PhD position in biogeochemistry / soil biochemistry / radiocarbon application (3 years)

The Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Cologne, Germany, invites applications for a PhD project within the DFG research unit 1806 'Organic matter storage and turnover in subsoils'. The position will be based in the Organic Geochemistry & Radiocarbon group (, which is part of the interdisciplinary cosmogenic nuclide-dating center CologneAMS (

The overall aim of the DFG research unit is to identify mechanisms leading to the accumulation of organic carbon and to determine rates and factors controlling carbon turnover as a base for numerical modeling. The PhD project at Cologne University focuses on the development and application of novel radiocarbon techniques and organic geochemical methods to differentiate biogenic and geogenic organic sources in subsoils and to determine their microbial degradability.


  • Pronounced interest in biogeochemical research questions
  • Application of different organic geochemical techniques (GC/MS, LC/MS, RockEval pyrolysis)
  • Application of compound-specific 14C analysis
  • Development of molecular sieve sampling devices for AMS 14CO2 analysis
  • Participation in fieldwork
  • Presentation of scientific results at international conferences and in scientific publications


  • Master-level degree in geosciences, environmental sciences, chemistry or related subjects with excellent grades
  • Practical experience in organic geochemical and/or isotope geochemical methods
  • Ability to work self organized as well as in a team
  • Strong interest in technical and analytical work (method development and application)
  • Good knowledge of spoken and written English

Conditions: The position is funded for 3 years and will start on 01. Feb. 2017 or later. Salary and benefits will be according to German Public Service Sector salary group TV-L 13, 65% (approx. 1400-1500 per month/net). The University of Cologne is an equal opportunity employer in compliance with the German disability laws. Applications of women and disabled persons are particularly welcome.

Application: Please send your application as a single pdf document (including motivation, CV, certificates, names of 1-2 referees) by email to Prof. Dr. Janet Rethemeyer until 15. Dec. 2016.

posted: 04 November 2016     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.