Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Triple Oxygen Isotope Geochemistry/Palaeoclimatology

University of Cape Town

Call For Applications

The Stable Light Isotope Laboratory at the University of Cape Town is seeking applications for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work on various research topics in triple oxygen isotope geochemistry, with a particular focus on high precision measurements of the triple oxygen isotope composition of atmospheric CO2 , and/or terrestrial carbonates and biominerals, using tunable infrared laser direct absorption spectroscopy (TILDAS), currently being developed in the laboratory. The successful candidate will work with staff in the Stable Light Isotope Laboratory, as well as the Departments of Archaeology and Geological Sciences. They will carry out various research activities, perform stable isotope measurements, and prepare peer-reviewed publications, reports, presentations and popular articles. They will also contribute to and help organize seminars, meetings, and occasional technical collaborations with industrial and international partners.

Fellowship Research Focus

This candidate will explore the potential of high-precision triple oxygen isotope measurements of CO2 in air and carbonates for a variety of paleoclimatic, archaeological, and geochemical applications. These might include:

  • the regular measurement of the triple oxygen isotope composition of atmospheric CO2 from the Cape Point Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) research station.
  • the reconstruction of past CO2 levels from biomineral carbonates,
  • the application of triple oxygen isotopes to (palaeo)hydrological reconstruction,

About us

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is the oldest public research University in South Africa, with a long tradition of academic excellence and commitment to social change. The Stable Light Isotope Laboratory is an interdisciplinary laboratory, based in the Department of Archaeology, and supported in part by the Biogeochemistry Research Infrastructure Platform (BIOGRIP) of the South African Department of Science and Innovation. Our users and collaborators come from across South Africa, from other African countries and elsewhere in the world.


  • Applicants must have obtained their doctoral degree in a relevant area of the Earth Sciences (broadly defined) within the past 5 years, on a topic involving high precision stable isotope analysis.
  • Demonstrable interest in the themes of the project.
  • Ability to work with large datasets, and familiarity with statistical approaches useful for stable isotope data.
  • Demonstrable ability, or willingness to learn, troubleshooting instrumental issues.
  • Strong research track record including demonstrated ability to do independent research and publish in high quality journals.
  • Ability to collaborate as part of a team with colleagues from a wide range of academic institutions and non-academic partner organizations.
  • Self-motivated individual able to work effectively, and creatively.
  • Excellent organizational ability, including the ability to manage time, and t o prioritize tasks.
  • Applicants may not previously have held full-time permanent professional or academic posts.


  • Knowledge or experience in high precision methods for the measurement of isotopologues.
  • Knowledge or experience in working with global datasets, such as (palaeo)climate output data from PMIP experiments, ice core data compilations, or similar.
  • Knowledge of practical instrumentation, and LabVIEW.

The successful candidate will be required to comply with the University’s approved policies, procedures and practices for the postdoctoral sector:

Fellowship recipients are entitled to take on further part-time employment for a maximum of 12 hours per week outside the research project.

Value and Duration

The value of the Fellowship is R300 000 per annum and the fellowship is renewable for up to three years subject to satisfactory academic progress.

The fellowship is compliant with the policies /rules of the South African Revenue Services and is therefore exempt from taxation.

For further particulars or to talk about the position informally, please email Dr Vincent Hare ( directly, who will be happy to answer your questions.

To apply please e-mail the following to Dr Vincent Hare ( as a single PDF file, clearly indicating “Postdoctoral Fellowship application” in the subject line:

  • A letter of application including your area of expertise, research interests and experience, in general and described particularly in relation to the research project. Please provide a clear account of how you meet the requirements outlined above.
  • CV including list of publications / scholarly outputs
  • Copies of academic transcripts
  • Names and contact details of at least two academic referees who have taught, supervised or worked alongside you.

Deadline for receipt of applications is noon on July 30th 2023.

The University of Cape Town reserves the right to:

  • Disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications
  • Change the conditions of award or make no award

posted: 31 May 2023     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.