Grant-Funded Doctoral Researcher in Environmental Geochemistry (4 years)

The University of Helsinki is among the leading multidisciplinary research universities in the world. In addition to its 11 faculties, the University includes several independent institutes, some of which are jointly operated with other universities. Some 35,000 students are currently pursuing an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree at the University of Helsinki.

Measured in number of students and teachers, the Faculty of Science at the University of Helsinki is the largest science faculty in Finland. There are some 6,000 students taking a basic degree. Out of them, some 1,000 are postgraduates. There are some 500 international students, and over 200 researchers and teachers from abroad. 

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented Doctoral researcher (PhD candidate) to join the new Centre for Coastal Ecosystem and Climate Research (CoastClim). The position is based at Department of Geosciences and Geography (Faculty of Science, Kumpula campus) and Tvärminne Zoological Station (Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences). The position forms part of a collegium of 6 PhD projects working on related research projects in the field of carbon cycling in coastal environments. The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Research at the Department of Geosciences and Geography spans all of Earth, from the glaciers in Antarctica to bustling metropolises. Earth and its changes throughout time are studied, for example, through the regional differentiation of cities and states, long-term environmental changes, tectonics and the structure and development of the planet. Researchers from the Environmental Geochemistry group at the department also participate in the new Centre for Coastal Ecosystem and Climate Research (CoastClim), which evaluates the links between coastal biodiversity, carbon cycling, and climate feedbacks. The data from CoastClim will serve as a foundation of a new decision-support system to improve the use and management of coastal ecosystems with the potential for climate change mitigation. The development of CoastClim is part of a strategic partnership between University of Helsinki and Stockholm University that focuses on strengthening collaborative marine ecosystem and climate change research.

Description

Our oceans are at the heart of the global climate and biodiversity challenges. Coastal ecosystems are rich in biodiversity, productive and dynamic in terms of ocean-atmospheric carbon fluxes and have been proposed as part of the ocean-based solutions to combat climate change. Nevertheless, we lack a comprehensive understanding of how coastal biodiversity contributes to carbon sequestration and atmospheric feedbacks across coastal habitats in time and space. Through CoastClim, the University of Helsinki is strengthening its efforts to conduct ground-breaking new science that links the biodiversity of coastal habitats in time and space to carbon cycling, sequestration and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A new collegium was recently established with funding from the Nottbeck and Onni Talas Foundations, to develop expertise in related sub-disciplines of coastal carbon cycling research through the creation of 6 PhD research projects.

As part of this collegium, a 4-year position is currently available for a doctoral researcher (PhD student) in the field of sediment biogeochemistry. The successful applicant will conduct independent research into carbon dynamics of coastal sediments, including the application of organic geochemical biomarkers to study sources of carbon buried in sedimentary sinks. Additionally, the applicant will work closely with parallel projects in the fields of coastal ecology (benthic, pelagic and macrophyte systems) pelagic biogeochemistry, and air-sea greenhouse gas exchange. The work involves field sampling in the sea areas close to Tvärminne Zoological Station, learning and applying a variety of laboratory techniques in sediment biogeochemistry, extensive data analysis and publishing of results in scientific articles.

The doctoral degree at University of Helsinki

In parallel to conducting research and writing the PhD thesis, doctoral researchers at University of Helsinki complete a study program equivalent to 40 ECTS. The Doctoral Program in Geosciences offers a study package including general and discipline-specific courses, as well as completion of literature review and opportunities to present research in the community of doctoral researchers. A thesis committee of internal and external experts guides the 4-year process towards the doctoral degree. The degree is awarded when the study credits have been acquired and the thesis has been successfully defended.  

Requirements and eligibility criteria

  • M.Sc. or equivalent in a suitable field, such as geosciences, environmental sciences, marine sciences or related disciplines.
  • Demonstrated capacity in problem solving and data analysis.
  • Experience in carrying out research independently and working in a team.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
  • Good time management and project management skills.

Please see the requirements for pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki. The researcher must not be already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible.

How to apply

Please submit your application via email to Associate Professor Tom Jilbert (tom.jilbert(at)helsinki.fi) by 5 August 2022. Subject of the email should be “Application to PhD position in Coastclim”. The application should be sent as a single pdf document including the following components:

  • motivation letter with a summary of the applicant’s scientific background and interests
  • CV (max. 2 pages)
  • names and contact details of two referees 

Alternatively please submit the application through the University of Helsinki’s recruitment system.

The starting date of the position is earliest on 1 September 2022, or as agreed. Questions about the position should be addressed to tom.jilbert(at)helsinki.fi.

Research Fields

Geosciences, Environmental Geochemistry

Scholarship

The successful applicant will receive a 4-year scholarship funded by the Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation and the Onni Talas Foundation. The personal grant amounts to 1950 € /month (tax-exempt grant) including a compulsory pension insurance fee that the student has to pay.