Apply to GIA’s Liddicoat Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Programme

Karen Smit uses a Scanning Electron Microscope to view images of a sample's topography or composition and the internal growth structure of diamond. The screen to her left shows compositional maps of a sulphide still included in a diamond. Six different colour images map the distribution of a certain element across an area of interest. The screen on her right shows the features on the surface of a pearl.
Karen Smit, a postdoctoral researcher for GIA from 2014-2016, is a research scientist at GIA. She is using a Scanning Electron Microscope to image a sample's shape or composition and see the internal growth structure of diamond. Photo by Jian Xin (Jae) Liao/GIA.

The Richard T. Liddicoat Postdoctoral Research Associate Fellowship programme was created in 2014 to honour GIA’s former president, who was widely considered the “Father of Modern Gemmology". The one-to-two year fellowships encourage early career scientists to pursue full-time academic research in mineralogy, geology, physics, materials science and other fields related to gemmology – the study of diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls and their treatment. Diamond research activities consider fundamental scientific problems in diamond geology, defect physics and synthesis.

The specific focus of the programme is tailored to each fellow’s interest, expertise and the needs of the GIA research laboratories. Gemstone access for research purposes at GIA is unrivalled, and includes natural, synthetic and treated gemstones in rough or polished forms, including materials acquired by our Field Gemmology department. In-house research tools include FTIR; UV-Vis-NIR absorption; Raman, photoluminescence and EPR spectrometers; an SEM microscope equipped with EDS and CL spectroscopy and imaging; laser ablation ICP-MS; and a CVD diamond growth lab with laser cutting and polishing facilities. GIA also facilitates access to outside research facilities.

Research fellows and the Institute’s experienced researchers and gemmologists work side-by-side to explore and learn from the gems that come into GIA’s lab.

The fellowship includes a competitive annual stipend ($67,000+), research funding and travel subsidies for approved off-site research work. Benefits include full health, dental and vision insurance, and the potential reimbursement of relocation expenses. Appointments are for one year and may be extended for a second year based on mutual agreement.

Applicants must have received their Ph.D. in a relevant field by the start date and preferably within the last three years. Effective oral and written English skills and the ability to publish high-level scientific articles are required. Candidates should be willing to travel domestically and internationally as needed. Applicants must submit a curriculum vitae with a publications list, a three-to-five page research proposal and at least two letters of reference.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss possible research topics with an adviser from GIA research. Contact one of our research advisers:
Aaron Palke
Wuyi Wang
Mike Breeding
Ulrika F.S. D’Haenens-Johansson
Sally Magaña
James Shigley

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Primarily conduct focused research into fundamental scientific problems related to the mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry and gemmology of diamonds; various types of coloured gem stones (corundum, beryl, spinel, garnet, quartz); pearls; and possibly related gem-instrument development. Diamond research includes fundamental scientific problems in diamond geology, diamond physics and synthetic diamond growth mechanisms, and other scientific problems related to gemmology.

  • The specific focus of the research will depend on the applicant’s interests, expertise, and the needs of GIA research and the laboratory
  • Performs analysis utilising spectrometers, chemical analysis, X-ray imaging systems and other research tools
  • Presentation and publication of research results in international conference and academic journals, internally and externally
  • Additional daily activities may involve assisting with data collection and interpretation
  • Other duties and responsibilities as assigned or required

Technical competencies (Knowledge, skills & abilities):

  • Ability to communicate with scientific staff and prepare written scientific articles for publication in English
  • Willingness to travel domestically or internationally as needed are strongly desired

Education and Experience:

  • Ph.D. in scientific field from accredited college or university, preferably within the last 3 years
  • Relevant proposal for research work
  • Effective communication in English with scientific and production staff
  • The ability to prepare written scientific articles for publication, and a willingness to travel domestically or internationally as needed are strongly desired

For more information about the programmes and its requirements, please email:

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Current and Former Research Fellows

Tingting Gu (2016-2019)
Anatoly Muchnikov (2016-2017)
Evan Smith (2015-2017)
Elena Sorokina (2015-2016)
Aaron Palke (2014-2016)
Karen Smit (2014-2016)
Mandy Krebs (2018-2019)
Chloe Peaker (2019-2021)
Shiyun Jin (2020-present)