ENAC – PhD position to investigate nanoscale transformation of uranium by magnetite

We are offering a 100% PhD researcher position to investigate nanoscale transformation of uranium by magnetite for a duration of 4 years at the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (EML), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. EML has a strong record in uranium biogeochemistry and this project builds on that expertise.

Uranium is a contaminant is the subsurface as a result of its mining and  processing for the  production of nuclear fuel. The remediation of uranium contamination includes its reduction by minerals such as magnetite. This project deals the nanoscale mechanism of reduction of uranium by magnetite. It involves using a combination of electron microscopy, spectroscopy and computational chemistry to unravel the mechanism of transformation of soluble uranium into nanoparticles of uranium oxide. The  computational  studies will be carried out  during a research stay of 18 months at  the  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland WA, USA to work with Dr Kevin Rosso. At EPFL, the student will work with microscopy and  spectroscopy experts Drs. Barbora Bartova, Thomas Lagrange, and Duncan Alexander in addition to  the primary  advisor (Prof. Rizlan Bernier-Latmani).

Your job

  • Carry out experimental work with uranium and magnetite in the laboratory
  • Participate in microscopic and spectroscopic analyses of the samples
  • Perform computations to constrain the mechanism of uranium oxide formation
  • Analyze microscopic and spectroscopic data
  • Participate in general laboratory tasks
  • Take classes required by the doctoral school
  • Write publications
  • Attend and present at international conferences

We expect

  • Educational background in chemistry
  • Experience working in a Unix-based computing environment is an asset
  • Computer skills: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Prism, Python, and Matlab
  • Language: fluent English
  • Willingness to move to the USA for 18 months
  • Self-motivation, scientific curiosity, critical thinking and rigor in experiment work
  • Good communication skills and ability to work as part of an international team
  • Enthusiasm, willingness to learn, good organizational skills, versatility

We offer

  • An opportunity to develop a scientific career in the context of an interdisciplinary project
  • A unique opportunity to learn high-end techniques and approaches
  • The opportunity to build a scientific network in the field of environmental geochemistry
  • Excellent educational conditions and competitive remuneration
  • A multi-cultural and stimulating scientific environment

How to apply

Please send the following documents as a single pdf file to [email protected]:

  • A letter of motivation
  • Copy of your CV
  • Two references
  • Copy of your Master degree
  • Copy of your Bachelor degree

The position is to start in 2022 (exact start date is negotiable).

Deadline: Applications will be evaluated starting December 31st.

This is a one-year contract renewable for a maximum of 4 years according to EPFL rules.

For reference of past research please visit: https://www.epfl.ch/labs/eml/.