PhD Position on Groundwater Quality

Groundwater is an important source of water for drinking water supply and ecosystems that is under increasing pressure. Contamination by organic substances such as industrial solvents or pesticides is particularly common. The project aims at investigating how geological and geochemical heterogeneity in the subsurface influences the long-term evolution of groundwater quality. Research will mainly be carried out at the field scale focusing on highly-instrumented research sites where transport and reactive processes can be investigated at sufficient detail. Reactive processes will be tracked with cutting-edge methodologies including multi-element compound-specific isotope analysis and methods of molecular microbiology. The study will be complemented by some numerical modeling in collaboration with a postdoc that is part of the project team.

The PhD position is based at the Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermics of the University of Neuchâtel (CHYN).The CHYN provides a stimulating research environment with about 50 collaborators working on a wide range of topics in hydrogeology and geothermics. The candidate will benefit from a comprehensive pool of field and laboratory equipment and technical support staff. Part of field work will be carried out at research sites in Canada in collaboration with the University of Guelph.

Required qualifications

The project is ideally suited for candidates that have a keen interest in developing challenging, cutting edge methods to help resolve an important environment issue and that enjoy working at the interface between different disciplines. The successful candidate is expected to have a MSc in hydrogeology, environmental science/engineering or related fields. Experience in field work is an advantage. Fluency in English is required.


Beginning 1.1.2017 or upon agreement for a period 3 years funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Additional information and application

Additional information about the position can be obtained from Prof. D. Hunkeler (, 032 718 25 60). Applications should include a concise statement describing your motivation to do a PhD and work on this project, copies of your academic qualifications and names of two referees. The application should be submitted to

posted: 11 October 2016     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.