PhD Position in Atmospheric Chemistry

Wageningen University

PhD position in Atmospheric Chemistry

Published on
July 1, 2021

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

We seek an enthusiastic PhD candidate who is motivated to investigate sources of air pollution and develop the scientific understanding to support societal solutions. The candidate will join an international team of researchers in the fields of air quality and urban governance, working closely with Dr. Juliane Fry, associate professor at Wageningen University and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions. Our work will use atmospheric observations of aerosol composition from the Ruisdael Observatory network ( in and downwind of Rotterdam harbor, and at a remote seaside monitoring station in Groningen.

The primary measurement instrument used will be the Aerodyne Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM) that is permanently installed at each site, as well as other complementary instrumentation which we will deploy opportunistically to focus on particular seasonal processes at available field sites throughout the project. Our focus will be on the inorganic ion balance (NH4+/NO3-/SO42-) and nitrogen speciation (organic/inorganic) in ambient aerosol across this spatial gradient and seasons. We will use positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis strategies to apportion urban, industrial, and agricultural sources of airborne reactive nitrogen, and will use regional chemical transport models to assess their contributions to air pollution exposure for the population of the Netherlands, as well as deposition to ecosystems.

As PhD candidate embedded in our team, you will:

  • Perform field research, data analysis, and modeling, to help shape improved understanding of reactive nitrogen chemistry in the Netherlands.
  • Assist in the planning and execution of field studies, as well as the analysis and presentation of new measurements of reactive nitrogen
  • Be supported by our department of collaborative colleagues engaged in air quality research, as well as through regular conference and summer school attendance.
  • Sit in the Meteorology and Air Quality group of Wageningen University, and collaborate with researchers from other universities.
  • Have opportunities to travel, present work at international conferences, and engage with community stakeholders and policymakers about important contemporary air quality issues.

We ask

  • MSc degree in atmospheric sciences, environmental chemistry, or equivalent degree.
  • Relevant background experience in atmospheric chemistry or analyzing mass spectrometric data is an advantage.
  • An open and collaborative approach to research and interest in engaging the public is expected.
  • Excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page

We offer

WUR offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad

WUR is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community pagecontains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

More information

To learn more about this position, please contact Prof Juliane Fry,

For questions about the procedure, contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter,

Do you want to apply?

You can apply directly by uploading our CV and motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 15th of August, 2021. We hope to schedule the first interviews towards the end of August 2021.

Equal opportunities

WUR employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who encourage and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of WUR is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various subject areas are at the heart of Wageningen’s outstanding approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR

The Meteorology and Air Quality (MAQ) department contributes to the further understanding of atmospheric processes and their relevance for weather, air quality and climate. MAQ is part of the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) of Wageningen University. ESG provides academic education and research on our living environment: the atmosphere, soil, water, nature, landscape and land usage. Knowledge is applied for adaptation to climate change, ocean management, competing claims on space, biodiversity and the sustainability of management and production.
AMS Institute is a public-private institute founded in 2014 by Wageningen University & Research and Delft University of Technology, together with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We are an internationally leading institute where talent is educated and engineers, designers and both natural and social scientists jointly develop and valorize integrated metropolitan solutions. Our mission is to develop a deep understanding of the city -sense the city- to design solutions for its challenges and integrate these into the city of Amsterdam.

Apply now