BOF-research grant 'Death from Below'

PhD position in integrated micro-palaeontology,
stratigraphy and geochemistry

at Ghent University, Belgium

We invite applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD student position in the context of our new BOF-research project 'Death from Below'. The selected candidate will work on unraveling the interrelationships between Devonian mass extinctions, fossil plankton, ocean geochemistry and ore geology. He/she will collect and analyze samples from sections through selected Devonian events across the USA and Europe, focusing on organic-walled microfossils, their host sediments and their geochemistry. The primary objective is to increase our understanding of the cause-and-effect relations that operated during these events. The selected candidate will work in close collaboration with other (PhD) students investigating similar relationships through earlier biogeochemical events.

The PhD student will be based at the Department of Geology at Ghent University in Belgium ( He/she will join an active international group and will work in close collaboration with scientists at the United States Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado and the Indiana Geological Survey in Bloomington. The job involves field expeditions, intensive laboratory work focused on palynology, (redox) geochemistry, stratigraphy, and training in all aspects of the scientific method. The starting date is flexible between April 1st and September 1st 2017.

We are a young and dynamic department in a vibrant city. We offer a competitive salary (normally starting at c. 1900 net / month) and minimal tuition fees.

Additional information regarding PhD studies at Ghent University can be found on this webpage or in this leaflet.


The ideal candidate holds a Master degree in Geology, or a related field, and he/she has experience with field work, micro-palaeontology and/or sediment geochemistry. An MSc degree is required at the time of appointment, but we will consider applications from students who are in the final semester of their MSc. We expect the candidate to be highly motivated, organized, fluent in spoken & written English and capable of functioning as a part of an international research team. Excellent observational, analytical and writing skills are required and should be substantiated in the CV. The candidate should be willing to travel and participate in research stays abroad. Although the position is focused on research, the PhD student may occasionally be asked to help with teaching.

How to apply

To apply, please send a single, unprotected pdf file to, containing these 5 items:

  1. a letter of motivation (personal statement describing research experience and interests),
  2. an up-to-date CV (including education history, detailed and full transcripts of marks & grades, full details of any publications and details on your MSc thesis project),
  3. a letter of recommendation,
  4. only if you do not yet have your MSc degree: a research progress statement by your supervisor explaining the progress of your MSc work (this can be an integral part of the letter of recommendation), and
  5. name and contact information (e-mail + telephone) of at least one additional referee.

Send in your application as soon as possible. Review of applications will start on March 7th, 2017 and will continue until the position is filled.

For enquiries, feel free to contact Thijs Vandenbroucke: or +32 (0)9 264 45 15

posted: 17 February 2017 Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.