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PhD and PostDoc positions

University of Bern


PhD and PostDoc positions in REDOX petrology-geochemistry of subducted hydrous mantle rocks

The group of Deep-Fluids Geochemistry at the Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Switzerland, invites applications for

two PhD's and one PostDoc

to work on a project, which aims at quantifying redox budget and element fluxes triggered by serpentinite dehydration. Focus is on metamorphic hydrous mantle rocks investigated along the subduction plate interface of the European Alps. Research approaches emphasize on petrology (including oxides and sulphides) and measurement of data via diverse bulk and in-situ (including EPMA, RAMAN, LA-ICP-MS, possibly SIMS) analytical techniques, to be performed largely independently by the candidates. All projects require field work and petrographic characterisation of sample materials.

The Institute of Geological Sciences houses an electron probe, two LA-ICP-MS systems, FTIR, MC-ICP-MS, TIMS, SEM-EDS, and RAMAN, besides basic infrastructure, and has access to the SwissSIMS facility in Lausanne. In-house research groups include those investigating metamorphic petrology/geochemistry, computational petrology, and isotope geochemistry.Visit the institute at

Aufgaben und Einsatzfelder

PhD-1: Focus is on the in-situ determination of ferric/ferrous iron speciation for ferromagnesian silicate and oxide minerals. It involves method developments for in-situ analyses and will be combined with bulk sample Fe3+/Fe2+ measurements.

PhD-2: Focus is on the determination of the solute load of antigorite dehydration fluids including notably S and halogen concentration data. Emphasis will be on the LA-ICP-MS analysis of fluid inclusion relics from diverse chlorite-harzburgite localities in order to derive fluid-mineral element distribution coefficients prevailing at antigorite dehydration.

PostDoc: Methods-based research on selected topics complementary to PhD initiatives, notably including carbonated hydrous mantle rocks beyond antigorite dehydration. LA-ICP-MS method development and assistance in running/maintaining our facility at the institute.

Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten

We seek individuals with strong interest in petrology/geochemistry and analytical methods.

A Masters Degree in Earth Sciences and excellent communication skills in English are required for the PhD candidates.

A PhD degree and expertise in independent instrumental analysis are requested for the PostDoc candidate.


These positions are fully funded (PhD: 4 years; PostDoc: 2.5 - 3 years), including benefits for social security.

This project is part of our vibrant core initiative on better quantifying fluid-mediated chemical cycling in subduction zones and is carried out in close collaboration with the research groups of J. Hermann, P. Lanari, and D. Rubatto.


Applications should include a cover letter with statements on personal and educational motivations to conduct the PhD or PostDoc project, a CV with details about research experience and publication activity, abstract and graduation date (or planned date) of MSc or PhD thesis, and contact details of at least two referees who have agreed on providing references if requested. For PhD candidates, academic credentials (mark sheets and degree statements) are required.

Send only complete applications as a single pdf file by e-mail to Thomas Pettke.

Evaluation of applications will start on 01 December, 2022, and will continue until filled. The project starting date should be in early 2023.

Contact and further information (preferably by e-mail):

Prof. Thomas Pettke
University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences,
Baltzerstrasse 1+3,
CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland

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