Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: PartTime
Deadline: 05 Aug 2021

Are you passionate about research? So are we! Come and join us

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a Research and Technology Organization (RTO) active in the fields of materials, environment and IT. By transforming scientific knowledge into technologies, smart data and tools, LIST empowers citizens in their choices, public authorities in their decisions and businesses in their strategies. 


You ‘d like to contribute as a PhD Student? Join our Environmental Research and Innovation department 

The Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) department, made up of 200 life science, environmental science and information technology researchers and engineers, provides the interdisciplinary knowledge, expertise and technologies to lead solutions including the major environmental challenges facing society, such as climate change mitigation, ecosystem resilience, sustainable energy systems, efficient use of renewable resources, and environmental pollution prevention and control.

The department relies on two cutting-edge platforms, the Biotechnologies and Environmental Analytics Platform and the Observatory for the Climate and the Environment, and the GreenTech Innovation Centre (GTIC): a one-stop-shop for the complete development of bio-based products and processes.

The mission of the ERIN department is:

1) To conduct impact-driven scientific research and development, as well as technological innovation;

2) To support companies in the implementation of new environmental regulations and advise governments on determining sustainable policies for the future, with the objectives of :

  • Analyzing, managing and exploiting sustainable resources (water, air, soil, renewable energy, bioresources)
  • Reducing the environmental impact of human consumption and production activities

Within the ERIN department, the ‘Environmental Sensing and Modelling’ (ENVISION) unit contributes to this mission by carrying out impact-driven research, geared towards monitoring, forecasting and predicting environmental systems in a changing world. An interdisciplinary team of around 50 scientists, engineers, post-docs and PhD candidates is developing new environmental process understanding, alongside new tools and technologies – operating at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales.

For the collaborative project “Luxembourg Time Machine” (LuxTIME), jointly carried out by the University of Luxembourg, and LIST, the ERIN department is opening a position for a PhD candidate in contaminant hydro(geo)logy. The LuxTIME project explores the potential for building a digital platform that allows to “dive” into the industrial past of the Minette region. Genuinely interdisciplinary, the project will leverage digital tools and data from different fields such as history, biomedicine, chemistry, bioinformatics, data science and eco-hydrology. As such, LuxTIME aims at exploring radically new ways of analyzing and interpreting factual evidence of the past by building an interdisciplinary framework for the investigation and visualization of “big data” of the past. LuxTIME is wired around three PhD projects and involves a larger group of senior researchers from the two institutions – participating PhD candidate supervision and topical workshops.

The selected PhD candidate will join the ENVISION unit’s ‘Catchment and eco-hydrology’ (CAT) group. The CAT group focuses on pressing questions related to :

  • How eco-hydrosystems collect, store, mix and release water, solutes and matter, 
  • New environmental monitoring tools operating at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales and 
  • Forecasting and predicting our water futures, as expressed through floods, drinking water availability, water for agriculture, or ecosystem services. 

The PhD candidate will collaborate closely with the two other LuxTIME PhD candidates hired by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) and the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg.

How will you contribute?

Main missions – PhD topic

The surface and groundwater bodies of the Minette region in Luxembourg are located at the eastern tip of the Paris sedimentary basin. Prior work in the area has shown that bedrock geology is controlling fundamental functions of water collection, storage, mixing and release. Here, we leverage this work and extend our investigations to the field of contaminant hydro(geo)logy for gaining a better understanding of how more than a century of exposures related to manifold industrial, urban and agricultural activities, is impacting surface- and groundwater bodies in the Minette region.

By leveraging multiple water age dating and water quality analyses techniques, this PhD project aims at characterizing the chronological evolution – from pre-industrialization to the present day – of multiple contaminants (e.g., nutrients, trace metals, pesticides, xenobiotics) in the aforementioned water bodies. The multi-chemical investigation will be combined with information gained on water source, flow paths and transit times (e.g., relying on stable isotopes of O and H in water). Water sampling campaigns will include surface water, soil solutions and groundwater. The sampling will follow both a longitudinal transect in the upper Alzette River basin in order to observe the impact of different anthropogenic activities and vertical profiles in specific locations, targeting distinct water bodies of different ages.

The water sampling strategy and subsequent analytical work will be designed in partnership with two other PhD candidates in LuxTIME, enrolled at the University of Luxembourg. Results from the PhD research in contaminant hydro(geo)logy will be wired into work carried out in the two complementary PhD projects in historical exposomics and historical data visualisation. The PhD project in historical exposomics [UdL Ref. 50003536: http://emea3.mrted.ly/2htwy] leverages contaminant hydro(geo)logy datasets, historical documents and digital history techniques for characterizing the environmental history (from pre-industrialization through to present day) and potential exposures in the Minette region. The PhD project in historical data visualisation [UdL Ref.50013002: http://emea3.mrted.ly/2hvif] will capitalise on datasets generated in the PhD projects in contaminant hydro(geo)logy and historical exposomics for building a digital platform that allows to explore radically new ways of analyzing and interpreting factual evidence of the past.


Research work

  • Craft and implement a research plan aligned with the overall objectives of the LuxTIME project
  • Identify – together with the supervision team – training needs required for a successful implementation of the PhD project
  • Acquire state-of-the-art knowledge in contaminant hydrology, hydrogeology and isotope hydrology
  • Manage field and laboratory work in accordance with the PhD project objectives
  • Organise and participate in weekly progress meetings with the supervisor
  • Organise and participate in progress meetings with the PhD advisory board
  • Actively collaborate with other PhD candidates

Dissemination, Valorisation and Transfer

  • Contribute to the preparation and submission of papers to peer reviewed journals; actively participate in international workshops and conferences (e.g., via oral & poster presentations)
  • Contribute to the creation of intellectual property rights (patents, licences, etc.)
  • Participate in outreach activities targeting a lay audience
  • Meet and exchange with academic and non-academic collaborators, interested in the PhD work outcomes


  • Participate in international and regional conferences and workshops in his/her research field 
  • Select and participate in training sessions (e.g., soft skills, specific skills)
  • Identify and follow courses offered in the framework of the doctoral school at the University of Luxembourg
  • Identify and follow summer schools in line with his/her thesis subject

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