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Post-doctoral research associate in high-resolution ice core analysis (Fixed Term)

University of Cambridge - Department of Earth Sciences

Location: Cambridge
Salary: £32,236 to £39,609
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 25th March 2019
Closes: 27th April 2019
Job Ref: LB18586

The Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, is seeking a post-doctoral research associate (PDRA) to adapt a high-resolution laser ablation analysis system for use on ice, and use it to analyse parts of a new ice core. The new core is aimed at assessing the state of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet at the last interglacial. The PDRA position is for 2 years, and is funded by a Royal Society grant to Professor Eric Wolff. We are seeking someone to start as soon as possible. 

This post is related to the WACSWAIN project which has retrieved a core to bedrock at Skytrain Ice Rise, bordering the Ronne Ice Shelf and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The Earth Sciences department has an ICP-MS and laser ablation system, as well as a cryocell. The main task of the PDRA will be to assess methods that have been implemented elsewhere to analyse elements such as Na and Ca at high resolution on ice cores, and then adapt one of them to our system. This may involve modification of the existing cryocell and other technical improvements. They will then use the new system to measure some of the deeper ice from Skytrain Ice Rise at the highest possible resolution, both to extend the range of depths over which annual cycles can be detected and to get more precise records of any fast changes in the measured elements.  The PDRA will also assist in the campaign to analyse the core at low resolution using continuous flow analysis techniques. 

Applications are invited from candidates with relevant expertise and knowledge in chemical analysis and development of analytical methods, and good knowledge of palaeoclimate and ice cores. Candidates must be confident in building and modifying laboratory equipment and in best practice in chemistry laboratory work. Experience in the specific analytical techniques described here and/or in ice core chemical analysis would be advantageous. 

The candidate will have (or be about to obtain) a PhD in a relevant area and in addition to the skills discussed above will have good communication skills, the ability to work in a team, good IT and data handling skills, and preferably a track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals. 

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit :

Enquiries concerning this position should be directed to Prof. Eric Wolff ( 

Please quote reference LB18586 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy. 

The University and the Department are committed to equality and diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. The University holds an institutional Athena-SWAN silver award and the Department is a bronze award holder. Details of some of the family-friendly policies operated by the University are at:

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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