MEMO2: MEthane goes MObile – MEsurements and MOdelling

ESR11: High-resolution modelling of methane dispersion


Supervisor: Prof. Maarten Krol and Dr. Chiel van Heerwaarden (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), co-supervisor: Dr. Dominik Brunner (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Switzerland)
Employer: Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Project description: The successful candidate will use the new fluid-dynamics code MicroHH ( to simulate methane dispersion from point, line, and diffuse sources, taking into account meteorology, surface roughness, and surface heterogeneity. The simulations will be used to predict turbulence characteristics of the measurements (fluxes, mean concentration, variability, skewness, etc.) that will be used in conjunction with the measurements to estimate the likely magnitude of the source strength. She/he will also assist in planning two intensive field campaigns (focusing on agricultural and mining emissions) by simulating weather-dependent dispersion patterns. Furthermore, the candidate will take part of trans-European mobile measurement campaigns and summer schools organized by MEMO2.

Secondments: The successful candidate will spend 1 month at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Switzerland, to interact on small scale modelling using Lagrangian methods, further 1 month at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and Utrecht University, The Netherlands, to produce improved emission estimates, and also 2 weeks at the non-academic partner Whiffle.

We are searching for: The position involves creative and varied work and the PhD student will become a member of a dynamic, international and multifaceted research group. The successful candidate has an inner drive, and is devoted and motivated to work with state-of-the-art environmental research. She/he is expected to hold a university degree (MSc. or equivalent) in atmospheric or environmental science (or equivalent). Knowledge within the field of atmospheric boundary layer processes, scientific programming, and data-analysis (e.g. Python, C/C++) is required. Demonstrated experience in scientific writing, such as publications, essays or equivalent in English is essential. We are looking for an independent and creative person who thrives in a dynamic research environment. The project requires close collaboration with Dutch and foreign scientists, and accordingly, the applicant should be able to work both independently and collaboratively. Moreover, the applicant should be able to take responsibility for parts of the research project. Candidates must be willing to travel abroad for secondments and measurement campaigns, and to present their research to an international research community. As this project requires close collaboration within the consortium, candidates are expected to be excellent team players. The participation in workshops and secondments during the project is mandatory. According to EU eligibility criteria, researchers may be of any nationality, BUT must be at their early carrier stage and may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the application deadline.

We offer: The candidate will join the Meteorology and Air Quality group of Wageningen University, which is one of Europe’s leading institutes on Earth and Life sciences. The department of Meteorology and Air Quality hosts some of the leading experts on greenhouse gas modelling and inverse studies to estimate surface emissions of CO, CO2, CH4, H2, and other atmospheric constituents, as well as in land-atmosphere interactions and atmospheric simulation. The four-year PhD is sub-divided into three years of research and courses within the Marie Slodowska-Curie ITN project MEMO2, and one additional year at Wageningen University. MSCA-ETN projects are part of Horizon 2020 and offer attractive salaries and working conditions following the conditions as described in the respective work programs.

Selection procedure: The selection procedure will follow the Code of Conduct for Recruitment. Candidates will be selected first on EU eligibility criteria, second on qualifications. The candidate will be selected based on a job-interview with the direct supervisors. A short assignment can be part of the selection procedure. Wageningen University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Deadline: Eligible applications received before 31 March 2017 will receive full consideration.

Contact: Applications should be sent directly to or to the MEMO2 programme coordinators Prof. Thomas Röckmann or Dr. S. Walter. The application material should include a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, copies of university and high-school degrees (including grades) and either two letters of recommendation or contact information of two people that can be contacted for reference. For more information on the MEMO2 project, including this and other vacancies, please visit the MEMO2 website.

For more information about the position please contact Prof. Maarten Krol, phone: ++ 31 (0) 317 482937, e-mail:, or Dr. Chiel van Heerwaarden, phone: ++31 (0) 317 485336, e-mail: