The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics, thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

PhD position in “Nutrient sources and transport in South Georgia fjords (Subantarctica)” (m/f/d)


The aim of this PhD project is to identify major transport and reaction pathways of iron (Fe) from the South Georgia coast and shelf into the Southern Ocean. South Georgia is considered to be a model area for assessing the role of (sub-)Antarctic coasts as sources of nutrients and their relevance for the biological carbon pump in the surrounding region. Using water, sediment, and pore water analysis, potential sources such as melt- and groundwater discharge as well as benthic fluxes will be studied during RV Polarstern's expedition PS133, "Island Impact". The PhD student will cooperate with scientists who apply oceanographic methods and radionuclides to identify and quantify freshwater discharges and export of matter.


  • Participation in seagoing expeditions
  • Ship-based collection of water column, sediment, and pore-water samples
  • Sample processing and geochemical analysis (nutrients, trace metals, iron isotopes) both on board and in the AWI's home laboratories
  • Involvement in setting up and establishing new analytical techniques at AWI
  • Literature and data research; compilation of large datasets
  • Publication of results in international scientific journals and presentation of the project's results at international conferences and workshops for both experts and non-experts


  • Master's degree or equivalent in geosciences or environmental sciences
  • Strong background in geochemistry (laboratory experience, sample processing and analysis, data evaluation and presentation)
  • Interest and ability to work in an international and interdisciplinary team
  • Interest and ability to take part in seagoing expeditions
  • Strong spoken and written communication skills in English

Further Information

For further information, please contact Dr. Susann Henkel (; +49(471)4831-2324). The position is limited to 3 years. The salary will be paid in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the Public Service of the Federation (Tarifvertrag des offentlichen Dienstes, TVöD Bund), up to salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Bremerhaven. All doctoral candidates will be members of AWI's postgraduate program POLMAR or another graduate school and thus benefit from a comprehensive training program and extensive support measures.

The AWI is characterised by

  • our scientific success - excellent research.
  • collaboration and cooperation - intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary.
  • opportunities to develop - on the job, aiming at other positions and beyond AWI.
  • a culture of reconciling work and family - an audited and well-supported aspect of our operation
  • our outstanding research infrastructure - ships, stations, aircraft, laboratories and more.
  • an international environment - everyday contacts with people from all over the world.
  • having an influence - fundamental research with social and political relevance
  • flat hierarchies - facilitating freedom and responsibility
  • exciting science topics, with opportunities also in technology, administration and infrastructure

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. The AWI aims to increase the number of female employees and therefore strongly encourages qualified women to apply.

Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways and has received a number of awards as a result of this engagement.

We look forward to your application!

Please submit your application, including (1) a letter of motivation, (2) a CV and copies of relevant certificates (master's degree; training) and (3) two letters of recommendation or the contact information of two references, by April 15th, 2022. Electronic applications only. Reference number 22/20/G/INSPIRES-b

posted: 15 March 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.