2 Marie Curie PhD positions: 1 in Leuven (BE) and 1 in Jena (DE) in atomic/laser/nuclear physics - EU project LISA

  • Leuven, Belgium
  • 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 7 - In-gas-jet resonance ionization spectroscopy of actinides 
Host: KUL Arenberg Doctoral School, Leuven, Belgium. See job description

Contact email: Piet Van Duppen <[email protected]>; [email protected]

ESR 13 - Developing atomic structure calculations for heavy and superheavy atoms and ions 
Host: FSU and Helmholtz-Institute Graduate School, Jena, Germany. See description.
contact email: Prof Stephan Fritzsche ([email protected]).

LISA Website:

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
  • be in your first 4 years of your full-time research career (after obtaining your degree (MSc))
  • must NOT hold a PhD yet
  • EU mobility rule: the candidate must not have resided in Belgium (ESR 7) or Germany (ESR 13) for more than 12 months in the past 36 months (counted from the hypothetical day of recruitment). 
  • Details of the two positions: Position ESR 7  , Position ESR13
  • Candidates of any nationality can apply.
  • Proficiency in English is required.

Additional Information

All ESR positions offer:

  • An employment contract: ESR 7 for 48 months and ESR 13 for initially 24 months, with extension possible.
  • 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 
  • The employment contract should start as soon as possible.

Note that your application will be viewed by all 12 beneficiaries of the network.


Closing date: 15 September 2021


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