Postdoctoral scholarship (2 years) in Planetary Geochemistry and Spectroscopy

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Department: Chemistry
City: Umeå
Country: Sweden
Contact Person: Merve Yesilbas
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: Umeå Universitet
Application Due Date: 05/20/2024
Web Link:

Postdoctoral scholarship (2 years) in Planetary Geochemistry and Spectroscopy
The Department of Chemistry is offering a postdoctoral scholarship within a project aimed to resolve preservation conditions of cyanobacteria in clay minerals in the context of searching for life in Mars. This scholarship is full-time for two years with access in the spring 2024 beginning June 1, 2024 or by agreement. The application deadline is 20 May 2024.

Project description
The cyanobacteria played an active role in the evolution of life and ecological change on Early Earth. As ongoing and upcoming Mars missions of NASA and ESA search for life signatures, understanding the environmental conditions for the growth of cyanobacteria in Martian analogue clay minerals could give an insight into the life potential of modern Mars.

The postdoctoral fellow will get the opportunity to perform several laboratory experiments including sample preparation and vibrational spectroscopy measurements under Mars-like conditions. The postdoctoral fellow will participate in designing, data acquisition, analysis and paper writing processes. We offer a unique opportunity to learn high-end techniques, especially for cryogenic studies, and to build a scientific network in astrobiology and planetary science fields. The postdoctoral fellow will be part of the Yeşilbaş Lab at Umeå University. You will integrate into the Molecular Geochemistry research environment of the Department of Chemistry and Umeå Marine Sciences Environment of the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science. You get full access to our newly established laboratory and various analytical platforms of the Chemical and Biological Center. The postdoctoral fellow will have opportunities to collaborate with external research groups including NASA and attend international meetings and conferences. Furthermore, Umeå Postdoc Society (UPS) presents a very active and lively postdoc community environment for postdocs at Umeå University.

The tax-free 2-year fellowship is funded by the Kempe Foundation, and it amounts to 350 000 SEK per year.

To qualify as a postdoctoral scholarship holder, the postdoctoral fellow is required to have completed a doctoral degree or a foreign degree deemed equivalent to a doctoral degree. This qualification requirements must be fulfilled no later than at the time of the decision about scholarship recipient.

Priority is given to candidates who completed their doctoral degree, according to what is stipulated in the paragraph above, no later than three years prior. If there are special reasons, candidates who completed their doctoral degree prior to that may also be eligible. Special reasons include absence due to illness, parental leave, appointments of trust in trade union organizations, military service, or similar circumstances, as well as clinical practice or other forms of appointment/assignment relevant to the subject area.

Doctoral degree should be within (geo)chemistry, planetary science, astrobiology, geosciences, or physics.

Additional requirements are:

Very good skills in written and spoken English
Good ability to lead and drive their own development
The candidate should have previous practical experience with vibrational spectroscopy and/or X-ray techniques and be familiar with data analysis.
Meriting criteria are:

Experience in mineral geochemistry, organics and microorganisms, ice chemistry research and advanced data analysis (MATLAB, Python) are considered as merits.
We are looking for candidates who are communicative, motivated, analytical and creative. A problem solver who can make progress in their projects. The candidate should be enthusiastic about personal development both as a scientist and committed to contributing positively to the research environments within the Yeşilbaş Lab (Department of Chemistry) and Umeå Marine Sciences Environment (Department of Ecology and Environmental Science).

A full application should include:

A cover letter summarizing your qualifications, your scientific interests, your motives for applying, and how you feel you meet the essential and meriting criteria (max 2 pages),
Curriculum vitae (CV) with publication list,
Copy of doctoral degree certificate or documentation that clarifies when the degree of doctor is expected to be obtained,
Copies of other diplomas, list of completed academic courses and grades,
Copy of doctoral thesis and up to 5 relevant articles,
Other documents that the applicant wishes to claim.
Contact information to two persons willing to act as references.
Submit your application as a PDF marked with the reference number  FS 2.1.6-813-24, both in the file name and in the subject field of the email, to [email protected]. The application should be written in English (preferably) or Swedish. The application deadline is  20 May 2024.

More information
For more information, please contact Dr. Merve Yeşilbaş, email: [email protected], web: and Prof. Dr. Agneta Andersson, email: [email protected], web:

We are searching for life beyond Earth using spectroscopy in the Yeşilbaş Lab.

We look forward to receiving your application!

About us
The Department of Chemistry is one of the largest departments within the Faculty of Science and Technology with approximately 200 employees and strong and expanding research. The Department has four major research areas: Biological Chemistry, IBEAM, Organic Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry. We are also a strong partner in the KBC, Chemical-Biological Center.