We are looking for PhD students!

Currently no available ESR positions.

We are looking for 15 highly motivated Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) with an excellent academic background in Chemistry, Biology or a related discipline who seek an opportunity to conduct research in an international inspiring and collaborative network.

The aim of the PRORISK network is to provide the ESRs with knowledge, practical and transferable skills in order to perform top-level research. The ESRs will be enrolled in a doctoral study programme and will work on their individual research projects. In addition, the ESRs will enjoy multidisciplinary training and intersectoral networking opportunities through secondments within the consortium, a variety of courses and workshops and active participation in conferences.

General requirements for all ESR positions
  • The applicants can be of any nationality.
  • At the date of recruitment the applicants for the MSCA fellowship must have no PhD and less than 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience from the award of the degree that entitles them to undertake a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the applicant is to be recruited).
  • The applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting institution for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
  • The applicants must have a BSc and a MSc or equivalent in Chemistry, Biology or a related discipline.
  • The ESRs are required to spend part of their project period at other institutions in the PRORISK consortium during secondments, as described in each individual project.
  • A good command of English language, with excellent oral and written skills is required.
  • For specific requirements see individual vacancies.
Benefits

The successful applicants will be hired for 36 months, with an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for ESRs. The exact salary is dependent on the country correction coefficient (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States and other countries; see the table below) and will be confirmed upon appointment. The ESRs will be provided with a Mobility Allowance (600 EUR/month) and a Family Allowance (500 EUR/month, if eligible). The ESR is eligible for the Family Allowance should they have family, regardless of whether the family will move with the researcher or not. In this context, family is defined as persons linked to the researcher by (i) marriage, or (ii) a relationship with equivalent status to a marriage recognised by the national or relevant regional legislation of the country where this relationship was formalised; or (iii) dependent children who are actually being maintained by the researcher.

The allowances may be subject to compulsory deductions (e.g. employer /employee social security contributions, health insurance, direct taxes).

In addition, the ESRs will have access to funds covering Research, Training and Networking costs.

Early Stage Researcher positions

15 PhD student positions for Early Stage Researchers (ESR) are available in the PRORISK project. Description of all positions including application websites can be found below.

ESR 1 - Underlying physiological mechanisms of interactions between effects of exposure to contaminants and natural stressors

Project title: Underlying physiological mechanisms of interactions between effects of exposure to contaminants and natural stressors
Objectives: Identify and analyse interplay between physiological/molecular mechanisms involved in toxicokinetics/toxicodynamics under influence of natural stressors.
Develop RNA interference (RNAi) methods that will help understand the transcriptional molecular responses to contaminant exposure, and to identify the most important molecular responses in detoxification and defence mechanisms.
Expected results: Understanding importance of relevant natural stressors in detoxifying contaminants and defensive stress response mechanisms.
Using RNAi (with ESR4), novel understanding and identification of important detoxification mechanisms, facilitating selection of relevant transcriptional biomarkers for further refinement/development of toxicity screening procedures used in chemical RA.
Place: Aarhus, Denmark
Planned secondments: RIWA, M18, 2 months, Hands-on introduction to risk assessment
UdG, M27, 2 months, investigate physiological effects of non-chemical stressors
Work packages: 2 - Exposure and chemical-biological interactions
3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
Supervisors: Martin Holmstrup, AU
Inge Fomsgaard, AU
Host institution and enrolment: Aarhus University
Application website: Closed

ESR 2 - The influence of abiotic factors on exposure

Project title: The influence of abiotic factors on exposure
Objectives:

Reveal abiotic factors significantly influencing chemical toxicity.
Compare toxic effects in unicellular and multicellular organisms in different exposure scenarios and in simplified food-chain model.
Identify effects of exposure conditions on D. magna.

Expected results:

New information on chemical effects on bacteria, algae and crustaceans in different exposure scenarios and food-chains.
New potential biomarkers and toxicity endpoints to increase environmental relevance of laboratory data (with ESR3 and ESR5).

