PhD position Elucidating the global carbon cycle over the Cenozoic (1.0 FTE, 4 years)

PhD position Elucidating the global carbon cycle over the Cenozoic (1.0 FTE, 4 years)

Published Deadline Location
6 Sep 31 Oct Utrecht

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Utrecht University is looking for a PhD candidate. Interested? Read more and apply here.

Job description

The Netherlands Earth System Science Centre (NESSC) is currently looking to fill 13 PhD positions with excellent, talented, enthusiastic, highly motivated and goal-oriented candidates, with a no-nonsense mentality. The ideal candidates are interested in past and/or current climate research, are highly motivated to perform research in an excellent, exciting and international working environment, and are committed to a fully-funded 4-year PhD track.

The project “Elucidating the global carbon cycle over the Cenozoic” will be hosted at the department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht Unviersity (UU). Rock weathering consumes carbon dioxide and generates ions and alkalinity. After transport to the ocean, these products combine to form (biogenic silica and) carbonate minerals, which are eventually removed by burial in marine sediments. Over geologic time the balance between weathering and carbonate burial exerts a major control on seawater composition, atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus climate. This PhD project aims to elucidate past global carbon cycling via the reconstruction and modelling of past weathering intensities, ocean carbonate burial and other processes impacting atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean alkalinity over geological timescales.

The PhD candidate will be expected to assist in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the Department for a limited amount of time (~10%).


Utrecht University


General requirements for applicants
• Candidates did not reside or carry out their main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the 3 years immediately prior to the date of appointment (time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention, compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account)*.
• Candidates hold an MSc degree (or will graduate before the appointment date) in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Ecology, Earth Sciences and/or Environmental Sciences.
• Candidates are in the first four years of their research careers at the start of their appointment (full-time equivalent research experience, measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate) and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
• Excellent proficiency of the English language (both oral and written).
• The ability to work both independently in challenging environments and in a multidisciplinary team. Excellent communication skills and cooperation skills are required.
• An inquisitive mind-set, accuracy, creativity and self-reliance are very important. You are required to be flexible, mobile and pro-active.
• Enthusiasm to attend the full training programme as offered in the project and to actively contribute to the project aims and objectives.
• High interest in receiving training from supervisors from different institutes, disciplines and sectors, this will require regular travelling within the Netherlands.
• High motivation to contribute to the dissemination of results and outreach to both specialists and the public at large.
• Candidates are excited to move to the Netherlands and to visit a Partner Organisations for a secondment (internship), in or outside the Netherlands, as this is part of the programme. Additional research visits to international institutes and conferences for research collaborations are expected.
• Strong motivation to obtain a PhD degree.

*If you do not qualify for the first criteria, you can still submit your application if you would like to be considered for the NON-COFUND PhD positions.

Specific requirements for this project

For this project we are looking for an Earth (System) scientist interested in developing conceptual and simple numerical models to creatively utilize the various records available and generate records where necessary.

Conditions of employment

The selected candidates will be offered a full-time PhD position at the Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University, initially for one year. Depending on a satisfactory performance this may be extended to a maximum period of four years, with the intend to obtain a doctorate within this period. This evaluation usually takes place in the ninth month of employment.

The gross monthly salary starts at €2,325 in the first year, and ends at €2,972 in the fourth year (scale P Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented by a guaranteed end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and a holiday allowance of 8% of your yearly salary. We offer a pension scheme (partly paid by employer), collective insurance schemes, parental leave, travel allowance (home to work and for work purposes), and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). Facilities for sports and child care are available.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University offers a wide spectrum of education and research applied to the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. The Faculty is committed to interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration, and plays a key role in the Dutch national research structure. It embodies four Departments: Earth Sciences; Physical Geography; Sustainable Development; and Human Geography & Spatial Planning.


The Department of Earth Sciences is the largest academic Earth Sciences institute in the Netherlands, and among the larger ones in Europe. We conduct teaching and research across the full range of the Solid Earth and Environmental Earth Sciences, with activities covering most areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeosciences and hydrogeology. The Department is an international organisation hosting over 45 Tenured Scientists and more than 100 PhD candidates and Postdoctoral Researchers.

NESSC brings scientists together with a background in Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Ecology and Mathematics to better understand the processes behind climate change and to improve future climate projections and predictions. NESSC offers young academics the opportunity to work on important scientific topics in not previously existing partnerships, and thus creates the conditions for innovative, ground-breaking and multidisciplinary research, including both experimental and theoretical approaches. All PhD positions will be hosted at one of the NESSC research institutes: Utrecht University, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, VU University Amsterdam or Wageningen University.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • max. €2325 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1061877



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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