- Temporary position longer than 6 months
The Department of Chemistry is hiring a postdoc for a research project on the formation of methylmercury in contaminated sediments. The employment is full-time for two years with start as soon as possible, or by agreement.
Project description and working tasks
You will study processes for the formation of methylmercury in contaminated sediments with focus on how chemical speciation of Hg and molecular composition on organic matter control this process.
Mercury poses serious threats to ecosystems and human health, primarily through the formation and spread of methylmercury in aquatic ecosystems. To improve this situation, the contributions from contaminated sediments to the total mercury load on ecosystems must be carefully evaluated and effective measures taken. Today, there are uncertainties about the risks of mercury-contaminated sediments due to insufficient understanding of the factors that control the formation and spread of methylmercury. There is a great need for improved risk assessments that include these processes.
The project will include field sampling of sediment and water, and potentially biota. You will characterize the chemical speciation of Hg with synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy and the molecular composition on organic matter with mass spectrometry and study in laboratory experiments how the formation of methylmercury is controlled by these factors. The project aims to generate practically applicable tools for improved risk assessments of contaminated sediments through focused fundamental research of biogeochemical processes.
Within the project, you will carry out the experimental research work, which you plan and evaluate in collaboration with the project’s other researchers. You will also be responsible for writing scientific publications and presentations of results at seminars / conferences. Together with the project’s other researchers, you will be responsible for contacts and discussions with government officials about the project’s design and results. Teaching may be included in the employment of a maximum of 20% and in that case, the employment is extended by the corresponding time.
The postdoctoral project is funded by grants from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in a call for research projects on risks with and, or spread of hazardous substances from contaminated sediments. Within the same project we will hire one more postdoc who will focus on the development of methodology based on stable isotope measurements to track the spread of methylmercury from contaminated sediments to surrounding sediment, water and biota. The two postdocs will work in close collaboration within their projects which will be carried out within an international team with researchers in analytical chemistry and biogeochemistry at Umeå University (Prof. Erik Björn; https://www.umu.se/en/staff/erik-bjorn/), SLU, Umeå (Prof. Ulf Skyllberg; https://www.slu.se/en/ew-cv/ulf-skyllberg/), and CNRS/Pau Univeristy, France (Prof. David Amouroux; https://iprem.univ-pau.fr/fr/iprem/membres/cv_-damourou-fr.html). A reference group will be linked to the project and consist of representatives from government agencies (eg County Administrative Boards) and environmental consulting and industrial companies, which further broadens your network within the project.
Eligible to be employed as a postdoctoral fellow is a person who has completed a doctoral degree or a foreign degree that is deemed to correspond to a doctoral degree in biogeochemistry or an equivalent subject area with a focus on mercury biogeochemistry. In the first instance, it should be considered as having completed a degree no more than three years before the end of the application period. If there are special reasons, it may be considered as having completed a doctoral degree earlier. Special reasons refer to leave due to illness, parental leave or clinical service, positions of trust within trade unions or other similar circumstances. Postdoctoral fellows who are to teach or supervise must have relevant higher education pedagogical education.
You have experience of and an interest in experimental research. A very good knowledge in written and spoken English is required. You should have a good ability to take initiative and collaborate and be flexible to changes within the project. In your work, you should have a focus on high quality and a good ability to solve problems analytically.
Experience of field sampling, work with sediments or soils, synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy (eg EXAFS), experiments with enriched isotope tracers, molecular characterization of natural organic matter with MS techniques and ICPMS techniques are meritorious.
A complete application must contain
- Personal letter of a maximum of two A4 pages describing your qualifications, research interests, why you are applying for the position and how your research experiences fit with the announced position,
- CV and list of publications,
- Certified copy of doctoral certificate,
- Certified copies of other diplomas, academic course certificates and / or grades,
- If possible, electronic link to doctoral thesis and a maximum of 5 relevant publications,
- Contact details for two reference persons,
- Other documents that you want to invoke.
The application must be written in English or Swedish. The application is submitted through our electronic recruitment system. Documents sent electronically must be in Word or PDF format. Log in to the system and apply via the button at the end of this page. Last day to apply is Friday 13th of August 2021.
Further information is provided by Prof. Erik Björn, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of Chemistry
The Department of Chemistry is the largest department within the Faculty of Science and Technology and has about 200 employees, of which about 40 are postdocs and with a strong and expanding research. Three major research areas, Biological Chemistry, Environmental and Biogeochemistry and Technical Chemistry bring together the department’s research and education in chemistry. We are also a strong partner within KBC, Chemical-Biological Centre. You will work in a research environment that offers a strong focus and depth in biogeochemistry, but also a wide range of expertise and research infrastructure within the KBC environment.
As soon as possible or by agreement
090-786 51 89
090-786 53 65
090-786 52 96
Umeå University wants to offer an equal environment where open dialogue between people with different backgrounds and perspectives lay the foundation for learning, creativity and development. We welcome people with different backgrounds and experiences to apply for the current employment. We kindly decline offers of recruitment and advertising help.
Post expires on Friday August 13th, 2021