PhD Position in Leaf-Canopy Processes

author: admin
November 22, 2017



Type: PhD Student

Contract type: Fixed term contract
Place: Belvaux


The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is offering a fully paid PhD candidate position in the framework of a newly funded ATTRACT project: “Water and vegetation in a changing Environment” (WAVE). This position is envisaged to start between January 1st 2018 and 1st June 2018. The PhD candidate will be part of the Water Safety and Security Unit at the Department of Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) at LIST and will work in the Catchment and Eco-Hydrology (CAT) research group.

PhD project context

Environmental change can be observed at different spatial and temporal scales and encompasses various system properties, such as climate, land use, topography and soil properties. The WAVE project aims to improve our understanding of the interactions between vegetation and the water balance in ecosystems, in order to enable better predictions of some of the consequences of land use and environmental change for both ecosystem services and water resources. Given the paramount importance of the leaf-air interface for plant performance, water resources and climate feedbacks the overall theme of the advertised position will be: “Optimal control and physical constraints of canopy gas and energy exchange”.
This project will combine experimental work and mathematical modelling to:

1. Elucidate the importance of evaporative cooling for stomatal control.

2. Identify the dominant drivers of canopy-atmosphere coupling and quantify the effects of leaf gas and energy exchange on atmospheric conditions.

3. Formulate a physically consistent gas exchange model applicable at scales from leaf to canopy.


The candidate will construct and test measurement setups and investigate physical constraints on leaf gas and energy exchange as well as canopy-atmosphere interactions through experimental analysis and model simulations.

To this effect, the candidate will explore cutting edge technologies to sense, quantify and visualise processes at scales ranging from stomata (microscopic) to canopies.

Ideally, the candidate holds a Master in environmental science, geo-ecology, or a related discipline, has an interest in plants and vegetation-atmosphere interactions, no fear of Physics, Maths and programming, and is highly motivated to pursue rigorous approaches to find definitive answers to scientific questions.


  • No restrictions apply as to the nationality of the candidates
  • Candidates may not have received a doctorate prior to their application to this position
  • Candidates shall be available for starting their position no later than 1st June 2018

Complementary information:

  • Primary supervisor at LIST: Dr. S. Schymanski
  • Degree-awarding institution: University of Luxembourg
  • Primary work location: Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
  • Duration and location of secondment/s: Temporary stays with one of the collaborators in the WAVE project (e.g. ETH Zurich, WSL, University of Western Australia) for field work and exchange of theoretical/technological know-how will be arranged according to needs and opportunities.


Educational background

  • Master (or similar) in environmental science/engineering, geo-ecology, plant biology, or a related discipline
  • Excellent skills in scientific writing and presenting

Required skills

  • High motivation to perform rigorous research and collaborate in an international setting
  • Ability to critically evaluate scientific publications
  • Experience with laboratory and/or field measurements and experiments involving plants is also an asset
  • Programming skills (e.g. Python, R, Fortran, Matlab, Mathematica)
  • Quantitative data analysis skills

Language skills

Excellent skills in speaking, reading and writing about science in English

Application procedure:

To submit your application please click on the “Go to application page” button.

If there are any questions regarding the procedure please contact our HR office ( The application must include:

  • A motivation letter oriented towards the preferred position and experience
  • A current CV, which includes full contact details
  • Two reference letters or full contact details of the two referees
  • A copy of master (or similar) degree that allows for the enrolment on a doctorate degree

Applications will be reviewed on-going until the position is filled. The main criterion for selection will be the existing skills, knowledge and research career potential of the applicant, match with the project, and fulfilment of the above mentioned qualifications. Candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

LIST is an equal opportunities employer.

All open positions are published and recruitment is performed according to international best practices. All PhD candidates are joining LIST under an employment contract for the full duration of their PhD project.

The WAVE project subscribes to the principles of research integrity within the framework of the FNR funding scheme (FNR Research Integrity Guidelines). These rules rely on the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity and the Montreal Statement on Research Integrity.


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