Leverhulme Post-doctoral Research Assistant: Silicic Igneous Processes on Iceland
The University Of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, GB
13h ago

Job Details

Job title : Leverhulme Post-doctoral Research Assistant : Silicic Igneous Processes on Iceland

School / Support Department : School of GeoSciences

Unit (if applicable) : Earth and Planetary Science

Line manager : Alan Hastie

2. Job Purpose

A four-year Post-doctoral Research Assistant (PDRA) is required on a £270k Leverhulme Research Grant to work from the University of Edinburgh and with colleagues at the Universities of Iceland, Portsmouth and St.

Andrews to determine the petrogenesis of Icelandic granites using whole rock analyses, experimental petrology, thermodynamic modelling and mineral geochemistry.

The PDRA will undertake three field seasons in Iceland that will involve detailed geological mapping and sample collecting.

On returning to the UK the PDRA will section the samples for a detailed petrographic study and analyse all samples independently and interpret the results with the research team to present the work at conferences, publish high-impact publications and engage in outreach opportunities.

3. Main Responsibilities (approx. % of time)

  • Organise and undertake three field excursions to Iceland for the purposes of geological mapping and sample collection.
  • Granite samples and accompanying xenoliths are to be targeted, mainly in the south and west. Samples will be collected with the support of the University of Iceland and returned to the UK for study (5%)

  • To carry out a full petrographic study of granite and xenolith samples. Mineral phases will be identified to enable samples to be classified and to find targets for future in-situ mineral analyses (10%)
  • Perform whole rock and mineral major and trace element and isotopic analyses at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Portsmouth.
  • Candidate will use / run XRF and ICP-MS instruments (40%)

  • Construct a petrological high pressure-temperature experimental strategy to investigate the make-up of granitic source regions in Iceland.
  • Piston press equipment will be used in the experimental facility at the University of Edinburgh (15%)

  • Undertake thermodynamic calculations to study the petrogenesis of Iceland granites. These calculations will involve the use of THERMOCALC and will be undertaken at the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews (5%)
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods where appropriate especially with the experimental development and in-situ mineral analyses (5%).
  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars and outreach activities. This involves, primarily, publication in high impact peer-reviewed journals and attendance at the AGU and Goldschmidt international conferences (10%)
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines throughout the whole project (5%).
  • Work to develop a personal plan to help establish yourself as an independent researcher and attempt to obtain further research funding.
  • The project should give the candidate the timing and experience to be able to obtain his / her own research funding and to begin the developing into an international leader in the field of igneous petrology (5%)

    4. Planning and Organising

  • To work with the Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PIs, Icelandic international partner and other staff at the University of Edinburgh to ensure successful achievement of project objectives.
  • To implement a holistic field, petrographic, experimental and modelling strategy to obtain the project goals.
  • 5. Problem Solving

  • To complete several successful field seasons in Iceland and collect sample material in rugged terrane. Design a high pressure-temperature experimental program for studying the petrogenesis of the samples.
  • To undertake, or learn, thermodynamic code. Run samples on an XRF and ICP-MS. Fully interpret data

    6. Decision Making

    The post-holder will undertake day-to-day decision making on actions in the field and in the laboratory. Key decisions will be made collaboratively with inputs from the PI, Co-PIs and the international partner.

    Therefore, the PDRA will need to exercise good judgement as to which decisions must be referred for collaborative discussion and which should simply be implemented and documented.

    7. Key Contacts / Relationships

    The post-holder will maintain good working relations with staff at the University of Edinburgh and with colleagues at the Universities of Iceland, Portsmouth and St.

    Andrews. The post holder will be expected to represent the University externally, by presenting their work at specialist meetings or workshops in the relevant research area.

    They will also be required to provide advice and support to relevant undergraduate and postgraduate projects that could be aligned to aid the progression of the project.

    8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

    Qualifications / Training


  • First degree in Earth Science or Geology and a PhD linked to magmatic processes
  • Ability to work in remote and rugged terrane
  • Full driving licence
  • Experienced with detailed field mapping techniques
  • Petrographic knowledge for examining igneous thin sections
  • Ability to work independently and lead project work
  • High level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Desirable

  • Experience with high pressure-temperature petrology
  • Knowledge of petrological-based thermodynamic software
  • Previously published on Archaean TTG formation
  • Experience with running an XRF and / or ICP-MS
  • 9. Dimensions

    There are no line management responsibilities associated with this post.

    10. Job Context and any other relevant information

    This PDRA position will be based in Edinburgh and will involve occasional travel to use facilities at Portsmouth and St.

    Andrews. The PDRA will also be required to undertake fieldwork in Iceland and to present results at international conferences.

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