Place: Tallin, Estonia
Planned secondments:
NIVA, M18, 2 months, in vitro studies and chemical analysis
NIVA, M24, toxicogenomic studies
DuPont, M28, 2 months, chemical analysis
Work packages: 2 - Exposure and chemical-biological interactions
3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
Supervisors:

Villem Aruoja, NICPB
Kairi Koort, Tallinn University
Margit Heinlaan, NICPB
Knut Erik Tollefsen, NIVA
Anne Kahru, NICPB

Host institution: National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics
Enrolment: Tallinn University
Application website:
Closed

ESR 3 - Bridging chemical exposure with effect assessment

Project title: Bridging chemical exposure with effect assessment
Objectives: Bridge chemical exposure with the effects at higher levels (ecological status, biological elements of quality) using target (>2400 chemicals; quantitative) and non-target (>40,000 chemicals; semi-quantitative) screening of environmental and biota samples; prioritize chemicals responsible for exceedance of the Effect-based Trigger Values.
Test the prioritisation at the local, regional and river basin scales for regulatory purposes.
Validate the novel concept with specific datasets (Joint Danube Survey 4; Joint Black Sea Survey).
Expected results: Establishment of links between the exposures to large number of chemicals and the ecological status (statistical analysis).
Prioritization of the pollutants for future regulatory monitoring and management purposes.
Place: Koš, Slovak Republic
Planned secondments:
MU, M18, 1.5 month, in vitro and in vivo studies
NIVA, 24, 1.5 months, bioinformatics, in vitro studies and chemical analysis
CSIC-CEAB, 30, 1 month, extrapolating chemical effects on assemblages in multiple ecosystem service delivery
Work packages: 2 - Exposure and chemical-biological interactions
3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
5 - Risk assessment and socio-economic evaluation of ecological effects
Supervisors:

Jaroslav Slobodnik, EI
Ludek Blaha, MU

Host institution: Environmental Institute s.r.o.
Enrolment: Masaryk University
Application website:
Closed

ESR 4 - Linking metabolic and reproduction disruptions after exposures to novel flame retardants

Project title: Linking metabolic and reproduction disruptions after exposures to novel flame retardants
Objectives:

To characterize MoAs and ecotoxicological effects of novel classes of flame retardants (FRs) in zebrafish.
To establish AOP network linking metabolic-endocrine-reproduction disruption caused by FRs.

Expected results:

MIEs, KEs and AOs related to toxicity of novel FRs including toxicogenomics responses.
In vitro assay(s) for high through-put screening (HTS) or ecotoxicant effects.
Characterization of a (network of) AOPs linking metabolic-endocrine-reproduction outcomes relevant for FRs.

Place: Brno, Czech Republic
Planned secondments:
RIWA, M20, 2 months, FRs and water quality assessment
NIVA, M24, 2 months, toxicogenomic studies
Work packages: 3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisor: Ludek Blaha, MU
Host institution and enrolment: Masaryk University
Application website:
Closed

ESR 5 - Linking chemical perturbations of chitin synthesis to developmental disorders in crustaceans

Project title: Linking chemical perturbations of chitin synthesis to developmental disorders in crustaceans
Objectives:

To establish and evaluate the AOP “Chitin synthesis inhibitors leading to developmental disorders and death in freshwater crustaceans”.
To implement a suite of bioassays and effect tools characterize the AOP and establish quantitative effect relationships along the AOP continuum (qAOP) in Daphnia magna.
Establish computational solutions to support extrapolation of AOP and qAOP data to hazard and risk assessment.

Expected results:

Conceptual AOP developed and evaluated, submitted to the AOP-wiki and knowledge gaps identified to guide experimental studies.
Experimentally consolidate the AOP with molecular (with ESR2), functional, and adverse outcomes data (with ESR6) in D. magna to develop qAOPs, and 3) Demonstrate use of computational solutions (e.g. statistics, bioinformatics and machine learning) to support cross-species extrapolations and use of AOP/qAOP data to support environmental hazard and risk assessment (with ESR3).

Place: Oslo, Norway
Planned secondments:
VUA, M15, 1 month, histochemistry, histopathology and in situ hybridisation in D. magna
CSIC-CEAB, M20, 2 months, multispecies exposures
EI, M30, 1 month – chemical analysis and data-mining of demonstration studies from WP5 (JDS4)
Work packages: 3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
5 - Risk assessment and socio-economic evaluation of ecological effects
Supervisor: Knut Erik Tollefsen, NIVA
Host institution: Norwegian Institute for Water Research
Enrolment: Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Application website:
Closed

ESR 6 - Linking phenotype, developmental and behavioral outcomes to metabolomic pathways in aquatic snails and terrestrial arthropods

Project title: Linking phenotype, developmental and behavioral outcomes to metabolomic pathways in aquatic snails and terrestrial arthropods
Objectives:

To develop a combined in vivo and in vitro metabolomic approach to investigate molecular mechanisms and pathways of neonicotinoid toxicity.
Establish/evaluate AOP for neurodevelopmental and behavioural effects of neonicotinoids on Lymnaea stagnalis (aquatic) and Folsomia candida (soil) by linking involved metabolic pathways with phenotypic/developmental/behavioural changes.
To link tissue specific exposure information to molecular information at the anatomical level.

