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Phd (ESR) in Environmental Physics (CLOUD Experiment at CERN)

Job Offer for a H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions ESR Position

In the framework of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Training Network CLOUD-DOC we are now recruiting an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) at IONICON Analytik GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria, who will be part of a network of 12 ESRs enrolled in an European network of academic and private institutions. The candidate will be employed for 36 months at IONICON and enrolled in an PhD program at the University of Innsbruck.

The network investigates various aspects of the interactions of cosmic rays with aerosols and clouds, which bears on the possibility of a "solar indirect" contribution to climate change. Besides the individual research of the Ph.D. students at their hosting institutions, the major focus of the network will be sets of common experiments on ion-induced nucleation and ion-aerosol interaction carried out at CERN. These experiments are conducted at an aerosol chamber that is exposed to a CERN elementary particle beam where the effects of cosmic rays on aerosol and cloud formation can be efficiently simulated.

The focus of investigations will be to study under well-controlled laboratory conditions the oxidation chemistry, aerosol nucleation and growth processes that are responsible for aerosol particle formation in cold regions of the atmosphere:

  • Arctic environments,
  • the upper troposphere above the Asian monsoon region,
  • the upper troposphere above tropical rain forests, and
  • the Southern Ocean

The major research activity of the network will be two sets of joint experiments carried out at the CLOUD aerosol chamber at CERN to which all ESRs contribute. At the CLOUD chamber nucleation experiments are performed at an unprecedented level of precision and completeness using highly innovative instrumentation.

Ionicon’s PTR-TOF instruments are sensitive to measure quantitatively highly oxidized molecules (HOM) from biogenically emitted volatile organic compounds (VOC) as well as oxidation products of dimethyl sulfide (DMS). In CLOUD-DOC we will face new analytical challenges analyzing organic precursor gases important for new particle formation and growth in pristine environments such as the upper troposphere above the Asian Monsoon region, rain forest regions, and the Southern Ocean. One important challenge, which needs to be solved, is evaporation of organic compounds from aerosol particles when sampled at low temperatures.

A new inlet system will be tested to quantify such evaporative losses from aerosols. In addition, a mass spectrometer with ultra-high mass resolving power will be coupled to the PTR front part in order to improve separation capability of organic compounds. With this new set-up also carbon closure experiments at the newly designed FLOTUS will be performed. In addition, we expect to improve Ionicon's CIMS instruments and software tools.


Research Field: Physics » Chemical physics

Education Level: Master Degree or equivalent


We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate.

You are interested in interdisciplinary science and you have excellent experimental skills.

As this project requires close collaboration within the CLOUD-DOC consortium candidates are expected to be team players.

The participation in workshops and secondments during the project is mandatory.

Specific Requirements

Experimental skills and experience in using chemical ionization mass spectrometer instruments are expected.

Excellent programming skills (Python, Julia, Lab-view...) are expected.

Modeling experiences using MCM are advantageous.

Languages: ENGLISH

Level: Excellent

Additional Information


An employment contract for 36 months according to MSCA conditions offering a salary that is determined by this scheme.

The salary per year consists of living allowance 43.000 € + mobility allowance 7.200 € + family allowance (if applicable).

Eligibility criteria

You have recently obtained a maser degree in physics or similar natural sciences with excellent grades.

You must not hold a PhD yet.

You must not have resided or carried out your main activity in Austria for more than 12 months within the last 3 years.

Selection process

Screening will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest and a complete resume.

In addition, the applicant should provide the names of two individuals familiar with the applicant's professional qualifications for the position to provide references.

Application deadline: 5 May 2023 - 12:00 (CEST)

Applications please mail to:

Website for additional job details:

Website of the CLOUD-DOC project: