2 PhD positions in high temperature Geochemistry

Fte: 1.0 (per PhD)
VU unit: Faculty of Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences
Closing date: 1 November 2017

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the "Zuidas" district of Amsterdam). The university employs over 4,500 staff and has more than 23,000 students enrolled in a wide range of tertiary education programs.

The Faculty of Science offers a wide range of Bachelor and Master programs. Research at the faculty includes Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Earth Sciences, Environment and Health, Mathematics, Biological Science, and Physics and Astronomy. Cutting-edge research and world-class teaching activities go hand in hand.

At the department of Earth Sciences, we study our dynamic planet from nano- to planetary scale. We quantify the key cycles and interactions in system Earth over timescales from seconds to millions of years by combining fieldwork, lab work and computer simulations. By bringing to bear our fundamental understanding of system Earth and our fresh curiosity we conduct research that is relevant for today's societal challenges including sustainability, climate change and natural hazards. The department's research facilities are regarded as outstanding, while the department's international focus fosters national and international collaboration, both contributing to high-quality and high-impact research outcomes.

2 PhD Projects:

The two PhD projects form part of a larger project funded by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant) that investigates the recycling of volatiles and Earth surface materials in subduction zones making use of melt inclusions (acronym: ReVolusions). Two end-member subduction zone settings will be studied; the Mariana's subduction zone and the Italian post-collisional subduction setting.

Description of work:

PhD 1 will use radiogenic isotopes (Sr-Nd-Pb) of melt inclusions to determine the nature and quantity of recycled materials in the melt source. PhD 2 will focus on volatile and stable isotope analyses (C-O) of the melt inclusions to investigate volatile recycling. Both students will make use of and will further develop mass spectrometry techniques designed at VU Amsterdam to analyse small sample sizes for their isotope compositions. The geochemical data will be integrated with data from international collaborators and the literature to determine subduction zone fluxes.

The PhD candidates will form part of a team of academics, postdocs, PhD students and MSc students at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam that focus their research on the geochemistry of the solid Earth. The PhD candidate will be trained on site. Most of the equipment required for the project are available in the department, but some of the analytical work will take place in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and Nancy, France.

The candidates are expected to present their research on national and international conferences, and finalize the work in a PhD thesis consisting of a minimum of three papers published in international peer-reviewed journals. The candidates will also be expected to carry out a small amount of teaching activities (at BSc and/or MSc level).


We are looking for two highly motivated candidates who hold an MSc degree in high temperature Geochemistry. Preferably the candidates would have hands-on experience with clean laboratory techniques and radiogenic and/or stable isotope mass spectrometry. They should have proof of their ability to interpret and report results scientifically and are dedicated to pursue a career in science.

Further particulars

The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for another 3 years (total duration of 4 years).

Information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment can be found at www.workingatvu.nl and include for example:

  • Remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;
  • Solid pension scheme (ABP);
  • A minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;


The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of 2222 gross per month up to a maximum of 2840 gross per month based on fulltime employment (salary scale 85) for a PhD student.


For additional information please contact Janne Koornneef at j.m.koornneef@vu.nl


Please send a cover letter (outlining your motivation and research experience, max. 2 pages) and CV including publication list, and the names and contact details of two references (all combined into one PDF-file) to Janne Koornneef at j.m.koornneef@vu.nl with 'PhD in Geochemistry' in the subject line. Please mention whether you are applying for PhD 1 or PhD 2.

Application deadline: 1 November 2017.

Starting date: No later than April 2018.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.

posted: 22 September 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.