Staff scientist in Quaternary Sediments and Geoarchaeology

Updated: 25 minutes ago
Deadline: 17 Apr 2020

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen

We are looking for a highly motivated and independent staff scientist to support our efforts in paleoenvironmental research including ancient environmental DNA (aeDNA) and geoarchaeology to commence 1 June 2020.

Research at the Center for GeoGenetics is conducted by a very diverse group of international researchers with a range of specializations, including molecular biology, bioinformatics, genetics as well as geology, sedimentology and geochemistry and archaeology. Our projects include the analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) from quaternary, archaeological and modern contexts as well as the traditional geological, osteological and palynological research. This collaboration requires a creative and eclectic researcher staff interested in solving problems together. Some of our research themes include tracking the history of infectious diseases in urban environments using sediment archives, reconstructing the history of particulate pollution (including microplastics) through the industrial period and surveying eDNA in dust collected in modern train stations.  

The Center is embedded within the GLOBE Institute at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. The Institute’s main purpose is to address basic scientific questions through interdisciplinary approaches. The institute operates at the intersection of natural sciences, medical sciences and the humanities

Your job

E.g.: You will join a multi-disciplinary research team with a range of expertise including researchers specialized in the extraction and bioinformatic analysis of ancient and modern environment DNA.  The applicant must be able to collaborate, augmenting the aeDNA studies by producing: relevant independent proxy studies of the paleoenvironment for comparison, describing changes in the depositional environment and producing chronologies. These studies require a rigorous understanding of taphonomic processes and critically evaluation of the sampling contexts whether modern, archaeological or paleoecological. Other responsibilities include technical analysis, interpretation and publishing of geoarchaeological projects conducted through the ArchaeoScience unit at the Globe Institute, as well as researching and writing grant applications. You will be expected to support and contribute to the ongoing research projects in the group on an ad hoc basis and when needed; disseminate your expertise to new lab members and support the lab management.


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic, service minded staff scientist with interests and skills intersecting quaternary geology, paleoecology and archaeology.

Essential competencies and experience

  • An MSc in the life sciences or a related discipline and knowledge of Quaternary Geology or Paleoecology with a focus on environmental reconstruction.
  • You have active eclectic interests intersecting environmental science, quaternary geology, paleoecology, archaeology and eDNA.
  • You have documented experience in both paleoecology and archaeology, and are able to interpret and analyze quaternary depositional sediments including complex (typically urban) archaeological sequences.
  • You have an ability to envision, plan and execute an interdisciplinary research projects are versatile and service-minded, willing to research and develop new lab protocols for specific problems.  
  • Excellent spoken and written English, with proficiency at the academic level.

Desirable experience and specific analytic skills include:

  • Experience with microfossil (e.g. pollen, spores, microcharcoal, fungi, parasite eggs, planktonic algae) extraction and analysis (including identification, enumeration, plotting and statistical analyses) from both lakes, mires and archaeological contexts including anthrosols. Experience with heavy liquid extraction of microfossils from minerogenic sediments and micro-plastic particles from lacustrine sediment is very useful.
  • Experience with archaeological excavation (including single context) and stratigraphic mapping including profiling and core logging and stratigraphic modeling of natural and archaeological strata.
  • Experience with flotation extraction and identification of plant macrofossils for paleovegetation reconstruction and AMS dating as well as macro and micro-charcoal analysis, including enumeration and statistical analysis for fire-history and particulate pollution reconstruction.
  • Experience with sampling and subsampling archeological and natural sediment sequences for eDNA (metagenomics) analysis.
  • Experience with sediment analyses including: Particle-size analysis using both mechanical screening and laser diffraction particle size analysis (Mastersizer 2000), Geochemical analysis using loss on ignition, titration and, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy for compositional element analysis pf sediment cores (Itrax-XRF).
  • Familiarity with non-destructive X-ray fluorescence analysis (using a NITON XL3 GOLDD+ pXRF and S2 PUMA EDXRF) for determine the elemental composition of lithic artifacts, human and animal bone and teeth.
  • Familiarity with database applications including Excel and Access, Graphics and 3D visualization, contouring and surface modelling programs (e.g. Grapher, Strater, ArcGIS, Surfer), and statistical applications (e.g. Matlab, AutoSignal, Past3) including some designed specifically for the plotting and statistical analysis of microfossil data (e.g. CharAnalysis, Psimpol or Tilia, and paleovegetation reconstruction algorithms REVELS and LOVE) is recommended. Age-depth modeling in Oxcal is also useful.

Place of employment

The place of employment is at Globe Institute, Center for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

Terms of salary and employment

The employment as ‘staff scientist’ (AC-TAP) is full time, and the starting date is 1 June  2020. Employment will be in accordance with the provisions of the collective agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). The monthly salary will be based on the number of years of work experience (seniority) with the possibility to negotiate a salary supplement based on prior experiences and qualifications. The employer will pay an additional 17.1 % to your pension fund.


For further information regarding the position, please contact Professor Kurt Kjær, [email protected]


Your application must be submitted in  English and include:

  • Letter of application addressing the requirements (max. one page).
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A certified/signed copy of certificate(s) of education

Please submit your application by clicking on “Apply Now” below. Only online applications will be accepted.

Application deadline: Friday April 17 2020, 23.59 CET

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

Interviews are expected to be held in week 18

University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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