The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,300 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.

As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities.

To complement the section 3.5 "Interface Geochemistry" team, we are looking for a PhD student (f/m/x) to carry out research with a focus on crystallization processes. The aim of the PhD project is to improve our understanding on how various additives used in gypsum board formulations impact the kinetics and mechanisms of gypsum crystallization and microstructure of the resulting gypsum matrix. The ultimate goal is to identify the reactions leading to a reduction in the gypsum quantity used in gypsum boards, while keeping the sustainable performance requirements.

The experimental PhD project will be carried out in our GFZ Mineral Synthesis Laboratories and this work will be complemented with training and experiments related to mechanical testing and scaling up of the experimental results to ‘real’ factory conditions. This latter part will be done in close collaboration with ETEX staff and in dedicated ETEX laboratory facilities.

The successful candidate will become an integral part of the Interface Geochemistry section, work closely with other students and postdocs in the group and be registered in the PhD programme of the Freie Universität Berlin.

PhD student position (f/m/x) Reference Number 5507

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Your responsibilities:

  • Perform wet lab synthesis experiments to investigate the formation of calcium sulfate dehydrate CaSO4·2H2O (gypsum)
  • Determine the changes in structure, composition and size of gypsum minerals according to various synthesis procedures
  • Publish in international peer-reviewed journals and present research results at scientific meetings

Your qualifications:

  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in material sciences, environmental sciences or chemistry (or related fields)
  • Strong mineralogical or crystal chemistry background
  • Ideally hands on experience in a range of mineral characterization techniques (e.g., diffraction, scattering, imaging or spectroscopy) is an advantage
  • Experience in inorganic chemical or mineral synthesis is an asset
  • Capacity for interdisciplinary and international teamwork and excellent communication skills
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English
Start date: As soon as possible
Fixed term: 36 months
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to "TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)". The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 3rd January 2022. Please use our online application form only and you must submit the following documents:

  1. Cover letter stating how you fit the required qualifications outlined above.
  2. Detailed CV including presentations and publications and names and emails for 2 potential referees.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Liane G. Benning either via email at benning@gfz-potsdam.de. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge under +49 331 288‑28787.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv@gfz-potsdam.de, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba@gfz-potsdam.de.

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations. Members of ETEX will be involved in the selection procedure. Your personal data will, of course, be treated confidentially and will be communicated to the involved person exclusively for the purpose of evaluating your professional suitability within the framework of this selection procedure. Once the procedure has been completed, the personal data will also be deleted there in compliance with data protection regulations.

www.gfz-potsdam.de/en