Post-doctoral position in Atmospheric Geochemistry

As part of the French Regional  Program CLIMIBIO(Planning Agreement between the national and regional governments 2015-2020,  the “University of the Littoral Opal Coast”  in the north of France is looking for a post-doctoral researcher to contribute to a Project in Atmospheric Geochemistry.     


Trace elements including iron (Fe) serve as essential micronutrients in surface ocean waters. Iron in atmospheric deposition represents the main source of  bioavailable Fe  to High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll ocean regions (e.g. the Southern Ocean). While natural emissions (e.g. mineral dust) are considered the most important sources of atmospheric Fe, the aqueous solubility of natural Fe –bearing particles is very limited. Conversely, anthropogenic Fe-rich particles including fly ash (combustion aerosols) display  a higher solubility. How human activities impact the transport of bioavailable Fe to the oceans remains a fundamental question being addressed in atmospheric and oceanographic studies.

With the recent advances in mass spectrometry, it is now possible to measure precisely small differences in Fe isotopic compositions    as they occur in many   physical, geochemical    and biological processes. While the isotopic signature of radiogenic isotopes such as lead has been widely used to assess the contribution of pollution aerosols to transport and deposition fluxes in the low troposphere, the use of non-traditional heavy stable isotopes such as Fe is still rare in atmospheric process studies. The reported values for Fe isotope compositions of natural aerosols (mineral dust: δ56Fe  ≈+0.08‰/IRMM-014)   are close to those of igneous rocks. However, our previous work has shown δ56Fe reaching +0.14‰ in urban aerosols influenced  by industrial emissions. This project will tentatively assess the isotopic imprint of atmospheric transport  on anthropogenic and natural Fe by simulating cloud   processing of industrial and urban Fe-bearing particles. Isotopic analysis  will be conducted in collaboration with the GTIME laboratory on the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium).

To investigate the mechanisms controlling the isotope fractionation at the molecular scale, first-principles calculations based on the density functional theory (DFT) will be performed on Fe minerals mimicking studied anthropogenic Fe-bearing particles (e.g. goethite).            

This project is funded by the “Université du Littoral-Côte d’Opale”, the Region «Hauts de France» and the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research (CPER “Climibio”). 

Candidate Profile                           

The ideal applicant will have :        

  • A PhD in Analytical Chemistry or Geochemistry
  • Experience with isotope and/or trace metal analysis under clean conditions
  • Experience with advanced analytical instrumentation, such as mass spectrometry
  • Experience of field studies and, if possible, quantum chemistry
  • Enthusiasm and diligence in laboratory work    
  • Knowledge of security rules in the lab  and in the field
  • Interest in presenting results at conferences and writing papers for peer-reviewed journals 
  • Ability to communicate and work with multiple students and scientists              
  • Ability  to travel to field studies and to the different regional partners’ site (about 120km from Dunkirk): Driver’s license for private car
  • Some knowledge of/willingness to learn basic French    


Dunkerque (Dunkirk) – North of France


12 months, starting no  later than 1st January 2018        

Monthly Take-home Pay:           

About 2150€     

Holiday Allowance :



To apply send to Pascal Flament, Université du Littoral  – Côte d’Opale, Dunkerque, France       

  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a publication list             
  • A motivation letter      
  • A selection of 2-3 publications in PDF 
  • The name and contact information of 2references       

Deadline for applications:

October 20th 2017


Date d'expiration :
20 octobre 2017
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