Expected results:

New insights into molecular mechanisms and pathways of neonicotinoid toxicity. In vitro and combined cross-omic strategy (metabolomics, proteomics and genomics; collaboration with ESR5) to confirm MoA and toxicity mechanism associated with the AOP.
Anchoring of metabolic profiles with pathways observed in other in vitro (ESR1, ESR2, ESR3, ESR4) and in vivo assays.
Anchoring of the chemical exposure, molecular tissue distribution and organism health profiles to MIE, KE and AO of selected AOPs.
Revised conceptual AOP for neurodevelopmental disorders and final version submitted to the OECD-EAMST for expert evaluation.

Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Planned secondments:
MU, M22, 2 months, in vitro studies
RIWA, M26, 2 months, data analysis
Work packages: 3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisors:

Marja Lamoree, VUA
Pim Leonards, VUA

Host institution and enrolment: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Application website:
Closed

ESR 7 - Linking physiological, individual and population level effects: AOP on the fish performance biomarkers (swimming capacity, metabolism and energetics)

Project title: Linking physiological, individual and population level effects: AOP on the fish performance biomarkers (swimming capacity, metabolism and energetics)
Objectives: Examine relationships between fish performance disruptions and fitness changes in individual fish.
Evaluate propagation of altered individual fitness into altered population demography under consideration of physiological and ecological traits.
Investigate the modulating influence of non-chemical stressors on fish performance disruption.
Apply research findings in the context of a regulatory risk assessment for fish performance disruptors.
Expected results: Understanding for a selected AOP (fish performance disruption - adverse individual/population outcome) the qualitative and quantitative relationships between organisms and ecological effects of chemical exposure.
Experience in scopes and limits of mechanism-based approaches to environmental risk assessment.
Place: Girona, Spain
Planned secondments:
ECT, M18, 2 months, link the data at the individual, population level to effects at the ecosystem level
USFD, M30, 2 months, assessment/modelling ecological effects
Work packages: 3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisor: Anna Vila-Gispert, UdG
Host institution and enrolment:

University of Girona

Application website:

Closed

ESR 8 - Linking retinoid and thyroid hormone signaling disruption with adverse effects on early development

Project title: Linking retinoid and thyroid hormone signaling disruption with adverse effects on early development
Objectives:

Characterize the relation of endocrine disruption via interference with retinoid and thyroid hormone signaling with adverse effects of pollutants on early development of fish.
Explore the role of nuclear receptors RAR/RXR and TR signaling in the AOP of selected environmental toxicants and mixtures.
Link mechanistic changes in retinoid and thyroid hormone signaling with higher level adverse outcomes (developmental and embryonal toxicity, altered growth or behavior) by employing proteomics and targeted metabolomics and transcriptomics approaches.

Expected results:

Assessment of early developmental effects in aquatic vertebrates (fish) with key role of retinoid and thyroid hormone signaling; their increased occurrence leads to adverse outcomes to structure (ageing) and growth of populations.
AOP linking molecular modulations of retinoid and thyroid hormone signaling with biomarkers of key events and health outcomes in vivo at organismal - embryonal level.
Information on the predictability of adverse effects intensity from initiating events assessed by in vitro tools

Place: Brno, Czech Republic
Planned secondments:
VUA, M17, 2 months – development and optimization of the methods for metabolomics and biomarker analyses
Du Pont, M27, 2 months – methodologies of bioanalyses and metabolomics in industry
Work packages: 3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisor: Klara Hilscherova, MU
Host institution and enrolment: Masaryk University
Application website:
Closed

ESR 9 - Linking individual and community level effects

Project title: Linking individual and community level effects
Objectives:

Use energy-budget, population and food-web models to extrapolate chemical-induced changes in feeding rate to population and community-level responses that underpin key ecosystem functions and service.
Identify effect thresholds for each level of biological organization.
Apply modelling framework to case study chemicals.

