Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

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The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University, Sweden, seeks a postdoctoral researcher who will work with geomorphic design of landform restoration in mining waste rock in paraglacial environments. The employment is full-time for three years with a start date of 1 June 2023 or by agreement. Application deadline is 28 April 2023.

Project description
The extractive industry in Sweden currently has ~177 km2 of mining disturbed land, composed largely of waste rock (WR) storage, which leads to habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, negative visual impact and loss of livelihood and culture. The currently accepted industry solution for WR storage prioritizes efficient deposition over environmental goals, but such storage facilities, due to hillslope and fluvial processes, may erode and become unstable. In this project, we will evaluate another approach, using a geomorphic design approach to create long-term, stable landforms in dynamic equilibrium, by routing water through a designed natural channel network. Achieving a long-term stable landform provides the foundation for ecological recovery including high biodiversity and a landscape usable for future generations. These objectives will be achieved through understanding morphology and dynamics of hillslopes and stream networks in paraglacial landforms in northern Sweden. The postdoctoral project is within a larger project ‘Waste2Place’, composed of a multi-disciplinary team of geomorphologists, ecologists, landscape architects, and representatives from four mining companies. The postdoctor will be involved in two work packages: WP2- Landscape assessment, aiming to quantify the geomorphology of paraglacial landscapes in northern Sweden, with a focus on stream channel network organization and related hillslopes using a combination of remote sensing techniques and field work; and WP5- Landscape performance monitoring, examining landform and channel evolution over the project period using high-resolution digital elevation data and sediment flux data. The goal through these WPs, together with other WPs focused on ecological recovery, is to develop a Swedish-centric geomorphic reclamation toolkit.

Project advances: We anticipate that the postdoctoral fellow will make key advances in understanding paraglacial landforms and channel network patterns in northern Sweden, including consideration of climate change impacts on WR storage facilities by; 1) determining the effect of surficial geology in paraglacial environments on channel morphology and network patterns, 2) quantifying characteristics of paraglacial landforms and drainage networks in boreal Fennoscandia, and 3) evaluating effects of climate change on hydrological drivers affecting landforms and drainage networks. The postdoctor will also make key advances in understanding how geomorphic-rehabilitated landscapes function in terms of erosion, sediment transport, and stability in such settings by 1) evaluating morphologic changes in a geomorphically-designed landscape in waste rock and 2) comparing its results with those obtained in a conventional restoration and a natural reference site, using multitemporal topographic surveys and hydrological and sedimentary stations.

The postdoctoral Fellow will be placed in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University, and will be advised by Dr. Lina Polvi Sjöberg and co-supervised by Dr. Ignacio Zapico Alonso and Professor José Francisco Martín Duque (Universidad Complutense of Madrid). The candidate will be expected to collaborate with a multidisciplinary team composed of consulting companies and mining companies, including Vast, Ecogain, Boliden, and LKAB.

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

Priority should be 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.

The doctoral degree should be in one of the following fields: earth science, geology, geomorphology, physical geography, or equivalent.

Essential criteria are:

  • Strong skills in surveying, processing and analysing high-resolution topographic data (SfM-LiDAR)
  • Strong skills in various GIS tools and analyses
  • Experience with geomorphic field work, including topographic surveys and sediment transport monitoring
  • Good knowledge of oral and written English in a scientific context
  • Ability to work in a diverse collaborative team and have good interpersonal skills
  • Have power of initiative and ability to organize and structure work independently
  • Be creative and be able to apply a problem-solving approach
  • Valid driving license for cars

Meriting criteria are:

  • Experience operating a drone and surveying using a SfM, RTK-GPSs and LiDAR sensors
  • Experience in Geomorphic Change Detection methodology
  • Knowledge and experience in mapping and quantitatively describing channel networks
  • Knowledge and experience of geomorphic mining remediation
  • Knowledge and experience of paraglacial landforms

A full application should include:

  1. A cover letter summarizing your qualifications, your scientific interests, and your motives for applying (max 2 pages),
  2. A curriculum vitae (CV) with publication list,
  3. Certified copy of doctoral degree certificate,
  4. Copy of doctoral thesis,
  5. Copies of relevant publications (max 5),
  6. Contact information for at least two reference persons

Further Information
Evaluations will be based on the application and on interviews. For more information contact:

  • Associate Professor Lina Polvi Sjöberg, Dept. Ecology and Environmental Sciences,
  • Assistant Professor Ignacio Zapico Alonso (, Dept. of Geodynamics, Stratigraphy and Paleontology, Faculty of Geology Science, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain),
  • Professor José Francisco Martín Duque, Dept. of Geodynamics, Stratigraphy and Paleontology, Faculty of Geology Science, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain),
Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-06-01 or according to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-561-23
  • Lina Polvi Sjöberg, 090-7866190
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 30.Mar.2023
Last application date 28.Apr.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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