Research Staff (f_m_x) in Electron Microscopy


The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,500 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.

Applications are invited for a research scientist specialised in electron microscopic and spectroscopic characterization of geomaterials and interfacial processes. The post holder will become an integral part of the Potsdam Imaging and Spectral Analysis (PISA) facility hosted and run by the Interface Geochemistry section 3.5 at the GFZ.

Research Staff (f_m_x) in Electron Microscopy

Reference Number 7098

The appointed researcher will join a team of academics, technicians and staff scientists and help run the facility for collaborative research across a broad range of geomaterial projects. The Potsdam Imaging and Spectral Analysis (PISA) Facility currently houses: 1 high-resolution Zeiss Ultra Plus scanning electron microscope (SEM) and 2 Focused Ion Beam combined with SEM (FIB-SEM) instruments (FEI Helios G4 UC and FEI Quanta 3D) and 2 high-resolution transmission electron microscopes (TEM, FEI Tecnai and Thermo Fisher Themis Z), as well as various sample preparation and handling options including cryo-mode SEM and cryo-TEM options. The research topics that our team tackles and for which electron beam analyses are needed are highly diverse and span across biogeochemistry, geobiology, materials science, chemical physics, mineral physics and inorganic (geo-)chemistry. 

The selected candidate will work on various aspects related to the high-resolution characterization of inorganic and biogenic materials that the wider Interface Geochemistry team and its collaborators focus on. She/he/they will have access to and employ a series of conventional and cryogenic micro-spectroscopic characterization approaches to derive fundamental knowledge about molecular level interface processes that span from nucleation, growth and transformation of phases synthesized in laboratory experiments and all the way to complex natural terrestrial or space materials. She/he/they will be integrated into all the instrumental microscopy work but will primarily be responsible for the SEM aspects of the facility. She/he/they will be responsible for training users and coordinating the maintenance of the scanning electron beam instruments. Developing own research direction is encouraged.

Interested candidates please detail in a cover letter your fit to the below outlined responsibilities and qualifications (max 2 pages) and add a CV, publication list and a research statement (1 page).

Your responsibilities:

  • Application of various state-of-the-art multimodal and multidimensional electron microscopy methods for the acquisition and analysis of diverse geo(bio)materials with a target focus on SEM approaches
  • Develop, validate and implement novel specimen preparation methods for cryo-sample handling and analyses
  • Contribute to data collection and analysis for a variety of academic collaborations within and outside the GFZ
  • Help maintain the SEM microscopes within the PISA facility
  • Publish in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Present research results at internal, national and international scientific meetings
  • Lead and/or considerably contribute to 3rd party proposals
  • Co-supervise Master's and PhD students

Your qualifications:

  • Master`s and PhD degree in mineralogy, biogeochemistry, materials science or equivalent but an absolute must is a demonstrated strong focus and experience in scanning electron microscopic research focus
  • At least 3 years of well-documented hands-on expertise in operating, maintaining and managing and carrying out high quality research using scanning electron microscopic instruments
  • Documented skills in imaging/analyses of complex inorganic and geo-bio materials and interfaces
  • Knowledge of and experience in various SEM sample preparation techniques 
  • Knowledge of and experience with cryo-SEM methods for inorganic/geobiological materials is an advantage
  • Proven track record of achievements (publications, 3rd party funding acquisition, conference/workshop presentations etc)
  • Experience in working on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Capacity for interdisciplinary and international teamwork and excellent communication skills
  • Demonstrated experience in the supervision of students
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English, German is an asset

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre 
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site 
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Start date: As soon as possible
Fixed-term: Permanent position
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Full-time (currently 39 h/week); The position is generally suitable for part-time work.
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

Critically important is that you upload all the following documents via the online application process:
(a) cover letter detailing how you fit the responsibilities and qualifications of the advertised post (max 2 pages)
(b) detailed CV
(c) publication list
(d) max 1 page personal interest research statement 
(e) names and contact of at least 2 referees.

Please submit your application online by 11th June 2023 using the "Apply" button. Only online applications are accepted.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at], who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Liane G. Benning via email at If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.

If you have any questions regarding equal opportunities, please contact the GFZ's Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr. Weckmann, at +49 331 288-2824 or by email.

The representative of the severely disabled at the GFZ, Ms. Thiel, will be happy to answer questions about the work participation of severely disabled persons at +49 331 288-1648 or by email.



Franca Buge

Abteilung Personal

0331 288-28787


Carolin Büsser

Abteilung Personal

0331 288-28787 

GFZ - Helmholtz / Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum

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Deadline: 2023-06-11
Location: Germany, Potsdam
Categories: biogeochemistry, Geosciences, Materials Science, Microscopy, mineralogy, PhD, Researcher,


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