MEMO2: MEthane goes MObile – MEsurements and MOdelling

ESR2: Quantifying methane emissions using measurements on cars and UAVs in the Netherlands


Supervisor: Dr. Huilin Chen and Prof. Wouter Peters (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), co-supervisor: Dr. Arjan Hensen (Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), The Netherlands)
Employer: University of Groningen, The Netherlands 

Project Description: The objective of the project is to quantify CH4 emissions using atmospheric concentration and isotopic composition measurements, with a focus on the agricultural CH4 emissions (cattle and manure) that account for ~50% of the total emissions in the Netherlands in 2010. Spatial and temporal variations of CH4 concentrations near major sources will be obtained on two different mobile platforms, a vehicle and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Additional tracer measurements (e.g. NH3, CO, 13CH4 and CDH3) on the vehicle enable us to identify the source types, whereas 3D mapping of the CH4 plumes using an active AirCore UAV system will allow an accurate determination of the source strength when combined with a Gaussian plume model as well as large eddy model simulations in collaboration with other researchers within the same project. Furthermore the candidate will contribute to trans-European mobile measurement campaigns and summer schools organized by MEMO2. Training will be provided in field-based practical scientific research (site selection, use of mobile measurement equipment, sample collection and logistics), on-site analysis of methane and CO2 concentrations, and quantitative analysis and interpretation of the data generated. This will include the use of GIS and programming in R and Python. Communication, organisation and networking skills will be refined through MEMO2 training workshops and symposia and international conferences.

Secondments: The successful candidate will spend 5 months at the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), The Netherlands, to analyse existing data from mobile measurements, and further 1 month at the Swiss federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Switzerland, for UAV deployment.  Besides this a series of short visits to Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and Utrecht University, The Netherlands, are scheduled to develop strategies to perform the intensive campaigns and the methodology to analyse the campaign data.

We are searching for: Applicants should have a master degree in preferably meteorology, environmental science, and/or analytical chemistry and should be from a country other than those of the host institutions. A valid EU driving license is preferable. Excellent communication skills in oral and written English, good practice in team working and affinity with working in the filed are required. 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 successful candidate will join the Centre for Isotope Research (CIO) at the University of Groningen, which is specialized in high-accuracy measurements of (variations in) the occurrence of greenhouse gases and tracers. Employment will be full time starting from fall 2017. The successful candidate will be admitted to the Graduate School of Science at the University of Groningen. 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. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. The interview panel will consist of supervisors and an independent member of the departmental research committee.

Deadline: Eligible applications received before 15 June 2017 will receive full consideration

Contact: Please send your application material before 15 June 2017 directly to or to the MEMO2 coordinator Prof. Thomas Röckmann, ( or Dr. Sylvia 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.

 Further information about the project can be obtained from Dr. Huilin Chen email:, tel: 0031-050-363-8638.