Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles which are centred around four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues.

The Department of Earth Sciences is now looking for highly-motivated, high-potential applicant to fill a:

PhD position in clumped isotope
paleoceanography (4 yrs)

within the research project Cenozoic ice sheets and global warming - insights from clumped isotopes, funded through a personal grant (Vidi Grant) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to Dr Martin Ziegler.

Job description:

Projections of future sea-level rise due to polar ice sheet loss are vital but difficult to make on the basis of modern observations. Determining how ice sheets have varied in volume during key periods in the past can help us to better constrain ice-sheet sensitivity to elevated global temperatures.

Clumped isotope thermometry is a novel geochemical tool to reconstruct past temperatures. In this Vidi project, we will work towards further improving this technique with the goal to reconstruct Cenozoic deep sea ocean temperatures and global ice volume changes during the Cenozoic.

Project/work tasks include:

  • " improving clumped isotope thermometry for small carbonate samples;
  • " preparing carbonate samples for analysis;
  • " clumped isotope mass spectrometry;
  • " data interpretation in collaboration with paleoceanographers and climate modelers.

Up to 10 percent of your time will be dedicated to assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the department. You and your supervisors will together set up a Training & Supervision plan for the additional education and supervision that you yourself specifically need.


We seek a highly motivated candidate with the following requirements:

  • " a Master's degree in Earth Sciences, Climate Sciences, Biology, Physics or Chemistry;
  • " lab experience in Geochemistry, preferably stable isotope Geochemistry
  • " good knowledge of data processing and statistics;
  • " previous experience with foraminifera would be beneficial;
  • " previous experience in climate modelling would be beneficial;

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English skills and be highly motivated to work in an international team.

Terms of employment:

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time PhD position at Utrecht University, at first for one year. Depending on a satisfactory performance this may be extended to a total period of four years, with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The first evaluation will take place approximately after six months of employment, the second after nine months. After the nine month evaluation the decision will be made whether an extension of the contract to the maximum period of four years will be offered to the employee.

Employment conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary starts at 2,191.- in the first year and increases to 2,801.- in the fourth year, and is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% per year and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. We also offer a pension scheme and flexible employment conditions.

Facilities for sports and child care are available on our main campus (where the Department of Earth Sciences is situated), which is located only 15 minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht.

About the organisation:

The Utrecht Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a population of 2600 students (BSc and MSc) and 600 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organised in four Departments: Innovation, Environmental & Energy Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning.

The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international group of more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories.

Additional information:

For additional information please contact the project leader Dr Martin Ziegler, m.ziegler@uu.nl.

How to apply:

To apply, please follow this link and the guidelines mentioned there. The application deadline is January 31, 2017. Evaluations and interviews are planned soon thereafter. The starting date is flexible within 2017. Online screening may be part of the selection. Commercial response to this ad is not appreciated.

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posted: 19 December 2016     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.