student field courses is desirable. A contribution to the public outreach initiative of VeWA is envisaged.


Applicants should have a high motivation for research in the fields of paleoclimatology and biomineralisation. A strong commitment for methodological work and excellent communication skills, both written and oral, in English are required. Hands-on skills in clumped isotope analysis and data modelling would be a benefit. Interest in and experience with geological field work and the willingness to travel for several weeks are highly desirable. A completed Masters degree (MSc) in geosciences, environmental sciences, chemistry, biology or (bio)physics is mandatory.

Key to the success of VeWA will be cooperation and interaction amongst the VeWA researchers, co-PIs and PIs, as well as VeWA partners, such that teamwork and interpersonal skills are very important. The successful candidate will be trained in the relevant laboratory methods employed and supported by GRADE (Goethe Research Academy for Early Career Researchers) and YoungScientists@SGN. As part of VeWA, we offer excellent working conditions, an international multi-disciplinary working environment and excellent research infrastructure.

We reserve the right - after agreement - to employ the applicants in other sub-projects than the desired ones.

Goethe University is committed to equal rights and therefore we particularly encourage applications from female candidates and those from under-represented backgrounds. Equally qualified people with disabilities will be given priority.

Applications including a motivation letter, a detailed CV, a detailed description of research experience and interests, names and addresses of three scientific referees should be sent as a single PDF document by e-mail to Jens.Fiebig@em.uni-frankfurt.de by 13th March 2020 (apl. Prof. Jens Fiebig, Institute of Geosciences, J.W. Goethe University, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany). Interviews are scheduled for April 2020.

posted: 14 February 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.