PhD researcher (m/f/x): Identifying source-specific contaminant fingerprints in waste and surface water from high resolution mass spectrometry data

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

Leipzig, Germany 🇩🇪

Place of work: Leipzig

Working time: 65% (25.35 hours per week)

Contract limitations: limited contract / 3 years

Salary: Remuneration according to the TVöD public-sector up to pay grade 13 including attractive public-sector social security benefits.


Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:


The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

The job

In the UFZ Research Unit Chemicals in the Environment (TB CITE), scientists aim to unravel the composition of organic micropollutant mixtures in the environment and to identify risk drivers affecting the health of humans and ecosystems. To this end, we combine non-targeted chemical analysis based on gas and liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry, bioassays and sophisticated data processing methods. As part of a large and interdisciplinary European Partnership on Chemical Risk Assessment (PARC), we aim at a better understanding of the contribution of individual sources to the micropollutant mixture in aquatic systems. In this context, we are currently offering a PhD position dedicated to the following topic:

Identifying source-specific contaminant fingerprints in waste and surface water from high resolution mass spectrometry data

Your tasks

  • Adapting existing pre-processing methods for high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to combine datasets from different instrumentations and analysis time (batch and drift correction)
  • Developing and validating computational workflows to identify source-specific fingerprints based on an existing HRMS datasets originating from different wastewater sources.

We offer

  • Excellent technical facilities which are without parallel
  • The freedom you need to bridge the difficult gap between basic research and close to being ready for application
  • Work in inter-disciplinary, multinational teams
  • Excellent links with national and international research networks
  • Excellent support and optimal subject-specific and general training with our HIGRADE graduate school
  • Remuneration in accordance with the TVöD public-sector pay grade 13

Your profile

We are looking for a candidate working at the intersection of environmental analytical chemistry and data science, ideally fulfilling the following criteria:

  • Master degree in either (analytical/environmental) chemistry or bio-/cheminformatics, or a similar field
  • A strong interest in computational processing of mass spectrometry data sets by applying or developing open source software packages
  • Sound knowledge of multivariate statistics
  • Hands-on experience in programming using python or R and data handling is preferred
  • Basic knowledge of mass spectrometry applications
  • Ability to work independently and motivation to work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Excellent knowledge of written and spoken English





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development