Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Experimental Geobiology

University of Oxford

Fixed term for three years 

The Department of Earth Sciences seeks an experimental geochemist as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant (PDRA) to join a project funded by the Royal Society and led by Ross Anderson.

The emergence of complex eukaryotic life as a dominant force in ecosystems is perhaps the greatest geobiological revolution in our planet’s history. However, our ability to understand this revolution is limited by the rarity of fossil evidence. The Royal Society project takes multiple approaches to understand the preservation of early life on our planet, with the ultimate aim of targeted sampling of the geological record for new early fossils that improve our understanding of the tempo of the early evolution of eukaryotes.

The PDRA will lead the design and execution of laboratory geochemical experiments that will identify the principal controls on the physical and/or chemical interactions between clay minerals and organic matter. They will use this knowledge to unravel the conditions most conducive to the fossilisation of early life.

The PDRA will initially utilise experimental infrastructure available in the Aqueous Geochemistry Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Nicholas Tosca, which includes anoxic chambers, auto-titration, electrochemistry and in-situ monitoring techniques including Raman spectroscopy. There will be considerable opportunities for the PDRA to undertake laboratory visits to Cambridge at the outset, with the goal of initiating experimental techniques in the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford.

The PDRA will have the opportunity to interact with other project members in Oxford as well as partners internationally, including at University of California Santa Barbara and Stanford University. They will also be part of the Oxford Palaeobiology Group, formed of palaeobiologists in the Department of Earth Sciences and the University Museum of Natural History.

About you

You will hold a relevant PhD/DPhil and have previous experience in a relevant discipline, including Earth Sciences, Geology, Geochemistry, and/or Chemistry.

You will have experience in techniques in experimental aqueous geochemistry and analytical geochemistry, as well as experience in theoretical aqueous geochemistry, which may include reaction path modelling (i.e., Geochemist’s Workbench, PHREEQc, EQ3/6, or others).

You must have excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for publication, present research proposals and results, and represent the research group at meetings.

Ideally you will have experience of taphonomic experiments in controlled conditions, knowledge of exceptional fossil preservation, and knowledge of the Neoproterozoic Earth System.

For further details of the role please see the job description.

The deadline for applications is midday on Friday 16th June 2023.

You will be required to upload a CV and a Supporting Statement as part of your application. Please do not attach any manuscripts, papers, transcripts, mark sheets, or certificates as these will not be considered as part of your application.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and ethnic minority candidates, who are under-represented in research posts in the Department.

View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location