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PhD candidate satellite observations of atmospheric ammonia

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
19 september 2022
30 september 2022 Vacature gesloten

Do you want to contribute to better understand how nature areas in The Netherlands are exposed to nitrogen components using remote sensing data?  Would you like to obtain a PhD at a special institute where science, modelling and application come together? Then make this vacancy your new job and apply immediately.

The Faculty of Science Leiden and Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) are looking for a PhD candidate

The Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden University is looking for a PhD student on the topic of "use of satellite observations of atmospheric ammonia to better understand the emission and deposition of nitrogen".  This project will use satellite observations to improve estimates of emissions, concentrations and deposition of nitrogen in the Netherlands. The project is part of the National Reactive Nitrogen Knowledge Programme (NKS). This programme aims to improve estimates of the deposition of nitrogen on nature areas in the Netherlands.

Key responsibilities
What will you be doing as a PhD student of satellite observations of atmospheric ammonia?

The deposition of reactive nitrogen in Dutch nature areas is a societal problem that causes a great deal of concern. The reliability of the official deposition estimates is questioned by (some) politicians, economic stakeholders and part of the public. In order to strengthen the scientific basis of Dutch nitrogen policy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) has set up a National Knowledge Programme (NKS) on the theme of reactive nitrogen. This NKS focuses on improving the measuring and modelling tools used in the Netherlands to map nitrogen deposition in nature areas.

You will make use of satellite observations, ground measurements and model results, to develop a better 3-dimensional understanding of the distribution of ammonia in the (Dutch) atmosphere. The first phase of the project aims to achieve a systematic comparison of simulations and observations of ammonia. The second step aims at developing and improving inverse modelling to estimate NH3 emissions from the CrIS and IASI satellite measurements. Such emission estimates make it possible to use dispersion models to more accurately estimate nitrogen deposition. Other satellite observations may also be applied, such as those of aerosols, land surface characteristics and leaf contents of nitrogen. The PhD student's activities may contribute to new methodologies that can complement and improve current policy instruments.

You will work with satellite observations and dispersion models to improve the current models that quantify the nitrogen deposition in the Netherlands. You will cooperate closely with the Meteorology and Air Quality group of Wageningen University, RIVM, TNO and KMNI. You are part of a team that will work on different aspects of quantifying the nitrogen cycle using satellite observations and dispersion modelling at different scales.

Selection criteria
The position has a variety of tasks like:

  • The collection and interpretation of satellite observations data of ammonia and different other components resulting in quantification of ammonia concentrations and emissions;
  • Analysing the data and systematically comparing of simulations and observations of ammonia;
  • Working together in a team of scientists to improve the scientific knowledge on nitrogen in the Netherlands;
  • Publishing your results in peer reviewed journals and in a thesis.

The ideal candidate is a team player and has experience in working with remote sensing data, AI, statistical modelling and programming, affinity with mathematics, environmental knowledge with an interest in ecology. Specifically:

  • a MSc in Remote Sensing, Atmospheric Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, or a related discipline,
  • a background in inverse modelling, data analysis, programming,
  • enthusiasm, motivation and creativity,
  • fluent in English in both speech and writing.

You will be part of an ambitious team of researchers studying atmospheric composition, emissions and deposition of air pollutants at both the Centre for Environmental Sciences and the Meteorology and Air Quality chair group at WUR. In addition, you will work closely with the other knowledge institutions within the NKS, in particular RIVM and TNO. You will participate in scientific discussions and actively contribute to scientific publications of the research team.

The position starts by 1st November 2022. We offer a position for four years. You will be appointed in accordance  with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.  Salary ranges from € 2.514.- gross per month in the first year to € 3.247 gross per month in the fourth year based on a full-time position.

We offer
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden
The Faculty of Science in Leiden University is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) is positioned in the Faculty of Sciences. The core focus of CML is to perform research and education in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Sciences. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to contribute to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. CML focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources and preservation of natural capital and biodiversity. CML has a culture of mutual support and collaboration between researchers both within and between institutes. Presently, about 140 fte (including postdocs and PhDs) are employed at CML. The CML has facilities to work with soil, water, microbes, and plants including growth chambers, large field experiments and molecular labs. For more information about CML see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/environmental-sciences.

Diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Leiden University is one of Europe’s leading international research universities.

Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential. Will you become our newest colleague?

Do you have questions about this position? Please contact prof. Jan Willem Erisman, j.w.erisman@cml.leidenuniv.nl 

You can find more information about the faculty of Science at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/about-faculty-of-science. For more information about working at Leiden university please visit https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at.

Are you enthusiastic about this vacancy? We are looking forward to get to know you. Please send an e-mail to  sollicitaties@cml.leidenuniv.nl. The closing date is September 30, 2022. Please  ensure that you include the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • A short Motivation letter;
  • Full curriculum vitae, including a list of publications;
  • Contact details of at least two persons who can be contacted for reference.

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