MSCA SALTGIANT ETN annonces 15 PhD student positions in Earth, Biological and Social Sciences, Germany

Applications are invited for 15 PhD student positions for 36 months to be funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network “SALTGIANT – Understanding the Mediterranean Salt Giant” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission.

SALTGIANT Research and Training

SALTGIANT is a rare cross-disciplinary network of natural and social scientists dedicated to understanding the formation of the Mediterranean Salt Giant, one of the largest salt deposits on Earth, and its implications for sub-seafloor microbial life, risk assessment in the oil industry, geo-economics of the Mediterranean region and the history of oceanography.
SALTGIANT brings together 24 academic organizations (13 beneficiaries, 11 partners), 6 private sector Oil&Gas companies, 2 mining sector companies, 1 biotechnology company, 1 geopolitics think tank, 1 museum and 1 specialist in transferable skills training from 11 countries to stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectorial knowledge exchange between geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, microbiologist, geographers and historians in a network with PhD students at its core.

SALTGIANT combines:

(i) geological and geochemical field work,
(ii) laboratory measurements and experiments,
(iii) numerical modelling at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales and
(iv) empirical social sciences data collection and analysis, guaranteeing exposure of the research fellows to state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and hands-on practical training in a field rich in applications of both intellectual and societal relevance.

PhD positions available

ESR1 – Late Miocene-Early Pliocene offshore onshore sedimentary records in the vicinity of Gibraltar – University of Salamanca, Salamanca (Spain).

ESR2 – Marginal vertical motions (Western Mediterranean and Levant basins) – Consejo Superior de Investigationes Scientificas (CSIC), Barcelona (Spain).

ESR3 – Balearic Basin Architecture – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Montpellier (France).

ESR4 – Sicilian Basin Architecture – University of Palermo, Palermo (Italy).

ESR5 – Lago Mare Revisited – Utrecht University, Utrecht (The Netherlands).

ESR6 – Hydrology of Mediterranean Marginal basins during the formation of the Mediterranean Salt Giant – Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), Paris (France).

ESR7 – Modelling the (bio-)geochemical evolution and circulation of Messinian brine – Utrecht University, Utrecht (The Netherlands).

ESR8 – The microbial sulphur-cycle in Messinian evaporites – Hamburg University, Hamburg (Germany).

ESR9 – Long-term survival of microbes in halite brine inclusions – University of Essex, Colchester (United Kingdom).

ESR10 – Mediterranean Salt Structures – Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Trieste (Italy).

ESR11 – Salt Tectonics in the Levantine Basin – Geological Survey of Israel (GSI), Jerusalem (Israel).

ESR12 – Overpressure development in rapidly deposited salt basins. Application to the Salt Giant in the Mediterranean Basin – National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Southampton (United Kingdom).

ESR13 – Analogue modelling of combined crustal and Messinian salt deformation in Mediterranean – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Lille (France).

ESR14 – Eastern Mediterranean oil and gas discoveries and regional geopolitics and economic development issues – Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po), Paris (France).

ESR15 – Salt, Vessels and Maps: the Discovery of the Mediterranean Salt Giant – Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris (France).


In accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers, the successful candidates will benefit from highly competitive working conditions and salary. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment.

In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in field courses, workshops and conferences.

Eligibility criteria

Eligible candidates shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.

Mobility Rule: at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training.
Eligible candidates can be of any nationality.

Selection process

Individual SALTGIANT project descriptions are available at

Candidates apply for one to maximum three positions and indicate their preference. Candidates provide all requested information including a CV, a motivation letter, the applicant’s research and technical background as they relate to the position and two reference letters.
During registration, applicants will need to prove that they are eligible (see above). The SALTGIANTRecruitment Committee selects approximately 30 candidates for the Recruitment Event which will take place in Paris (mid May 2018).
The selected candidates will provide a 15-minute presentation and will be interviewed by the Recruitment Committee. In order to facilitate their travel, selected candidates (if outside France) will receive a fixed, lump sum of 300 €. We will consider offering a larger grant for candidates travelling from distant locations. The final selection of SALTGIANT PhD students will be communicated the week after the Recruitment Event.
The selected ESRs will start their positions from September to December 2018. PhD candidates selected by SALTGIANT will, in some cases, have to defend the PhD project in front of the Doctoral School of the institution delivering the PhD diploma that will take the final decision concerning the recruitment.

Recruiting and retaining high-quality young scientists is critical to SALTGIANT.
The project’s consortium adheres to the Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for Recruitment and will ensure a transparent, open, equal and internationally accepted recruitment process, with special care for gender issues.
SALTGIANT will encourage female applications and aims to recruit at least 50% woman researchers.

Further details
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