PhD student in atmospheric science in polar environments

Updated: 8 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

The Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the most dynamic university campuses in Europe and ranks among the top 20 universities worldwide. The EPFL employs 6,000 people supporting the three main missions of the institutions: education, research and innovation. The EPFL campus offers an exceptional working environment at the heart of a community of 16,000 people, including over 10,000 students and 3,500 researchers from 120 different countries.

Your mission :

EPFL is creating a new Alpine and Polar Environments Research Centre (ALPOLE) as part of the expansion of the EPFL Sion campus. The establishment of ALPOLE recognizes the global relevance of changes taking place in high-altitude and high-latitude environments, which are sentinels of climate change. The Extreme Environments Research Laboratory at ALPOLE focuses amongst other on understanding natural and anthropogenic atmospheric processes, as well as exchange processes between the atmosphere and cryosphere, ocean and (inhabited) land that have climate impact and are impacted by climate.

The laboratory is building a new facility based on lightweight high-end atmospheric sensors and a helikite as platform. Your mission and goal is to close our knowledge gap of vertical aerosol and trace gas profiles in different types of extreme environments. The first deployment of the facility will be during the ‘Alaskan Layered Pollution And Chemical Analysis’ (ALPACA) project in Fairbanks early in 2021 to study wintertime atmospheric pollution processes across strong inversions. Further deployments in the Arctic and potentially Antarctica are planned. We are looking for a PhD student who is eager to develop a lightweight sensor package supported by the staff of the laboratory, and who is willing and able to work in challenging outdoor conditions with complex instrumentation.

Main duties and responsibilities include :

Perform research in the field of polar atmospheric science

  • Development of a lightweight atmospheric sensor package for vertical profiling with support from the laboratory
  • Organizing and conducting field campaigns
  • Analysis and modeling of the acquired and ancillary data
  • Collaboration with the international partners of the laboratory
  • Report regularly to the collaborators and present research results at scientific meetings
  • Publish in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Participate in education and teaching at EPFL
  • Promote polar and alpine research and its impact to the public

Your profile :
  • Master degree in atmospheric or environmental science or a related field
  • Ability to produce data from field experiments and capability of critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas
  • Enthusiasm for field campaigns
  • Ability to communicate the outcome of your research
  • Good interpersonal skills, team player
  • Good knowledge of English (written and spoken)
  • Good programming skills will be an advantage

We offer :
  • A dynamic, interdisciplinary and young research group
  • A vibrant, internationally visible and rising academic institution in alpine and polar environments research
  • A great working atmosphere and ample opportunities for professional and personal development

For further Information about this project and the Extreme Environments Research Laboratory please contact Prof. Julia Schmale.

PhD applicants must be accepted by the EPFL Doctoral School in order to pursue a PhD. For more information, please see

Start date :
Earliest 1 May 2020

Term of employment :
Fixed-term (CDD)

Work rate :

Duration :
4 years

Contact :

View or Apply

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