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Postdoctoral fellowship (2 years) in Planetary Geochemistry and Spectroscopy

The Department of Chemistry is offering a postdoctoral scholarship within a project aimed to resolve preservation conditions of potential ancient life signatures on Mars using vibrational spectroscopy. The scholarship is full-time for two years with access in the fall of 2022 beginning October 1, 2022 or by agreement.

Project description

Salts have been detected all over the planet Mars through previous orbital missions. These salts are associated with rocks and soils and could play very important roles in the geological processes on Mars. Additionally, preservation of organic salts in the soils might be one of the potential ancient life signatures on Mars, which are also determined as mission goals of Mars2020 of NASA and ExoMars of ESA.

The postdoctoral fellow will get the opportunity to perform several laboratory experiments, mainly using vibrational spectroscopy. The postdoctoral fellow will participate in designing, data acquisition and analysis processes. We offer a unique opportunity to learn high-end techniques, especially for cryogenic studies, and to build a scientific network in astrobiology and planetary science fields. The postdoctoral fellow will be part of the newly-established Yeşilbaş Lab at Umeå University. You will integrate into the Molecular Geochemistry and Environmental Chemistry research environments of the Department of Chemistry and get full access to our newly developing laboratory and various analytical platforms of the Chemical and Biological Center. The postdoctoral fellow will have opportunities to collaborate with external research groups and attend international meetings and conferences. Furthermore, Umeå Postdoc Society (UPS) presents a very active and lively postdoc community environment for postdocs at Umeå University.

The tax-free 2-year fellowship is funded by the Kempe Foundation and it amounts to 312 000 SEK per year. 


To qualify as a postdoctoral scholarship holder, the postdoctoral fellow is required to have completed a doctoral degree or a foreign degree deemed equivalent to a doctoral degree. This qualification requirements must be fulfilled no later than at the time of the decision about scholarship recipient.

Priority is given to candidates who completed their doctoral degree, according to what is stipulated in the paragraph above, no later than three years prior. If there are special reasons, candidates who completed their doctoral degree prior to that may also be eligible. Special reasons include absence due to illness, parental leave, appointments of trust in trade union organizations, military service, or similar circumstances, as well as clinical practice or other forms of appointment/assignment relevant to the subject area. If so, this must be clearly stated in the application.

The candidate must have a PhD degree in (geo)chemistry, planetary science, astrobiology, geosciences, or physics. Very good skills in written and spoken English are required.

We seek a candidate who is highly motivated, analytical, problem-solving, and is able to independently make progression in their projects, and has excellent skills in project management and organization as well as communication. The candidate should have previous experience with vibrational spectroscopy techniques and be familiar with data analysis. Experience in ice chemistry research and/or geological materials is a merit.


A full application should include:

  • Cover letter (max. 2 pages) describing previous research experience relevant to the project,
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with publication list,
  • Verified copy of doctoral degree certificate or documentation that clarifies when the degree of doctor is expected to be obtained,
  • Verified copies of other diplomas, list of completed academic courses and grades,
  • Copy of doctoral thesis and up to three relevant articles, 
  • Other documents that the applicant wishes to claim,
  • Contact information to three persons willing to act as references.

Submit your application as a PDF marked with the reference number FS 2.1.7-1521-22, both in the file name and in the subject field of the email, to The application can be written in English (preferably) or Swedish. Application deadline is 30 September 2022.

Further information

For more information, please contact Dr. Merve Yeşilbaş,, web:

Potential candidates will be interviewed during the application period.

We look forward to receiving your application! 

The Department of Chemistry is one of the largest departments within the Faculty of Science and Technology and has about 200 employees, of which about 40 are research students and a strong and expanding research. Three major research areas, Biological Chemistry, Environmental and Biogeochemistry and Technical Chemistry bring together the department's research and education in chemistry. We are also a strong partner within KBC, Chemical-Biological Center. 

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier who was active at Umeå University when the CRISPR-Cas9 method was developed.