PhD position in organic geochemistry and paleoclimate - University of Bergen

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PhD position in organic geochemistry and paleoclimate

There is a vacancy for a PhD position in organic geochemistry /paleoclimate at the recently established SapienCE centre of excellence (CoE). The position is for a period of 4 years. The successful candidate will be formally employed at the Department of Earth Science.


About the project/work tasks

We are seeking an outstanding and highly motivated climate scientist to participate in the transdisciplinary SapienCE (CoE) project. The selected candidate will work with sediments recovered from offshore South Africa and will primarily use the leaf-wax δ13C and δD on n-alkanes and pollen grains preserved in Pleistocene sediments of the southwest Indian Ocean to reconstruct palaeoclimatic changes on land between 50-100 ka. This will allow for a more robust understanding of wide- scale climate conditions over Southern Africa ~100-50 ka.  Furthermore, the candidate will, through collaborations with other researchers at the centre, help elucidate the crucial links between climate reconstructions, archaeological evidence, and early human behaviour.

Homo sapiens were anatomically modern by 300 ka (thousand years ago) in Africa, but there is no evidence indicating that behaviour was modern at the time. Current archaeological evidence, although limited, highlights 100-50 ka as being a watershed for human cognitive, technological, and social development in Africa. More research is needed to understand where, when, and why early humans started to think and behave the way we do today. Improved understanding of the environmental conditions such as climate change under which these developments occurred, is a critical contextual piece of this puzzle. 


Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The applicant must hold a master's degree or the equivalent in earth sciences, biology, geochemistry, oceanography or similar. Master students can apply provided they complete their final master exam before 31.08.2018. It is a condition of employment that the Master's degree has been awarded.
  • Experience with organic geochemistry and biomarkers from marine/lake sediments as proxies for reconstructing past climate and oceanography will be considered an advantage.
  • Knowledge of multivariate statistical methods and scientific programming (R, Matlab) will be very useful.
  • Paleoclimate experience is considered an advantage but is not required.
  • Ability to work independently and willingness to cooperate with others in the project team is a requirement. It is especially advantageous to have had experience in highly interdisciplinary projects.
  • High degree of proficiency in both written and oral English is a requirement.
  • Willingness to get involved in the outreach project of the GFI of the UiB: Ekte Data - option of using the 25% duties associated with the position). 

International mobility: As part of a highly international and interdisciplinary team, the successful candidate must expect a high degree of travel activity, including research stays outside of Norway.


Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.


About the PhD position

The duration of the PhD position is 4 years, of which 25 per cent of the time each year comprises required duties associated with research, teaching and dissemination of results. The employment period may be reduced if you have previously been employed in a PhD position.


About the research training

As a PhD Candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position. It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.


We can offer:

  • A good and professionally challenging working environment
  • Salary at pay grade 50 (Code 1017/Pay range 20, alternative 8) in the state salary scale. This currently amounts to NOK 436 500 gross p.a. Further promotions are made according to qualifications and length of service in the position.
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • A position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise)
  • Good welfare benefits 

Your application must include:

  • A cover letter which addresses how the applicant meets the qualification criteria

  • A brief (1 page) statement of your research interests and how they pertain to the advertised position.

  • The names and contact information for at least two references. One of these should be the main advisor from the master’s thesis or equivalent thesis.

  • CV

  • Transcripts and diplomas

  • Relevant references

  • List of any works of a scientific nature (publication list)

  • Publications, if any 

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.


General information:

Detailed information about the position can be obtained by contacting:

Dr Margit Simon, Uni Research Climate & Bjerknes, Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway,

Office phone: (+47) 55589831, email: