Department of Geosciences

PhD student in Geochemistry

Ref. No. SU FV-0318-18
Closing date: 01/03/2018

The Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden, invites applications for a 4-year PhD position working on the project: A Terrestrial Carbon Source Hypothesis for Deglacial CO2 rise (TERRACASE)

Project description
This PhD project aims to test the hypothesis that during the dramatic (hydro)climatic changes occurring during the last transition out of the last ice age, a large amount of carbon stored in tropical vegetation, soils and peats was remineralized to CO2 during burning, erosion, or coastal shelf flooding upon sea level rise. The last deglaciation provides the closest analog to the present-day steep rise in atmospheric CO2, but the source of this carbon and the underlying mechanisms are still not understood. Prior focus has been on the role of the ocean but evidence for this remains elusive. It has recently become clear that soils and peats may be a critical modulator of atmospheric CO2. Tropical ecosystems contain the largest portion of terrestrial carbon. Molecular-level radiocarbon dating of terrestrial organic matter eroded to tropical sediment sequences will provide insight into the soil carbon stocks and dynamics of the surrounding landscape. Combined with molecular-level reconstruction of past hydroclimate and fires, this allows evaluation of the importance of droughts, floods and fires on terrestrial carbon storage and release. The hypothesis will also be tested using Earth System models that can integrate climate change, the carbon cycle and the role the Earth's biosphere, soils, peats and wetlands play in regulating atmospheric CO2. The project entails practical field and laboratory work as well as earth system modeling.

General requirements
The general requirement for admission to a PhD program at the Faculty of Science at Stockholm University is an advanced level (Masters) degree, or at least 240 credits (equivalent to 4 years of full time studies) of which at least 60 credits are at the advanced level, or equivalent knowledge gained in some other way in Sweden or abroad. The Faculty Board may grant an individual applicant with an exemption to this requirement in exceptional circumstances.

Additional requirements Additional requirements for admission to the PhD program in Geochemistry are:
  • at least 90 credits at the Bachelor's level in geosciences or a related natural science discipline
  • at least 30 credits in physics, chemistry, mathematics and/or biology
  • at least 60 credits at the advanced level in geosciences or a related natural science discipline including an independent project of at least 30 credits.
These additional requirements can also be fulfilled by an applicant who has gained equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Selection criteria
The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on our assessment of the candidate's capacity to succeed in doctoral education. Assessment criteria: the applicant's documented subject knowledge relevant to the field of research, ability to express him/herself in speech and writing in English, ability for analytical thinking, creativity, own initiative, independence and cooperation. The assessment will be based on previous studies and grades, quality of independent work, references, relevant experience, interviews as well as the applicant's written motivation for the position. The decision on admission is taken by the Department Board.

For more information, please contact Dr. Rienk Smittenberg, email:

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at:

Terms of employment
The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20% of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.
Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Union representatives
Anqi Lindblom-Ahlm (Saco-S) and Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST and Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 20 00 (operator), (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the position at Stockholm University's recruitment system by clicking the "Apply" button. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete and in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. We recommend that you hand in your application, including necessary documents, in English.

Please include the following information with your application:
  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2 references
In addition, please include the following documents as pdf files:
  • Cover letter (max. 3 pages) including:
    • why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement
    • why and how you wish to complete the project
    • what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • CV - with degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Degree projects/publications (no more than 3 files).

posted: 01 February 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.