Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Germany

PhD position in biogeochemistry /soil biochemistry and
radiocarbon application

Project: The turnover of organic carbon in soils and sedimentary deposits is a critical parameter that is affected by climate change and may contribute to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. The processes underlying carbon storage and turnover are complex which complicates the prediction of degradation rates under changing climatic condition. The PhD project has the aim to improve our understanding by qualitative and quantitative analysis of organic matter composition and degradability using novel radiocarbon techniques in combination with organic geochemical methods. The PhD student will develop and improve these techniques and apply them in different environments. Scientific expeditions are part of the project.

The PhD position is based in Geochemistry & Radiocarbon group ( and will be part of the interdisciplinary cosmogenic nuclide-dating center CologneAMS.


  • Development/improvement of molecular sieve based sampling devices for AMS 14CO2 analysis
  • Application of different organic geochemical techniques (GC/MS, LC/MS, RockEval pyrolysis)
  • Application of compound-specific 14C analysis
  • Participation in short-term fieldwork in Germany and several weeks long expeditions to the Arctic
  • Presentation of scientific results at international conferences and in scientific publications


  • Master-level degree in geosciences, soil science, environmental sciences, chemistry or related subjects with excellent grades
  • Pronounced interest in biogeochemical research questions
  • Practical experience in organic geochemical and/or isotope geochemical methods
  • Strong interest in technical and analytical work (method development and application)
  • Good knowledge of spoken and written English


  • The position is funded for 3 years. Salary and benefits will be according to German Public Service Sector salary group TV-L 13, 65% (approx. EUR 1500 per month/net).
  • The PhD project will start on 01. June 2017. Job interviews are tentatively scheduled to take place on 20./21. April 2017.

Application: Please send your documents as a single pdf document (letter of motivation, CV, certificates, names of 1-2 referees) by email to until 02. April 2017.

posted: 01 March 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.