Palaeoceanographer (THOR) – Cambridge and Antarctica

Job reference:
BAS 96/19
Contract type:
Full Time
Fixed-Term Appointment (30 months)
Starting from £30,782 per annum
We offer generous benefits
British Antarctic Survey
BAS Cambridge, Antarctica (research cruise), core repositories and laboratories in UK and abroad as required.
Closing date:
13 October, 2019 11:59 pm


The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is looking for a Palaeoceanographer to join the Thwaites offshore research (THOR) team aiming to reconstruct past changes in ocean conditions and the response of Thwaites glacier to these changes. The THOR project is part of The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, which is an ambitious joint UK-US science collaboration to reduce uncertainty in the projection of sea-level rise from Thwaites
Glacier in West Antarctica.


Applications are invited for a 30-month postdoctoral research position in
Palaeoceanography at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The successful applicant will join the Thwaites offshore research (THOR) team aiming to reconstruct past changes in ocean conditions and the response of Thwaites glacier to these changes.
They will help recover and analyse sediment cores from the Amundsen Sea to reconstruct past changes in circumpolar deep water using a variety of geochemical techniques. Expertise in trace metal geochemistry (Mg/Ca) and stable isotope analysis of foraminifera is desirable although candidates with experience working with other relevant proxies for reconstructing ocean properties (e.g., biomarkers) are also encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will work with Dr. James Smith and Dr. Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand in collaboration with coinvestigators from BAS, University of Houston, Rice University, University of Alabama, University of Virginia, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and University of Southern Florida.
The successful candidate will have a PhD in palaeoceanography, or in a related discipline such as marine geology, geochemistry or Quaternary Sciences. This post will commence on 1st January 2020.
For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Dr James Smith [email protected] or Dr Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand [email protected]


PhD in Palaeoceanography, Marine Geology, or Quaternary Sciences


# Participate in a research cruise to the Amundsen Sea (Jan-Mar 2020) and assist with recovering, splitting, sampling and describing marine sediment cores and with echosounder watch-keeping
# Assist with splitting, logging and sampling of marine sediment cores in the U.S. Antarctic core repository (Oregon State University)
# Prepare sediment core samples for a range of post-cruise analyses (AMS 14C dating, grain size, geochemical and mineralogical provenance, stable isotopes on calcareous foraminifera), carry out some analyses personally and arrange for others to be done externally
# Take responsibility for analyses on sediment core samples for reconstructing changes in ocean water properties on the Amundsen Sea shelf, with particular focus on historical times (e.g., trace metal or stable isotope analyses on calcareous benthic and planktic foraminifera)
# Interpret the results of these analyses and work together with THOR team colleagues to integrate these interpretations with those from other data types
# Deliver research outputs, publish them in international peer-reviewed journals and present them at international conferences and internal meetings
# Prepare and contribute to reports, conference presentations, scientific papers and research proposals as directed by THOR colleagues at BAS
# Work alongside other PICC staff and BAS teams to maximise scientific products and outputs
# To maintain a high-profile for UKRI-NERC/BAS/PICC and THOR within the UK and international research community

On-line application forms and further information are available on our website at

These are also available from the Human Resources Section, British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET. Tel: (01223) 221508.
Please quote reference: BAS 96/19
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 13th October 2019
Interviews are scheduled to be held on: Tuesday 29th October 2019
Proposed start date: 1st January 2020

BAS is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities and disabled people are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome. We operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the job. We are open to a range of flexible working options, including job sharing, to support childcare and other caring responsibilities.

Skills are listed as either Essential or Desirable. Desirable skills importance rating in parenthesis (1 is high, 5 is low)

Communication skills - a) oral skills b) written skills

  • Fluent in written and spoken English language - Essential
  • Evidence of good quality presentations and list of first author publications in international journals - Essential
  • First/co-author publications in high impact journals - Desirable [1]
  • Record of invited presentations at scientific conferences - Desirable [2]

Computer / IT skills

  • Skilled in the use of spreadsheet, drawing, word processing and slide presentation software - Essential
  • Familiarity with MS Office software, CorelDraw and/or Adobe Illustrator - Desirable [2]

Decision Making

  • Capability to plan and make dayto- day decisions about work in the laboratory, and to progress with work in the absence of the line manager - Essential

Interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work as part of a team and to negotiate with external laboratories to arrange analytical work - Essential

Managerial ability

  • Strong personal time management - Essential
  • Experience of managing junior staff and supervising postgraduate students - Desirable [2]

Numerical ability

  • At a level commensurate with a PhD in Marine Geology, Palaeoceanography or Quaternary Sciences - Essential

Other Factors

  • Physically capable and medically fit to work on Antarctic marine cruises - Essential
  • Record of successful applications for external funding - Desirable [2]


  • PhD in Palaeoceanography, Marine Geology, or Quaternary Sciences - Essential
  • Strong national profile and evidence of developing international profile - Desirable [1]

Resource Management ability

  • Ability to manage delegated science budget lines - Essential
  • Ability to manage science project budgets - Desirable [3]

Skills / Experience

  • Experience in laboratory-based preparation and analysis of discrete marine sediment samples - Essential
  • Experience in analysing multiple proxies from marine sediment cores for reconstructing past ocean water properties (especially temperature) - Essential
  • Experience in isotope/trace metal geochemistry in foraminifera, micropaleontology and/or organic geochemistry. - Essential
  • Marine geosciences cruise experience, particularly of collecting, describing and sampling sediment cores - Desirable [1]
  • Experience of glacimarine environments, knowledge of proxy limitations in these settings - Desirable [1]
  • Experience in sedimentological work Demonstrated ability to lead a research topic - Desirable [1]

You can apply for this job online or you can print off the application forms, fill them out by hand and mail them.

Apply Online:

Apply by post:

If you would like to apply for this job but cannot apply online, you can print the application form(s) and post it back to us.

Please ensure you complete all required sections of the application form(s) and include a Cover Letter and a copy of your CV.

When posting your application, ensure there is sufficient postage.

These forms are in an OpenDocument format and may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. An accessible format may be requested by contacting us.

Send your completed application forms to:
Human Resources Team
British Antarctic Survey
High Cross, Madingley Road
United Kingdom

If you need more information

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 221400
Facsimile: +44 (0)1223 362616

The information you provide during the application process will only be used for the purpose of progressing your application, to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements where necessary or, in the case of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire, to help BAS meet its equal opportunities policy.

The British Antarctic Survey will not share the information you provide with any third parties, and the information will be held securely by the British Antarctic Survey whether the information is in electronic or physical format. Please note that the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire will be detached from your application prior to the short-listing of candidates for interview.

Unsuccessful applications will be securely destroyed 6 months after the end of the recruitment process (or 1 year after the end of the recruitment process in the case of Marine Staff and AEP. The applications of successful applicants will be retained as part of their personnel file.

Further information can be found in the information notice of NERC, our parent body.