Particulate Air-Quality data assimilation at urban scales

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Particulate Air-Quality data assimilation at urban scales
  • Doctorate
Are you interested in the aerosol contribution to Air Quality? Would you like to join the development of a novel data assimilation system for AQ prediction? Does collaboration in a team across multiple science institutes and involvement of NGO & business stakeholders appeal to you? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 1

Job description

In this project, Dutch research partners are joining forces to develop a high-resolution joint aerosol-gas data-assimilation system for improving the national Air Quality prediction. Your responsibility will be to implement, test and apply the aerosol component of this system, which will be based on existing components: the model LOTOS-EUROS and an ensemble Kalman filter. The assimilation system will make use of novel satellite data on aerosol composition and pre-cursor gases. Finally, you will help port this system to the high-resolution DALES model. The project will be a collaboration between three postdocs: yourself, a postdoc at Technical University-Delft/KNMI and a postdoc at Wageningen University & Research. Your workplace will be split between VUA (Amsterdam) and TNO (Utrecht).

Your duties
  • Combine existing components into a working data assimilation system for AQ
  • Perform studies assessing the added value of current and future satellite data
  • Collaborate with two other postdocs
  • Communicate your progress at project meetings and scientific conferences
  • Publish in scientific journals


  • A PhD degree in Earth sciences, physics, astronomy or chemistry
  • Excellent computer programming skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Preferred: experience with aerosol science, and/or data assimilation

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,790 (scale 10) and a maximum €4,402 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. This is a position for 2 years and 5 months but the initial employment contract will be for a period of 1 year, with an extension in case of good performance. 

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the project
Recently, the Netherlands Space Office funded the creation of a knowledge network on Air Quality. The Network comprises of universities (Vrije Universiteit, Utrecht Universiteit, Leiden Universiteit, Wageniningen Universiteit), institutes (RIVM, KNMI, TNO) and stakeholders (business, NGOs). In the coming decade, this network will facilitate the development of a joint aerosol-gas data assimilation system at sub-urban scales (ultimately down to street level), leveraging expected increases in the spatial resolution of both satellite measurements and modelling capabilities. The DA system will comprise of an LES with aerosol and chemistry modules and an ensemble Kalman filter.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until November 2, 2020. The job interviews (by zoom) are planned for November 6, 2020, when possible please take this into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Nick Schutgens
Telephone: +00 316 11 26 05 86
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