Expected results:

Empirical evidence of individual-based threshold effect levels for study chemicals.
Application of energy-budget and population models to translate individual-level effects to changes in populations.
Relationships between individual-level effects and community processes and response to chemical exposure.
Understanding of how chemical-induced effects on the feeding rate translates into changes in population growth and community-level processes and the ecosystem functions and services they drive.
Elucidation of the association between individual-level physiological responses and changes in molecular markers (with ESR7).
Inter-specific comparison of the translation function linking individual-level effects and population-level responses (with ESR10).

Place: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Planned secondments:
RIVM, M19, 1 month, learn about trait-based approaches
AU, M25, 2 months, to collaborate with ESR10
EI, M30, 1 month, field methods and exposure assessment
Work packages: 4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
Supervisor:

Lorraine Maltby, USFD
Philip Warren, USFD

Host institution and enrolment:

University of Sheffield

Application website:

Closed

ESR 10 - Linking individual and population level responses to combined effects of contaminants and natural stressors

Project title: Linking individual and population level responses to combined effects of contaminants and natural stressors
Objectives: Develop and use Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) framework for analysing individual and population responses to combined effects of chemical and natural stressors in springtails and/or oligochaetes.
Test hypothesis that both detoxification and repair of toxicant injuries costs in terms of energy, and that acclimation and stress responses induced by exposure to natural stressors have costs in terms of energy.
Test hypothesis that costs – if not compensated for–impact on growth, reproduction and ultimately on population growth rates.
Expected results: Test designs allowing well-controlled dosage of contaminants combined with well-controlled natural stressors; measure metabolic status, growth, reproduction and survival over time. Model data with DEBtox.
Understand importance of selected relevant natural stressors for toxicity of chemicals at higher organizational levels. Feed results into assessments at community/ ecosystem service levels.
Complement work of ESRs 1 and 14 to map complete AOP of combined effects of chemical and natural stressors.
Place: Aarhus, Denmark
Planned secondments: VUA, M24, 2 months, learn DEB theory and methodology
ECT, M30, 2 months, link the data at the individual, population level to effects at the ecosystem level
Work packages: 4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
3 - Linking molecular responses to effects at higher biological levels using adverse outcome pathways (AOPs)
Supervisor: Martin Holmstrup, AU
Host institution and enrolment: Aarhus University
Application website: Closed

ESR 11 - Exploring the role of soil organisms in relation to ecosystem services and its potential sensitivity to chemical stressors

Project title: Exploring the role of soil organisms in relation to ecosystem services and its potential sensitivity to chemical stressors
Objectives:

Investigating the effects of chemical stressors on ecosystem services (i.e. soil fertility) provided by soil micro-arthropods.
Linking gene expression and individual level responses by combining AOP and trait-based approaches.

Expected results:

Effects at different levels of biological organization, from gene expression to population and potential for recovery of Folsomia candida (Collembola).
Trait-based approach combined with functional endpoints to establish role of Collembola in soil fertility (i.e. N cycling).
Potential of AOP approach, extended with biochemical and physiological endpoints, dedicated microcosm data on Collembola communities, and combined with trait-based approaches for predicting ecosystem services effects.

Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Planned secondments:
AU, M15, 2 months, investigate effects of non-chemical stressors on role of Collembola in ecosystem services
ECT, M25, 2 months, link population level to ecosystem level effects by performing TME experiments
Work package: 4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisor: Kees van Gestel, VUA
Host institution and enrolment: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Application website:
Closed

ESR 12 - Translating community change to ecosystem services provision

Project title: Translating community change to ecosystem services provision
Objectives: Develop ecosystem service assessment endpoints in fluvial biofilms.
Validate experimental fluvial mesocosms for ERA based on multiple-scale responses to contaminants.
Select most sensitive functional and structural approaches best linked to ecosystem services.
Develop/validate multi-metric model predicting ecological damages affecting ecosystem services based on set of alterations.
Expected results: Multiple functional responses of natural “ecosystem” model, i.e. aquatic biofilms, including both autotrophs, heterotrophs in microbial food web, incl. general ecosystem processes and more specific responses, and nutrient cycling.
Impact of chemicals on biofilm community composition.
Greater understanding of chemical-induced effects on microbial communities (fluvial biofilms) structural and functional endpoints translates into specific ecosystem services loss (collaboration with ESR 11 and ESR 13).
Place: Blanes - Girona, Spain
Planned secondments: USFD, M18, 3 months, parallels in functioning and ecosystem services responses in soils and aquatic organisms
Consulteco, M30, 1 month – principles of EIA, linking results to socioeconomic analyses
Work package: 4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisors: Helena Guasch, CSIC-CEAB
Anna Maria Romaní, UdG
Host institution: Spanish National Research Council – Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes
Enrolment: University of Girona
Application website:
Closed

ESR 13 - Ecosystem services and risk assessment

Project title: Ecosystem services and risk assessment
Objectives:

Evaluate available tools for applying ecosystem services approach to chemical risk assessment. Identify key information gaps.
Use novel approaches from ecology, ecotoxicology and modelling to address information gaps identified in first objective.
Apply novel and existing approaches to evaluate the risk of chemical to ecosystem service of case study chemicals.

Expected results:

Systematic review of the applicability of current ecotoxicological methods for assessing the risk of chemicals and other stressors to ecosystem service delivery.
Tools for facilitating translation of conventional ecotoxicological endpoints to ecosystem service assessment endpoints.
The tools and approaches required to assess the effects of chemical on ecosystem service delivery.

Place: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Planned secondments:
DTU, M18, 3 months, ecotoxicological damage modelling
EI, M32, 1 month - exposure and risk assessment
Work packages: 5 - Risk assessment and socio-economic evaluation of ecological effects
4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisor: Philip Warren, USFD
Lorraine Maltby, USFD
Host institution and enrolment: University of Sheffield
Application website:
Closed

ESR 14 - Socio-economic evaluation of the impacts of chemicals on natural capital and ecosystem services

Project title: Socio-economic evaluation of the impacts of chemicals on natural capital and ecosystem services
Objectives:

Developing novel methods for socio-economic evaluation of chemical effects on provision of ecosystem services and natural capital.
Quantifying economic damage accounting for distribution of impacts across different stakeholders in time and space.
Testing impact of risk communication formats on public perception and valuation of chemicals and ecosystem services.

Expected results:

Improved economic cost/benefit analysis of chemical impacts on ecosystem services delivery and natural capital to support current and future decision-making related to implementation of REACH, affecting chemical industry and regulatory authorities.
Link with 2004 European Environmental Liability Directive aimed at the prevention and remedying of environmental damage based on the polluter pays principle.
Improved methodological approaches to provide empirical data and information about socio-economic impacts of selected chemicals on ecosystems across the EU to support European policy makers and regulatory agencies.

Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Planned secondments:
Consulteco, M15, 2 months, implementation of environmental economics and risk assessment in practice
UWaterloo, M26, 6 months, use of ecosystem service data for socio-economic assessment
Work package: 5 - Risk assessment and socio-economic evaluation of ecological effects
Supervisors:

Pieter J.H. van Beukering, VUA
Radka Vokurková, Consulteco
Roy Brouwer, UWaterloo/VUA
Michiel Rutgers, RIVM

Host institution and enrolment: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Application website:
Closed

ESR 15 - Integrated risk assessment: from exposure through AOPs to ecosystem services

Project title: Integrated risk assessment: from exposure through AOPs to ecosystem services
Objectives:

To translate ecotoxicological effects from chemical exposure via different AOPs into damages on ecosystems expressed in measures of genetic diversity.
To link ecosystem damages to ecosystem functions and ecosystem services related damages expressed in measures of functional diversity.

Expected results:

Set of consistent metrics relating distinct ecotoxicological effects to damage on genetic diversity (i.e. species loss) at the level of ecosystems.
Quantified comparative damage factors differentiated according to species groups and/or groups of MOAs and/or groups of AOPs.
Approach for systematically linking genetic species diversity to ecosystem functions and services.
Damage factors for functional diversity differentiated according to ecosystem functions and services groups and/or species groups fulfilling similar/same functions or ecosystem services.

Place: Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Planned secondments:
RIVM, M18, 2 months, multi-species sensitivity distribution
UWaterloo, M26, 2 months, water ecosystem services and functions
Work package: 5 - Risk assessment and socio-economic evaluation of ecological effects
Supervisor: Peter Fantke, DTU
Host institution and enrolment: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Application website:
Closed