PhD student for the project: Unravelling Particle Chemistry in Dronning Maud Land (Antarctica): from atmosphere to surface snow

Last application date
Sep 15, 2017 13:20
Limited duration
Bio-engineering, Industrial engineering, Master of Science
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

Antarctica is considered the best preserved region on Earth from anthropogenic emissions. However, the impact of anthropogenic airborne particles and pollutants could be significantly larger than expected. Furthermore, a detailed understanding of present day atmospheric transport pathways of particles and of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from source to deposition in Antarctica remains essential to document biogeochemical cycles and the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic compounds, which are not well constrained at the moment.

The project provides detailed physical and chemical analyses of both atmospheric and surface snow particles recovered near the Belgian research station Princess Elisabeth (PE), Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, and thoroughly investigates their atmospheric transport pathways. Also the presence of volatile organic compounds will be investigated. Such detailed studies have never occurred in the region where PE station is located.

The whole project is multi-partner collaboration involving research groups from the Royal Meteo-rological Institute of Belgium (RMI), Ghent University, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). This PhD research will focus on the characterization of the organic atmospheric composition, with focus on both volatile organic compounds and organics sorbed onto particulate matter. Passive and active (pumped) sampling methodologies will be evaluated in this challenging context, and state-of-the-art as well as innovative chemical analyses (e.g. thermal desorption-gas chromatography mass spectrometry, high-resolution mass spectrometry, and proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (Ionicon PTR-Qi-TOF) will be investigated at the EnVOC research lab, to unravel the atmospheric processes going on in the Antarctica region.

Profile of the candidate

We are looking for:

  • A highly motivated researcher with great interest in and/or very good knowledge of analytical chemistry and atmospheric sciences, and with the skills to do innovative research with the aim to make a PhD manuscript in this field.
  • Candidates should have an M. Sc. diploma
  • Candidates  should have a good command of English.
  • Depending on the planning of the project, it is possible that the candidate can participate in one of the campaigns at PE base, Antarctica.

How to apply

Please send all of the following information via e-mail to :

  • a brief (maximum 1-page) application letter (in which you explain your motivation for this project and scientific research in general)
  • curriculum vitae
  • proof of study results (e.g. score sheets)
  • short description (max. ½ page) of your M. Sc. thesis research (+ lab and promoter)

Please send this information to us at the latest on September 15, 12h00, 2017.