Research Assistant/Associate: Petrology and Geochemistry (Fixed Term)

Research topic: The influence of lithospheric structure and composition on the distribution of CO2-rich intraplate volcanism and rare-earth-element mineralisation (REE-LITH)

Application deadline: 19 November 2023. Applications after that date may be considered until the position is filled, please contact Principal Investigator Sally Gibson (

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in igneous petrology/geochemistry, to work on a new NERC funded Pushing the Frontiers Project. The overarching goal of the project is to reach a fundamental new understanding as to how lithospheric structure and mantle dynamics control the origins of CO2-rich intraplate magmatism and associated rare-earth element (REE) deposits.

The REE-LITH project involves a multi-disciplinary international team of Earth Scientists -- from the Universities of Cambridge (Sally Gibson & Sergei Lebedev), Exeter (Sam Broom-Fendley), St Andrews (Will Hutchison), Madrid (Javier Fullea) and Bergen (Stephane Rondenay). An additional Postdoctoral Research Associate in seismology is being sought for the same project (LB39037 at

The successful candidate will be based in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge and will work closely with Prof. Sally Gibson and all co-investigators in the research team. They will undertake petrological investigations and geochemical analyses, together with numerical models, of CO2-rich intraplate volcanic rocks to place novel constraints on their origin, the evolution of continental lithosphere and REE mineralisation.

Applicants must have (or be about to obtain) a PhD in petrology and geochemistry. Previous experience in petrology and geochemical analysis is required, and a knowledge of numerical modelling of mantle-derived melts and REE/critical metal mineralisation is desirable. The research will involve use of sample preparation laboratories and state-of-the-art analytical facilities in Cambridge (e.g. EPMA, LA-ICP-MS, QEMSCAN). Samples exist in established collections and while fieldwork is not required by the project, there will be opportunities to take part if desired.

The successful candidate will be highly motivated, have a strong publication record (commensurate with their career stage) and good communication skills. Attending and presenting results from REE-LITH at international conferences will be supported and encouraged. The successful applicant will be mentored and supported in developing their career and research interests by the Principal Investigator and University of Cambridge Postdoc Academy.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 30 months in the first instance.

Earliest start date: 16 February 2024 (a later start date is also possible).

Salary Ranges: Research Associate: £36,024 - £44,263 (Grade 7). Appointment at Research Associate level is dependent on having a PhD. Those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD will initially be under-appointed as a Research Assistant (Grade 5, Point 38 - £32,982), moving to Research Associate (Grade 7) upon confirmation of their PhD award.

Click the 'Apply' button at to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Enquiries concerning this research post can be sent to the Principal Investigator Sally Gibson (

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV), a covering letter and publications list in the upload section. If you upload any additional documents that have not been requested they will not be considered as part of your application.

Please quote reference LB39036 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

The University holds an institutional
Athena-SWAN silver award and the
department is a bronze award holder.

published: 10 November 2023     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.