MEMO2: MEthane goes MObile – MEsurements and MOdelling

ESR12: Inverse modelling of methane and its isotopic composition at European and point source scales

Supervisor: Dr. Dominik Brunner (Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Switzerland), co-supervisor: Dr. Felix Vogel (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France)
Employer: Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Switzerland

Project description: The successful candidate will conduct Lagrangian transport simulations at the European scale as well as at the scale of localized sources. The simulations will be used together with measurements of methane and its stable isotopes collected within MEMO2 and from operational networks to quantify methane emissions through inverse modelling. The goal is to improve our knowledge of methane sources from the level of individual sources to the level of national and European inventories. The student will rely on the extensive experience of the group at Empa in the development and application of atmospheric and inverse models. Several extended visits at partner institutes will support the multidisciplinary character of this research.

Secondments: The successful candidate will spend 1 month at Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, for knowledge exchange on inverse modeling, further 1 month at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), The Netherlands, to work on CH4 inventory and isotope source signatures, and 1 month at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, to collaborate on LES simulations.

We are searching for: A candidate with an excellent master’s degree in physics, environmental sciences or a related discipline. Furthermore, a strong interest in numerical modelling and programming are required. We expect excellent English language skills; knowledge of German is advantageous. 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 Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the application deadline.

We offer:  A highly stimulating research environment with excellent infrastructure and broad interdisciplinary surrounding. Working place will be Dübendorf, Switzerland. The PhD-student will be registered at ETH, at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (Prof. T. Peter).  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.

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

Contact: All applications must be submitted online at A copy should be send to 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 further information please visit the  Empa website or contact Dr. Dominik Brunner, phone +41 58 765 49 44, email: