Postdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Geochemistry (2 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 postdoctoral researcher to work in the Environmental Geochemistry group in collaboration with 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 is intended to strengthen expertise in sediment biogeochemistry and organic geochemistry, through carrying out innovative research into carbon dynamics in human-impacted coastal sedimentary environments.

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.


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. At the same time, coastal regions are strongly impacted by human activities that alter the fluxes of carbon and nutrients from the terrestrial environment. The Baltic Sea is a classic example of a strongly human-impacted coastal marine system in which biogeochemical cycles have been disturbed by a range of human pressures. Sediments play a critical role in the cycles of many biologically active elements, functioning both as a sink and as a source under different environmental conditions. Anthropogenic loading of carbon to coastal sediments in the Baltic has altered the complex balance of microbially mediated processes that control the fate of elements and compounds after sedimentation. Understanding the sources of carbon loading to sediments, and how these affect  microbial reaction rates, is critical to quantifying long term human impacts on biogeochemical cycles. 

Within the Environmental Geochemistry group and the CoastClim network, a 2-year position is currently available for a postdoctoral researcher in the field of sediment biogeochemistry. The successful applicant will conduct independent research into carbon dynamics of coastal sediments in the Baltic Sea, with a focus on determining the distribution of carbon from a range of sources through application of organic geochemical biomarker proxies, and the impact of variable carbon loading on diagenetic processes in sediments. The successful applicant will have access to laboratory infrastructure at University of Helsinki and possibilities for close collaboration with partner institutes including the Baltic Sea Centre at Stockholm University. Field sampling of sediments from regions of variable human pressures, including from eutrophication and forest industries, has already begun and will continue during the project. The researcher will combine high-level technical expertise in laboratory work with an ability to analyse temporal and spatial data in collaboration with modellers. The successful applicant is also expected to assist in the supervision of a doctoral researcher working in a related project, and to participate in teaching activities up to 5% of working time.

Requirements and eligibility criteria

  • PhD degree in geosciences, environmental sciences or marine sciences with proven ability in laboratory techniques related to organic geochemistry and/or sediment biogeochemistry.
  • 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.

How to apply

Please submit your application via the recruitment system, by 5 August 2022. The starting date of the position is earliest on 1 Sep 2022, or as agreed. Questions about the position should be addressed to Associate Professor Tom Jilbert (tom.jilbert(at)

Research Fields

Geosciences, Environmental Geochemistry

Salary level

The salary will be based on level 5 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance with the overall gross starting salary amounting to c. 3600€/ month, depending on experience.