Geochemistry Research Technician

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 29th Jun 2021
  • Salary: £25,941.00 - £33,797.00  per annum
  • REF: 9225
  • Closes: 01st January 1970
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.

Salary: £25,941.00 – £33,797.00 per annum

Closing Date:16 July2021

The Role

You will provide specialist technical support for the analysis of lake and ocean sediment cores across several different palaeoenvironmental projects. You will primarily work on handheld XRF scanning of core material and sample preparation for stable isotope analysis of bulk sediments, invertebrate remains, biogenic silica, and biomarkers, including faecal sterols, bile acids, and leaf waxes. You will ensure that sample procedures are carried out safely and in accordance with quality standards and health and safety regulations.

Information about the research themes within the wider Physical Geography group can be found here:

This is an 18-month fixed-term post.

Please contact Dr Maarten van Hardenbroek for informal enquiries (

Key Accountabilities

  • Processing of lake sediments for a range of analyses including loss-on-ignition, handheld XRF, sieving and picking of invertebrate remains, chemical preparation and weighing of material for stable isotope analysis.
  • Biomarker sample separation and purification using chemical techniques including total lipid extraction, saponification, column chromatography and derivatisation prior to analysis.
  • Work with a variety of chemicals, including solvents and acids, and the maintenance of high safety standards in areas where work is carried out.
  • Use of laboratory equipment including freeze driers, furnace, microbalance, microwave assisted extraction, rotary evaporators, and analytical instrumentation including GC, GC-FID and GC-MS.
  • Integration and quantification of mass spectra from GC outputs.
  • Maintain accurate, secure, detailed and up-to-date records (notebook and computerized) of all work carried out and outcomes.
  • Contribute to the general smooth running of the lab including monitoring and maintaining stocks of reagents and other supplies.
  • Ensure the correct storage, handling and disposal of hazardous chemical waste in accordance with School Safety Policies and legal requirements (COSHH and FERA).
  • Use of standard computer hardware and office software and specialist discipline specific data analysis software as appropriate to duties.

The Person

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Significant post-apprenticeship work experience in a relevant technical role.
  • Experience of working with (organic) geochemical techniques and their application in reconstructing past environments.
  • Thorough working knowledge of Health and Safety procedures.
  • Excellent team working skills.
  • Experience of working in a Chemical and Biological Laboratory, including safety issues.
  • Experience undertaking loss-on-ignition, freeze-drying, handheld XRF analysis, weighing stable isotope samples using microbalance or willingness to learn these techniques.
  • •Experience with chemical purification techniques for GC and GC-MS techniques and knowledge of the application of biomarkers in environmental science/geoscience advantageous but not essential.

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Works collaboratively with others, plays a positive role in teams and establishes and grows relationships across the organisation where different skills, expertise and opinions are valued.
  • Shares relevant and useful information with others
  • Works in a planned and structured way
  • Respects the expertise and contribution of others even if own opinion is different
  • Ensures that all activities are completed on time
  • Ensures that others know how processes and systems work
  • Looks at ways of overcoming obstacles rather than coming to a standstill
  • Keeps an open mind to alternative ways of doing things
  • Keeps fellow team members up to date with progress
  • Pays attention to detail
  • Has a positive attitude for doing things better
  • Takes responsibility for achieving own targets
  • Co-operates with others to achieve targets
  • Strives to deliver high quality results
  • Is enthusiastic in getting job done on time
  • Set own priorities in conjunction with team and area objectives


  • Higher National Certificate in Science (or Equivalent Level 4 Qualification) or equivalent relevant technical experience. Ideally a BSc degree in a related area

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.

Requisition ID: 9225

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