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PhD position : Ultra fine particles (UFP) measured on the ATOLL observation platform in Lille : variability, sources and ageing

  • Villeneuve d'Ascq, Hauts-de-France, France
Energies renouvelables et ressources

Job description

Host laboratories:

Supervisors: Prof. Véronique RIFFAULT, Dr. Joel BRITO (CERI EE) | Dr. Isabelle CHIAPELLO, Dr. Suzanne CRUMEYROLLE (LOA)

Workplace : IMT Nord Europe - Campus Bourseul, Douai and LOA – Campus Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France

Type of contract and duration: PhD fixed term contract of 36 months - starting date aimed at October 2024


As a public establishment belonging to IMT (Institut Mines-Télécom), placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, IMT Nord Europe has strong ambitions to become a main actor of the current industrial, digital and environmental transitions, by combining education and research on engineering and digital technologies. IMT Nord Europe offers research facilities of almost 20,000 m² in the following areas: Digital science | Processes for industry and services | Energy and Environment | Materials and Processes. For more details, visit the School website:

This position is based in:

1) the CERI EE, in the research axis Observations, Sources and Processes in the Atmosphere. OSPA’s research focus is on the physicochemistry of atmospheric trace species through laboratory and field experiments, aiming to achieve a better understanding of air pollutant characteristics, origins and fate. The CERI EE offers a multicultural working environment, with labs based in Douai, a mid-sized town close to Lille, a cosmopolitan metropolis with a thriving cultural scene and lively atmosphere.

2) the LOA, in the Aerosol-Radiation Interactions research group. The ARI research themes focus on a better understanding of particles (chemical, physical, optical and hygroscopic) properties and their distribution within the atmosphere in order to evaluate their role on Earth's energy balance. The LOA is part of one of the largest university in France (in terms of student number) and is located on a green and lively campus. The LOA hosts and maintains the ATOLL (ATmospheric Observatory in LiLle) site equipped with state-of-the-art aerosol instrumentation (

Ideally positioned at the heart of Europe, an hour away from Paris, 30 min from Brussels and an hour and a half from London, CERI EE and LOA are located on two main campuses dedicated to research and higher education in Douai and Lille metropolis, respectively.

Job requirements


Ultra-fine particles (UFP) in the atmosphere have an impact on air quality and human health. In Lille, the concentration of particles with diameters between 20 and 30 nm has been rising steadily for the past 7 years. UFPs come from a complex combination of primary and secondary sources, both natural and anthropogenic (fossil fuel combustion, industrial emissions and road traffic), contributing to the diversity of their composition and characteristics.

In this thesis, we will use the particle number size distributions (PNSD, measured using a Mobility Particle Size Spectrometer - MPSS) and particle chemical composition (synergy between the Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor – ACSM – and AE33 Aethalometer instruments), measured continuously at the ATOLL (ATmospheric Observatory of LiLle) site since 2017. Intensive campaigns with the new VOCUS equipment acquired via the CPER ECRIN will provide information on their organic precursors. A factorization algorithm will be applied to the PNSDs to determine a limited number of PNSD groups characteristic of the site. Each group of PNSDs will then be associated with chemical and meteorological characteristics that will help refine the origin(s) of these UFPs.

The PhD student will be highly involved in the regional CPER ECRIN ( and European ACTRIS ( communities. The results will also contribute to the newly-accepted Cross-Disciplinary Program “Aerosols at the heart of the Earth-Atmosphere system” (AREA) included in the Hub “Science for a Changing Planet” ( from the University of Lille Excellence Initiative, in which both labs are strong contributors. Scientific research promotion is expected through national/international conferences and workshops as well as peer-reviewed articles.

Involvement in teaching may be possible through courses, students’ project supervision and/or practical work.


  • Project management skills (communication and interpersonal skills, motivation, time management, …)
  • Good level of English, oral and written
  • Previous experience with aerosol and/or gas data analysis is a plus


  • Atmospheric sciences
  • Good level of statistical data analysis
  • Knowledge of scientific programming (e.g. Python, R, Matlab, etc.)


The PhD funding is offered on a full-time basis for 36 months with a starting date aimed on 01-Oct-2024 (temporary contract), the candidate will be employed by IMT Nord Europe.

The successful student will be part of the Doctoral School SMRE and graduate from IMT Nord Europe at the end of their contract.


For any information on the missions, please contact Joel F. de BRITO (joel.brito@imt-nord-europe, +33 327 71 26 09) and Suzanne Crumeyrolle (, +33 320 43 44 72)

For any administrative information, please contact the Human Resources Department:

Shortlisted candidates will be requested to provide their BSc and MSc grades, as well as two letters of recommendation (or 2 reference contact info), and be invited for a one-hour video interview where they will present their academic and professional experience in 1 or 2 slides followed by discussion.


- Possibility of partial teleworking

- Exceptional working environment

- Plenty of holiday

- Collective catering on site

- Public transport paid for home-work journeys (75%)

- Sustainable mobility package (for car-pooling or cycling)

- Family supplement based on family composition

- Wide range of social benefits (1st installation compensation, financial aid, holiday vouchers, etc.)

- Stimulating innovation ecosystem (start-ups, students, research, businesses)

Furthermore, the position can be adapted for a person with a disability.