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Research Associate in the Petrogenesis of Rare-Earth Element Deposits

Department of Earth Sciences

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 03rd Dec 2021
  • Salary: £33,309-£40,927
  • REF: LB29318
  • Closes: 23rd December 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

We are inviting applications for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) to join the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship funded project ‘A process-based understanding of rare-earth element deposits’ (PI Owen Weller). This project aims to develop a holistic understanding of the most important primary source of rare-earth elements (REEs): those associated with carbonatite and alkaline igneous rocks. Specifically, the goal of the project is to understand the processes that govern REE pathways though carbonatite and alkaline igneous systems, to facilitate the identification of new and viable REE deposits associated with these rock types.

The position is available starting from March 31 2022 for a period of 3.5 years. The successful candidate will be based in Cambridge and will join a supportive and expanding research community with expertise in petrology, thermodynamic modelling, and a range of microanalytical techniques. The PDRA research will involve multi-scale geochemical characterisation of targeted carbonatite and alkaline igneous complexes by whole rock, electron microprobe and laser ablation analytical techniques, integrated with field and petrographic observations. The PDRA will also apply phase equilibria modelling, using newly developed activity-composition models, to constrain the major phase evolution of the target localities. Finally, the PDRA will conduct mineral-melt partition coefficient modelling to investigate the trace element evolution of the systems. The project will involve numerous opportunities for the candidate to learn new skills and to travel for collaborations, conferences, and fieldwork.

Applicants should have, or be in the final stages of completing, a Ph.D. in igneous petrology or any closely related field. Although training in relevant techniques will be provided, experience of modelling mineral-melt trace element partitioning and a track record specifically related to carbonatite and/or alkaline igneous rocks will be highly beneficial. Depending on career stage and opportunities, the successful candidate will also have a track record of publication in peer-reviewed international journals and presentations at international conferences. They should also have good communication and numerical skills and be able to demonstrate scientific independence and initiative.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3.5 years from March 31 2022.

Click the ‘Apply’ button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Informal enquires about the position should be made to Owen Weller (ow212@cam.ac.uk). Should you have any questions about the application process itself, please contact Jane@esc.cam.ac.uk.

Please quote reference LB29318 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University and the Department are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. It is recognised that candidates will come from a range of backgrounds with differential opportunities and this will be considered in the selection process. The University holds an institutional Athena-SWAN sliver award and the Department is a bronze award holder. Details of some of the family-friendly policies operated by the University are at: http://www.hr.admin.cam.ac.uk/pay-benefits/cambens-employee-benefits/family-friendly.

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