Research Associate in Isotope Geochemistry

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Applications are invited for a 20-month Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) funded Postdoctoral Research Associate position in isotope geochemistry. The position forms part of the NERC Large Grant Project – MC2 – ‘Mantle Circulation Constrained (MC2): A multidisciplinary 4D Earth framework for understanding mantle upwellings’. The PDRA will be based at Cardiff University (CU) with close collaborative ties to University of Bristol (UoB).

Working with Dr. Morten Andersen (CU) and Prof. Tim Elliott (UoB) the role of the Post Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) is to explore the geochemistry of globally-distributed mid-ocean ridge basalts, the overall project involves the characterisation of traditional (e.g. Pb, Nd) and novel non-traditional isotope systems (e.g. B, K, U, Mo) as tracers for crustal recycling and mantle dynamics. The PDRA will be working closely with another PDRA based at University of Bristol and main target are geochemical analyses that involves both isotope and spatial trace metal analyses.

These results are to feed into geodynamic modelling and the interdisciplinary 4 year MC2 project, bringing together constraints from mineralogy, seismology, core dynamics and paleomagnetism, dynamic topography, petrology and geochemistry to constrain mantle circulation models. It will involve collaboration with Investigators and Research Associates at the Cardiff University, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, University of Oxford, Royal Holloway University of London, and University College London.

There will be opportunities for the PDRA to be involved in formalise the project within this framework.

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University are dynamic and successful multi-disciplinary centre devoted to research in the disciplines of Earth Sciences. The PDRA will using the state-of-the-art isotope facilities of Cardiff Earth Laboratory for Trace Element and Isotope Chemistry (CELTIC) and the Bristol Isotope Group (BIG) laboratories for all analytical work.

In addition to these duties, the RA will be expected to produce work of publishable quality for appropriate high quality peer reviewed journals, present papers at national and international conferences, develop outreach opportunities related to the MC2 project, and contribute to the development of collaborative research grants.

The successful applicant will hold a Ph.D. in a relevant subject. Expertise in isotope geochemistry is essential.

This position is full time (35 hours per week). It is available from earliest convenience or latest 1st March 2023 and fixed term for 20 months.

Salary: £35,333 - £42,155 per annum (Grade 6).

Informal enquiries may be made to Dr Morten Andersen (email: and/or Prof. Tim Elliott (email:

For further details about working in Cardiff University please contact John Evans, email:

Date advert posted: Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Closing date: Monday, 16 January 2023

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world. In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

Cardiff University is a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions we will evaluate applicants on the quality of their research, not publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which the research is published. More information is available at: Responsible research assessment - Research - Cardiff University

Job Description

Main Function

To conduct research within traditional and novel Isotope geochemistry of mid-ocean ridge basalts relevant to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Large Grant ‘Mantle Circulation Constrained (MC2): A multidisciplinary 4D Earth framework for understanding mantle upwellings and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University, carrying out research leading to the publishing of high-quality research. To pursue excellence in research and to inspire others to do the same.

Main Duties and Responsibilities


  • To conduct research within isotope and trace metal geochemistry of mid-Ocean ridge basalts and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University by the production of measurable outputs including bidding for funding, publishing in national academic journals and conferences, and the recruitment and supervision of postgraduate research students.
  • To develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research including research funding proposals
  • To attend and or present at conferences/seminars at a local and national level as required
  • To undertake administrative tasks associated with the research project, including the planning and organisation of the project and the implementation of procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting
  • To prepare research ethics and research governance applications as appropriate
  • To review and synthesise existing research literature within the field
  • To participate in School research activities.
  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the university, to influence decisions, explore future research requirements, and share research ideas for the benefit of research projects


  • To engage effectively with industrial, commercial and public sector organisations, professional institutions, other academic institutions etc., regionally and nationally to raise awareness of the School’s profile, to cultivate strategically valuable alliances, and to pursue opportunities for collaboration across a range of activities. These activities are expected to contribute to the School and the enhancement of its regional and national profile.
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance.
  • To participate in School administration and activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

  • Postgraduate degree at PhD level (or nearing completion / submission) in a related subject area or relevant industrial experience

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • An established expertise and proven portfolio of research and/or relevant industrial experience within the following research fields:
    • Isotope and trace metal geochemistry
  • Knowledge of current status of research in specialist field of non-traditional isotope geochemistry
  • Proven ability to publish in international journals / international conferences and other research outputs
  • Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies

Communication and Team Working

  • Proven ability in effective and persuasive communication
  • Ability to supervise the work of others to focus team efforts and motivate individuals


  • Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and team-working within work
  • Proven ability to work without close supervision

Desirable Criteria

  • Relevant professional qualification(s): Demonstrable experience with clean laboratory geochemistry analyses, experience with double spike isotope geochemistry analyses, experience with laser ablation ICPMS analyses., knowledge of mantle isotope geochemistry,
  • Evidence of collaborations with industry.
  • Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community.
  • Evidence of ability to participate in and develop both internal and external networks and utilise them to enhance the research activities of the School.

Additional Information

Information on the Cardiff University School of Earth and Ocean Sciences can be found at:

For further information please get in touch with Dr Morten Andersen (email:

Salary Range Min.: 35,333
Salary Range Max.: 42,155
Job Category: Academic - Research
Grade: Grade 6

posted: 01 December 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.