University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Assistant/Associate in the petrogenesis of REE-rich alkaline igneous systems (Fixed Term)

We are inviting applications for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) to join the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship funded project, 'A process-based understanding of rare-earth element deposits' (PI Owen Weller, Co-I Carrie Soderman). This project aims to develop a systems-based understanding of alkaline igneous rocks, which are one of the most important primary sources of rare-earth elements (REEs). A specific goal of the project is to quantify the geodynamic and magmatic controls on the enrichment and transport of their contained REEs, with a view to streamline exploration for associated mineralisation.

The successful candidate will be based in Cambridge and will join a supportive research community with expertise in petrology, thermodynamic modelling, and a range of microanalytical techniques. The research will involve multi-scale geochemical characterisation of targeted alkaline igneous systems in Scotland, Namibia and/or Greenland by a range of microanalytical techniques, including laser ablation mapping. Integrating these data with field and petrographic observations, and new phase equilibria models developed by the PI, the aim will be to understand the magmatic evolution of the targeted systems, and the controls on their REE concentrations. The project will involve numerous opportunities for the candidate to learn new skills and to travel for collaborations, conferences, and fieldwork.

Applicants should have (or be about to obtain), a Ph.D. in igneous petrology or any closely related field. Although training in relevant techniques will be provided, experience of analysing the geochemistry of igneous rocks by laser ablation techniques will be beneficial. Depending on career stage and opportunities, the successful candidate will also have a track record of publication in peer-reviewed international journals and presentations at conferences. They should also have good communication and numerical skills and be able to demonstrate scientific independence and initiative.

Latest start date for the position is 01 January 2025, please note there is no flexibility on this date.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 15 months in the first instance.

Salary ranges: Research Associate: £36,024 - £44,263 (Grade 7). Appointment at Research Associate level is dependent on having a PhD. Those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD, will initially be under-appointed as a Research Assistant (Grade 5, Point 38 - £32,982), moving to Research Associate (Grade 7) upon confirmation of their PhD award.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Further details on the position can be found in the Further Particulars document.

Informal enquires about the position should be made to Owen Weller ( and Carrie Soderman (

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV), a covering letter and publications list in the upload section. If you upload any additional documents that have not been requested they will not be considered as part of your application.

We hope to hold interviews 27-30 August 2024.

Please quote reference LB42135 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online