Postdoctoral Fellow in Methane and Organic Geochemistry in the Arctic Ocean
Stockholm University Department of Environmental Science

Postdoctoral Fellow in Methane and Organic Geochemistry in the Arctic Ocean Stockholm

Ref. No. SU FV‐0786‐21


at the Department of Environmental Science. Closing date: 9 April 2021.

The Department of Environmental Science (ACES) hosts approximately 200 researchers, doctoral students and technical/administrative staff. The department focuses on research and teaching across atmospheric science, biogeochemistry, climate change, ecotoxicology, environmental and analytical chemistry. Our research-oriented department hosts about 30 post-doc fellows and 60 Ph.D. students, recruited from all over the World. We are also well immersed in the interdepartmental Bolin Centre for Climate Research, a national center of excellence.

Project description

The Arctic hosts extensive areas of permafrost (on land and in the subsea) and methane hydrates (on the shelf and along the continental slope). It is one of the grand challenges in earth science to better understand the composition and functioning of these systems – the scientific underpinning towards predictions of how much greenhouse gases that may be released from thawing permafrost and collapsing methane hydrates in the Arctic.

Thawing permafrost on land releases old organic matter to the extensive East Siberian Arctic Ocean, via coastal erosion and large rivers. We seek to increase the understanding of sources, transport and degradation processes of permafrost-derived carbon in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean using biomarkers and isotopic tools.  These processes are key aspects of the permafrost carbon-climate link. The project offers involvement in studies of both the contemporary carbon system as well as during earlier warming periods through studies of deep sediment cores.

Thawing subsea permafrost, disintegrating methane hydrates and deep thermogenic reservoirs are releasing methane to overlying water and atmosphere on the shallow yet extensive East Siberian Arctic Ocean, the World’s largest shelf sea system. We seek to decrease the large uncertainty of the relative contributions of these sources using triple-isotope source fingerprinting. We also seek knowledge on how this subsea system operates, the fate of the released methane and how these fluxes will develop over coming decades-century.

Main responsibilities

The incoming post-doc will have large opportunities to develop the direction and approach of the research in supportive collaboration with the rest of us in the international team. The support functions include active work with a career-development plan for post-docs in the department. Our long-term and developing research program offer access to state-of-the-art analytical facilities for advanced molecular and compound-specific isotope analyses, an extensive sample archives of air, water, surface sediments, gravity and piston cores from the East Siberian Arctic Ocean.  There are also opportunities for new oceanographic expeditions and continuous sample and data collection from our Arctic atmospheric observatory. 

Our research in this area is currently financed by the European Research Council (ERC - Advanced Grant), two EU H2020 projects, and the Swedish Research Council (VR).

Qualification requirements

Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country.

Assessment criteria

The degree should have been completed no more than three years before the deadline for applications. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances, which may involve sick leave, parental leave, clinical attachment, elected positions in trade unions, or similar.

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research skills. The selection is based on the applicant’s ability to successfully pursue the post-doc research project. Special emphasis is put on the applicant’s knowledge and skills within the subject area, ability to express her/himself verbally and in writing, analytical aptitude, creativity, initiative and independence, and a capacity for working together with others. The evaluation will be made based on the relevance of past research, education and experience, the quality and ambition of earlier research work, references, a cover letter motivating the candidate’s interest, and interviews.

We are seeking a highly motivated person with a completed Ph.D. within the Environmental or Earth Sciences, Chemistry or Engineering. Experience with biomarker extraction and analysis, trace gas sampling/purification, handling of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry systems, isotopic techniques and field sampling are all beneficial. A background in organic geochemistry would be highly suitable. Collaborative skills and well-developed proficiency in scientific writing are required.

Terms of employment

The position involves full-time employment for a maximum of two years, with the possibility of extension under special circumstances. Start date as per agreement.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.


Further information about the position can be obtained from Professor Örjan Gustafsson,

Union representatives

Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89,, and (SEKO).


Apply for the position at Stockholm University's recruitment system by clicking the "Apply" button. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application:

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 3 files)
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: How to apply for a position.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.

Closing date: 09/04/2021


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