15 Marie Curie PhD positions in atomic/laser/nuclear physics - EU project LISA (Laser Ionisation & Spectroscopy of Actinides)

  • Full-time

Company Description

The EU-funded Horizon 2020 programme has two main strategic objectives: to strengthen the scientific and technological base of European industry and to encourage its international competitiveness, while promoting research that supports EU policies.

LISA (Laser Ionisation and Spectroscopy of the Actinides” is a 4-year Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) for the career development of 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) across 12 host institutions across Europe, with the assistance of 14 academic and industrial partners.

The actinides are the heaviest of the 'rare-earth' elements and all are radioactive. Uranium, perhaps the best-known actinide due to its role as a nuclear fuel, is present in the Earths crust, as is Thorium. However, most exist only due to synthetic production via nuclear reactions. They include obscure elements such as Curium, Einsteinium, Fermium and Mendelevium, named after famous scientists. Although they have been crucial to our understanding of nuclear chemistry and applications including nuclear power, actinides remain largely a mystery due to their ephemeral nature.  LISA will train 15 PhD students to shine light on the actinides to increase our understanding of their atomic and nuclear properties.  This knowledge is required for the effective production, identification and handling of these elements, and is thus a necessary foundation for our goals of understanding and exploiting the potential for practical applications of the actinides in the fields of medical physics, nuclear applications and environmental monitoring.  

As part of LISA, you will join a dynamic research team that values science, technology, creativity and quality. We encourage the exploration of new ideas and innovations. You will work with a supportive international consortium which includes other enthusiastic young scientists as well as some of the world's leaders in radioactive ion beam science and applications. As part of this project, you will contribute to research that combines the latest advances in laser technologies, radioactive ion beam science and atomic and nuclear theory to address some of the most challenging problems in nuclear and atomic physics.

The following ESR positions are currently available: 

ESR 1 - Optimized production of 225Ac by the ISOL method for medical applications 
Host: KUL Arenberg Doctoral School, Leuven, Belgium
Secondments: TRIUMF, Vancouver, Canada; LIOPTEC, Radevormwald, Germany; CERN-MEDICIS, Geneva, Switzerland

ESR 2 - Development of high-resolution in-source hot-cavity RILIS methods for actinides 
Host: ISOLDE, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Secondments: TRIUMF, Vancouver, Canada; JGU Institute of Physics, Mainz, Germany.

ESR 3 - Target developments for extraction of actinides from thick ISOL targets followed by laser-induced molecular break-up and/or ionization 
Host: ISOLDE, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.
Secondments: TRIUMF, Vancouver, Canada; JGU Department of Chemistry, Mainz, Germany.

ESR 4 - High-resolution laser spectroscopy of actinide elements for nuclear structure 
Host: University of Jyvaskyla , Finland.
Secondments: GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany; JGU Institute of Physics, Mainz, Germany.

ESR 5 - Laser spectroscopic investigations on the actinide atomic and nuclear structures 
Host: JGU Institute of Physics, Mainz, Germany.
Secondments: University of Jyvaskyla , Finland; Nagoya University; TRIUMF, Vancouver, Canada,  M-squared Lasers, Glasgow, UK.

ESR 6 - Electron affinity measurements by collinear laser photodetachment spectroscopy on negative ions 
Host: UGOT Department of Physics, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Secondments: ISOLDE, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.

ESR 7 - In-gas-jet resonance ionization spectroscopy of actinides 
Host: KUL Arenberg Doctoral School, Leuven, Belgium.
Secondments: Pantechnik, Bayeux, France; GANIL, Caen, France.

ESR 8 - In-gas-jet laser spectroscopy optimization for high resolution measurement of actinides 
Host: GANIL, Caen, France with enrolment in Université de Caen PSIME Doctoral School.
Secondments: University of Jyvaskyla, Finland; Pantechnik, Bayeux, France; GANIL, Caen, France.

ESR 9 - Development of low-noise, high-power, tuneable, pulsed, narrow-linewidth Ti:Sa amplifier for ion beam spectroscopy applications 
Host: M-squared Lasers, Glasgow, UK with enrolment in the University of Manchester School of Physics & Astronomy, Manchester, UK.
Secondments: JGU Institute of Physics, Mainz, Germany;  University of Manchester School of Physics & Astronomy, Manchester, UK; ISOLDE, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.

