Post-doctoral researcher position at the Jackson School of Geosciences on Integrative Analysis of Plate-Tectonic System Evolution (PLATES-4D)


Società Geologica Italiana

The Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) at The University of Texas at Austin seeks to hire a creative and enterprising postdoctoral scholar to engage with researchers and faculty across the JSG on a topic that furthers our understanding of Earth as a system. A particular focus of interest is the co-evolution of the surface (e.g., biodiversity, climate, surface processes) and the deep (e.g., plate boundary evolution, mantle convection, geodynamo) as seen in the horizontal and vertical motions of lithospheric plates through time.

JSG has expertise in a number of related disciplines and has long supported related projects such as PLATES at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, a JSG research unit. Building on these strengths, we have now embarked on a new PLATES-4D initiative to develop better plate tectonic reconstructions, and embed them in a 4-D model of planetary evolution, in a manner consistent with the approach spelled out in the JSG strategic plan. We seek to appoint a post-doctoral scholar to complement our expertise and engage with and advance these endeavors.

Topics of collaborative study could include, but are not limited to:

  • Modeling of volatile transport and paleo-climate on regional scales;
  • Exploration of links between tectonics, topography, climate, and biodiversity;
  • Application of Bayesian uncertainty quantification, machine learning, and data assimilation to improve and automate plate reconstructions;
  • Study of the deformation history of continents, including the evolution of topography and sea level;
  • Incorporation of mantle dynamics in plate tectonic reconstructions, and validation with geological and geophysical constraints.

We are interested in arriving at a better understanding of general, global processes but also have specific regional interests in natural laboratories, including the Caribbean and northern South America.

We seek candidates from across the earth sciences, but a background in the integration of geological and geophysical constraints for plate reconstructions, and/or exosphere or deep earth system evolution models is a distinct advantage. A Ph.D. is required at the time of appointment.

The appointment is initially for one year, with possible extension to two years after a successful first-year evaluation. Salary is $60,000 per year and appointees are eligible for group health insurance.
All application documents should be sent to Application review will commence on April 1, 2020, but the position will remain open until filled.
The application package should include:

  • A document outlining past achievements and general research interests (one page);
  • A two-year research proposal including a short section describing how the project connects multiple research scientists and/or faculty from more than one JSG unit (one page; information about research activities can be found on our JSG web site , and the applicant is encouraged to reach out to possible JSG mentors);
  • A CV including a list of publications; and
  • A list with the names of three potential referees.

For questions about this position, please contact Thorsten Becker at

The University of Texas at Austin, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.