The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology invites applications for a

PhD position

at the Institute of Applied Geosciences, KIT, Germany. The PhD student will be integrated in the multidisciplinary research project AdvectAs "Retardation and mobilization of arsenic at redox fronts under advective flow conditions", which is funded by the joined DFG/SNF DACH program.

Project description

Elevated levels of arsenic (As) in groundwater are a health problem affecting over 100 million people worldwide, particularly in the densely populated river deltas of South and Southeast Asia. Aquifers containing low and high As levels are characterized by highly contrasting redox conditions. The redox fronts play a crucial role with regard to As advection and retention. Its stability and persistence in space and time are largely controlled by the mutual interaction of (a) transport processes, (b) microbial activity and (c) the type of As host mineral phases (mainly Fe-bearing). AdvectAs aims at developing an integral and generally applicable understanding of As mobilization, advection and retardation across redox gradients. The project consists of four coherent modules which are closely interacting (M1-Mineralogy & Geochemistry at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany; M2-Microbiology at the University of Tübingen, Germany, M3-Hydrochemistry & Environmental Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology at Dübendorf, Switzerland, M4-Integrated reactive transport modelling at the University of Tübingen, Germany).

Job description

The PhD project at KIT will encompass detailed mineralogical and geochemical characterization of sediment core material using a combination of state-of-the-art methods (SEM, magnetic properties, Mössbauer spectroscopy. µXRF/XRD/XAS) with the aim to identify and quantify the Fe minerals and related As speciation along the redox transition zone. Sampling will take place at a research field site in Vietnam. This area is characterized by a unique transition zone in a confined aquifer displaying a distinct redox gradient dividing aquifers containing low and As levels. The results enable to calculate the thermodynamic stability of the As-bearing Fe minerals and predict their behavior under various hydrochemical conditions. In combination with the other modules the results will be used to formulate one or more conceptual models that provide the basis for the reactive transport modeling of As along redox transition zones.


We expect you to be competent in chemistry, mineralogy or environmental sciences. An interest in materials and their interactions in nature is important. Experiences in mineralogical and geochemical analytics is a merit. The candidate must have, or soon receive, a degree that permits him/her to enter a PhD program (e.g. master degree).

Salary and starting date

Salary will be according to the German public service salary scale E13 (65%). The position is available from 1st of March 2017. The appointment is for 3 years.

Applications must include

  • a cover letter including a short statement about your research interests and a statement explaining why you would like to join our team and what you have to offer the AdvectAs project
  • your CV, including names and contact information for 2 references
  • copy of relevant certificates

Please send your application documents until January 15th, 2017 by email to Thomas Neumann (

posted: 19 December 2016    Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.