PhD Student - Constraining aerosol composition through data assimilation of Earth observations (R1)

Job Reference



PhD Student - Constraining aerosol composition through data assimilation of Earth observations (R1)

Fecha de cierre

Domingo, 30 Junio, 2024
Reference: 182_24_ES_AC_R1
Job title: PhD Student - Constraining aerosol composition through data assimilation of Earth observations (R1)

About BSC

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) is the leading supercomputing center in Spain. It houses MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, was a founding and hosting member of the former European HPC infrastructure PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), and is now hosting entity for EuroHPC JU, the Joint Undertaking that leads large-scale investments and HPC provision in Europe. The mission of BSC is to research, develop and manage information technologies in order to facilitate scientific progress. BSC combines HPC service provision and R&D into both computer and computational science (life, earth and engineering sciences) under one roof, and currently has over 900 staff from 55 countries.

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We are particularly interested for this role in the strengths and lived experiences of women and underrepresented groups to help us avoid perpetuating biases and oversights in science and IT research. In instances of equal merit, the incorporation of the under-represented sex will be favoured.

Context And Mission

Aerosols constitute an important component in the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, and have profound effects on the atmospheric radiative balance and cloud formation, and yet the uncertainties about aerosols concentrations and distributions, and about their life cycle are considerable. The recent advances in numerical modeling developments, observational capabilities, information technologies - and in particular High Performance Computing (HPC) - have contributed to a better understanding of aerosol processes and a better quantification of aerosol impacts upon key sectors of society and economy. The synergistic use of the three (model, observations, HPC) has played the most pivotal role in those advances. Observations from new generation sensors (e.g., from the Sentinel, EPS-SG and EarthCARE missions) and state-of-the-art modeling combined with advanced data assimilation algorithms will help to further advance our knowledge of atmospheric aerosols and of their impact in the Earth system.

The Atmospheric Composition group from the Earth Sciences department at the BSC-CNS is looking for a highly motivated candidate who wishes to undertake a PhD on the advantages, synergies, limitations for aerosol observational data assimilation taking into account new generation sensor capabilities. The successful candidate will advance our current knowledge on atmospheric aerosol parameters by (1) advancing data assimilation methodologies to improve aerosol representation in the atmosphere; (2) performing studies with an unprecedented use of extensive observational information from different sources (space and in-situ components); (3) creating advanced analyses with improved aerosol composition where aerosol model quantity, size and absorption are seamlessly constrained.

The person appointed will be involved in both EU and national-funded projects, and will collaborate with scientists of reputed international institutions. Successful candidates will benefit from expert training and BSC staff benefits: international multidisciplinary scientific environment and advanced applied research training. In this context, the applicant will contribute to several funded projects, including the HORIZON-EUROPE Copernicus Evolution (CAMEO), and the SPECIES national project (PID2022-140843OB-I00), funded by the Spanish State Investigation Agency.

The PhD position will be funded by a grant for pre-doctoral contracts for the training of doctors under the framework of the State Program for the Promotion of Talent and its Employability in R + D + i under the umbrella and linked to the SPECIES project. SPECIES aims to assess the impact of seamlessly correcting the burden, size and absorption of modeled aerosol particles with observations from new generation sensors at multi scales.

We encourage applications from highly motivated candidates, preferably with some demonstrated experience in aerosol modeling studies.

Key Duties

  • Undertake original research on novel data assimilation methodologies to constrain aerosol composition
  • Collection and processing of novel Earth System observations for data assimilation (i.e. satellite, in-situ)
  • Advance the BSC data assimilation package (e.g. development of new observation operator, ...)
  • Participate in collaborative projects with partner institutions
  • Presenting research findings at international conferences; writing manuscripts in top peer review publications; and other duties as assigned


  • Education
    • Master’s degree in physics, mathematics, geosciences or a related discipline
  • Essential Knowledge and Professional Experience
    • Knowledge in environmental, atmospheric sciences
    • Previous experience in data assimilation will be highly valued
    • Experience with atmospheric composition (modeling or observations; gases or aerosols) is desirable
      Knowledge of atmospheric science data formats (such as NetCDF), scientific tools (e.g., CDO, NCO) and data visualization will be valued
  • Additional Knowledge and Professional Experience
    • Experience in HPC environments
    • Good computing skills in a high-level computer language (such as FORTRAN, C or Python)
    • Experience with revision control systems (e.g., SVN or Git) will be valued
  • Competences
    • Fluency in english
    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
    • Ability to take initiative, prioritize and work under set deadlines
    • Ability to work both independently and within a team


  • The position will be located at BSC within the Earth Sciences Department
  • We offer a full-time contract (37.5h/week), a good working environment, a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art infrastructure, flexible working hours, extensive training plan, restaurant tickets, private health insurance, support to the relocation procedures
  • Duration: Open-ended contract due to technical and scientific activities linked to the project and budget duration
  • Holidays: 23 paid vacation days plus 24th and 31st of December per our collective agreement
  • Salary: we offer a competitive salary commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the candidate and according to the cost of living in Barcelona
  • Starting date: asap

Applications procedure and process

All applications must be made through BSC website and contain:

  • A full CV in English including contact details
  • A Cover Letter with a statement of interest in English, including two contacts for further references - Applications without this document will not be considered

    In accordance with the OTM-R principles, a gender-balanced recruitment panel is formed for every vacancy at the beginning of the process. After reviewing the content of the applications, the panel will start the interviews, with at least one technical and one administrative interview. A profile questionnaire as well as a technical exercise may be required during the process.

    The panel will make a final decision and all candidates who had contacts with them will receive a feedback with details on the acceptance or rejection of their profile.

    At BSC we are seeking continuous improvement in our recruitment processes, for any suggestions or feedback/complaints about our Recruitment Processes, please contact recruitment [at] bsc [dot] es.

    For more information follow this link

  • Deadline

    The vacancy will remain open until a suitable candidate has been hired. Applications will be regularly reviewed and potential candidates will be contacted.

    OTM-R principles for selection processes

    BSC-CNS is committed to the principles of the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers of the European Commission and the Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment principles (OTM-R). This is applied for any potential candidate in all our processes, for example by creating gender-balanced recruitment panels and recognizing career breaks etc.
    BSC-CNS is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion. We are pleased to consider all qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or any other basis protected by applicable state or local law.
    For more information follow this link

    Application Form

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    Please, upload your CV document using the following name structure: Name_Surname_CoverLetter
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    ** Consider that the information provided in relation to gender and nationality will be used solely for statistical purposes.