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Job ID: 141957

Graduate assistant in soil biogeochemistry
University of Lausanne

Date Posted May 15, 2020
Title Graduate assistant in soil biogeochemistry
University University of Lausanne
Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
Department Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics
Application Deadline Jun. 14, 2020
Position Start Date Sep. 1, 2020
  • Graduate Student
  • Natural Sciences
    Environmental Sciences/Ecology/Forestry
    Earth Sciences



The University of Lausanne (UNIL) is a leading international higher teaching and research institution, with over 5,000 employees and 15,500 students. Ideally situated along the lake of Geneva, near Lausanne’s city center, its campus brings together over 120 nationalities. As an employer, UNIL encourages excellence, individual recognition and responsibility.
The Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics is an interdisciplinary community of academics broadly interested in the evolution of landscapes and ecosystems in a context of global change. With 16 faculty members and 40 PhD students, the department offers a stimulating environment for cutting-edge research. It hosts a regular lecture series and many academic events each year.


The Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics invites applications for a position of Graduate Assistant in soil biogeochemistry. This position will lead to a PhD on the topic of enhanced chemical weathering in soils.
The natural weathering of silicate minerals through their reaction with carbon dioxide and water is known to draw down atmospheric CO2. Enhanced weathering refers to the acceleration of natural chemical weathering through the spreading of pulverized silicates on land. This geo-engineering strategy has the potential to remove globally significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere on a timescale compatible with efforts to mitigate anthropogenic warming; yet fundamental uncertainties remain about achievable rates and co-benefits or side effects on soil development and fertility.
The objective of this PhD research is to establish processes and rates of chemical weathering in natural and managed soils. More generally, this project will lead to the development of a methodology for assessing the effects of enhanced weathering on the biogeochemical carbon and nutrient cycles at timescales of current environmental interest (decadal to centennial).

Job information

Expected start date: September 1, 2020 (negotiable)
Contract length: 1 year initially renewable for 2 × 2 years for a maximum duration of 5 years
Activity rate: 80%
Workplace: Faculty of Geoscience and Environment, UNIL Lausanne campus, Switzerland

Your responsibilities

The successful candidate will devote 50% of working time to their PhD research under the supervision of Dr Stephanie Grand. She/he will be responsible for developing a fully-fledged research plan, instrumenting and maintaining field sites, conducting laboratory experiments, collecting and analysing data, writing scientific publications and producing a thesis manuscript.
The remaining time will be spent on assistantship supporting research and teaching activities of the biogeosciences group. Assignments may include assisting in teaching field classes, mentoring junior students and conducting lab analyses not related to the PhD topic. Active participation in the institute’s life is expected.

Your qualifications

The successful candidate will have the following training and skills:
- MSc degree in soil science, earth science, environmental science or a closely related field
- Strong knowledge in pedology
- Numerical literacy and data analysis skills
- Lab experience in basic wet chemistry
- Ability to conduct field work (good physical condition and driver’s license)
- Excellent command of scientific English
- Working knowledge of French, or the willingness to acquire it within one year

What the position offers you

We offer a dynamic academic work environment with dedicated support for developing a scientific career. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to become part of local and international networks. We provide an excellent remuneration package. Additional funding is available to attend conferences and workshops around the world.
We provide access to state-of-the-art analytical facilities. The successful candidates will receive support in advanced soil imaging and chemical characterization techniques. PhD-level training on a variety of topics is available through our doctoral schools.

Your application

Application deadline: June 14, 2020
Please submit the following documents in PDF format via the career website of the University of Lausanne:
- Motivation letter
- Full CV
- Copy of university degrees
- Transcripts of marks
- Contact information for two professional references
- MSc diploma thesis or equivalent
- If available, sample research output (co-authored scientific publication, conference abstract)

Contact for further information

Dr Stephanie Grand

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

Please see the job description for contact details
pertaining to this university job announcement.


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