ESR 10 - Laser spectroscopy of the heaviest actinides, in particular Lr to study atomic and nuclear properties 
Host: GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany with enrolment in JGU Department of Chemistry, Mainz, Germany.
Secondments: University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.

ESR 11 - Tailor-made optimized actinide target preparation and characterization for LISA 
Host: JGU Department of Chemistry, Mainz, Germany.
Secondments: University of Jyvaskyla, Finland; GANIL, Caen, France

ESR 12 - Multi-element ultra-trace detection of radionuclides in environmental samples 
Host: LUH IRS faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Hanover, Germany.
Secondments: M-squared Lasers, Glasgow, UK;  Fukushima University, Japan.

ESR 13 - Developing atomic structure calculations for heavy and superheavy atoms and ions 
Host: FSU and Helmholtz-Institute Graduate School, Jena, Germany.
Secondments: Tel Aviv University, Israel; TAU Uniwersytet Jagiellonski
Krakow, Poland

ESR 14 - Relativistic coupled cluster (CC) and configuration interaction (CI) investigations of properties of heavy and superheavy elements 
Host:  Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Netherlands
Secondments: Tel Aviv University, Israel; University of New South Wales, Australia.

ESR 15 - C-Wave laser development as a turn-key solid-state alternative to CW dye laser. 
Host: Hubner Photonics, Germany with enrolment in JGU Institute of Physics, Mainz, Germany.
Secondments: LIOPTEC, Radevormwald, Germany: ISOLDE, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.

Contact email: 
Bruce Marsh, Isabelle Fontaine, Ingrid Haug:
[email protected]

More information:
Kick-off meeting at CERN:

LISA Website:
https://lisa-itn.web.cern.ch (not online yet).

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's and the EU's mission. 

Job Description

Welcome to the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions

As a recent graduate from university or advanced technical institute, you’re no doubt looking for the chance to make your mark. Here it is: we seek lively and inquiring minds with a heightened sense of curiosity to take part in projects of advanced development work, in a broad range of applied sciences and engineering fields.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions train young researchers, building the careers of tomorrow’s leaders in research and industry.

What could be a better boost for your career than becoming an Early Career Stage Researcher in an Innovative Training Networks project within the framework of the prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie programmes?


In order to qualify for a place on the project you will need to meet the following requirements:

At the time of recruitment:

  • be in possession of a university degree (MSc) allowing you to embark on a doctorate (candidates who are currently studying for their MSc may apply if they will finish before October 2020, however, the LISA contract cannot begin until the MSc is completed) 
  • be in your first 4 years of your full-time research career (after obtaining your degree (MSc))
  • must NOT hold a PhD yet
  • must apply for a position in a European Country where you did not live or work for more than 12 months in the last three years (counted from the hypothetical day of recruitment). 
  • In the application you may select up to 3 positions of interest.  Please make sure that you satisfy the mobility requirements for each of your selected ESR positions. Details of all 15 PhD positions.
  • Candidates of any nationality can apply.
  • Proficiency in English is required.

Additional Information

All ESR positions offer:

  • An employment contract for a maximum of 36 months.
  • The stipend granted by the EU is EUR 3270 brut + EUR 600 mobility + country coefficient factor if applicable. The allowance which may be increased depending on the hosting organization.
  • In accordance with the European Commission’s allowances for ITNs, a training allowance covers training activities, conference attendance, etc.

This is how you can apply:

You will need the following documents to complete your application:

  • A CV
  • A copy of the last (highest) qualification
  • One letter of recommendation to give as broad as possible overview of your academic and/or professional achievements
  • In addition, contact details of 2 academic or professional references (name, position, e-mail, telephone and indicating the relationship with the applicant)
  •  Interviews will be held as soon as possible after the closing date and will include a video interview
  • Employment contracts will start as of April 2020

Note that your application will be viewed by all 12 beneficiaries of the network who are offering the ESR positions.

Please make sure you have all the documents requested to hand as you start your application. Once submitted you will not be able to upload any documents or edit your application

Closing date: 4 February 2020

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