New one-year Swiss National Science Foundation funded post-doc position

DEADLINE: 12 December 2019
WORKPLACE: Laussanne Mouline (Géopolis)


1. Introduction

UNIL is a leading international teaching and research institution, with over 5,000 employees and 15,500 students split between its Dorigny campus, CHUV and Epalinges. As an employer, UNIL encourages excellence, individual recognition and responsibility.

2. Presentation:

To complete the team, the Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics of the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment is looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher SNSF in the impact of chemical weathering on the luminescence of quartz and feldspar minerals.

3. Your responsabilities:

The position is focussing on constraining the effect of chemical weathering on the luminescence properties of quartz and feldspar minerals. The project will combine lab-based weathering experiments with the characterisation of sample luminescence properties (e.g. emission spectrum, intensity, ground-state tunneling rate, thermal stability etc.) to develop a luminescence-based proxy of total weathering amount. This proxy will then be tested on natural soil minerals with known weathering histories.

Soil formation is determined by environmentally controlled rates of chemical weathering. Whilst short-term chemical weathering rates are well constrained, it remains challenging to constrain weathering rates over timescales of 1 ka or more. This SNSF funded SPARK project seeks to determine whether the total amount of weathering experienced by silicate minerals can be estimated from their luminescence properties.

100% of the engagement will be dedicated to research on understanding the effect of chemical weathering on the luminescence properties of quartz and feldspar minerals.

The successful candidate will join the newly launched Swiss Trapped Charge dating facility (SWITCH), led by Prof. Georgina King and will also work with Prof. Jasquelin Peña and Dr. Stéphanie Grand in the Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics.

SWITCH specialises in pairing empirical data with numerical modelling to develp novel geochronological techniques for understanding environmental change. SWITCH hosts a state-of-the-art luminescence dating laboratory comprising dedicated rock preparation facilities, a high precision Ge detector gamma spectrometer, benchtop ESR spectrometer, X-ray irradiator, five Risø TL-DA-20 readers including single-grain, time-resolved (single photon capture), CDD and emission spectroscopy measurement capabilities. Facilities for mineralogical and geochemical characterisation as well as mineral dissolution experiments are available in-house.

4. Your qualifications:
In order to complete our team, we are looking for someone with the following skills :

  • Doctoral degree in geography / geology / earth/soil science, physics of chemistry ;
  • Experience of luminescence dating or luminescence spectroscopy ;
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English. Working knowledge of French is not necessary, but would be advantageous ;
  • Interest in developing new analytical approaches.

5. What the position offers you:
We offer a nice working place in a multicultural, diverse and dynamic academic environment. Opportunities for professional training, a lot of activities and other benefits to discover.

6. Contact for further information:

Ms Professor Georgina King (

7. Your application:
Please, send :

  • Motivation letter ;
  • Curriculum Vitae ;
  • Copy of university degree certificates and transcripts of marks awarded ;
  • Electronic version of a research output (e.g., scientific publication) ;
  • Contact information for two professional references.

The application documents must be uploaded as a signle PDF file.
Only applications through this website will be taken into account.
We thank you for your understanding.