PhD Student in Contaminant Hydro(geo)logy via EURAXESS

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

, , LU

Main missions – PhD topic

The surface and groundwater bodies of the Minette region in Luxembourg are located at the eastern tip of the Paris sedimentary basin. Prior work in the area has shown that bedrock geology is controlling fundamental functions of water collection, storage, mixing and release. Here, we leverage this work and extend our investigations to the field of contaminant hydro(geo)logy for gaining a better understanding of how more than a century of exposures related to manifold industrial, urban and agricultural activities, is impacting surface- and groundwater bodies in the Minette region.

By leveraging multiple water age dating and water quality analyses techniques, this PhD project aims at characterizing the chronological evolution – from pre-industrialization to the present day – of multiple contaminants (e.g., nutrients, trace metals, pesticides, xenobiotics) in the aforementioned water bodies. The multi-chemical investigation will be combined with information gained on water source, flow paths and transit times (e.g., relying on stable isotopes of O and H in water). Water sampling campaigns will include surface water, soil solutions and groundwater. The sampling will follow both a longitudinal transect in the upper Alzette River basin in order to observe the impact of different anthropogenic activities and vertical profiles in specific locations, targeting distinct water bodies of different ages.

The water sampling strategy and subsequent analytical work will be designed in partnership with two other PhD candidates in LuxTIME, enrolled at the University of Luxembourg. Results from the PhD research in contaminant hydro(geo)logy will be wired into work carried out in the two complementary PhD projects in historical exposomics and historical data visualisation. The PhD project in historical exposomics [UdL Ref. 50003536] leverages contaminant hydro(geo)logy datasets, historical documents and digital history techniques for characterizing the environmental history (from pre-industrialization through to present day) and potential exposures in the Minette region. The PhD project in historical data visualisation [UdL Ref.50013002] will capitalise on datasets generated in the PhD projects in contaminant hydro(geo)logy and historical exposomics for building a digital platform that allows to explore radically new ways of analyzing and interpreting factual evidence of the past.


Research work

  • Craft and implement a research plan aligned with the overall objectives of the LuxTIME project
  • Identify – together with the supervision team – training needs required for a successful implementation of the PhD project
  • Acquire state-of-the-art knowledge in contaminant hydrology, hydrogeology and isotope hydrology
  • Manage field and laboratory work in accordance with the PhD project objectives
  • Organise and participate in weekly progress meetings with the supervisor
  • Organise and participate in progress meetings with the PhD advisory board
  • Actively collaborate with other PhD candidates

Dissemination, Valorisation and Transfer

  • Contribute to the preparation and submission of papers to peer reviewed journals; actively participate in international workshops and conferences (e.g., via oral & poster presentations)
  • Contribute to the creation of intellectual property rights (patents, licences, etc.)
  • Participate in outreach activities targeting a lay audience
  • Meet and exchange with academic and non-academic collaborators, interested in the PhD work outcomes


  • Participate in international and regional conferences and workshops in his/her research field
  • Select and participate in training sessions (e.g., soft skills, specific skills)
  • Identify and follow courses offered in the framework of the doctoral school at the University of Luxembourg
  • Identify and follow summer schools in line with his/her thesis subject

Funding category: Financement public/privé

PHD Country: France

Specific Requirements

Educational background

  • MSc in environmental sciences or related discipline
  • Contaminant hydrology, hydrogeology, isotope hydrology or environmental engineering with a contaminant focus or related disciplines


  • Background in interdisciplinary training including water and contaminant sources, flow paths and transit times
  • Practical experience with contaminant analyses (high resolution mass spectrometry) and/or isotope analysis will be a strong advantage
  • Training in data science, e.g. using and establishing relational databases, knowledge of cheminformatics and chemical databases, statistical approaches for data analysis
  • High interest in environmental history
  • Experience in basic scripting language(s) e.g. R, Python, Matlab will be considered an asset

Language skills

  • English is mandatory
  • Knowledge of French / German / Luxembourgish advantageous