The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Ph.D. In Geosciences, ITN MSCA H2020, PANORAMA (offer 15)

    Amphos 21
    Environmental scienceEarth science
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    30/09/2020 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Spain › Barcelona
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    under process

Ph.D. Research Project Title: Environmental mobility of REE from phosphogypsum waste: field work and reactive transport modelling

Research objectives

Phosphogypsum is the main waste left after the production of phosphoric acid by the fertilizer industries. Apart from a remarkable radioactivity from its radium content and other impurities, it contains significant amounts of rare earths elements (REE) inherited from the phosphate raw material used. Due to the high solubility of phosphogypsum and the large amounts of waste disposed (tenths of Mt), groundwaters and surface waters and ecosystems are significantly impacted. Such an impact has thoroughly been reported from a large number of field studies, including the hydrogeological and geochemical perspectives. However, the assessment of the future evolution of this impact is still pending and 3D reactive transport modelling including all mineralogical, geochemical and hydrogeological aspects is needed for such an assessment.

In this ESR 15 of the ITN-Panorama, reactive transport modelling will be performed to determine the mobility of REE in and around phosphogypsum piles from the Huelva site, in SW Spain. These piles are the largest accumulation of this waste in Europe, making this place the ideal setting to perform this research. The PhD. Project will include (1) data gathering from the existing literature, (2) field work to complete missing data (e.g., new core logging and geochemical characterization), (3) review and update of REE thermodynamic database, and (4) reactive transport calculations. The influence/interaction of the river and estuary dynamics will be examined and considered in the simulation. The field work will be done in collaboration with local associated partner, the University of Huelva, with a large expertise in the phosphogypsum problem in that area.

Presentation of the research project (cooperative aspect)

This PhD position is within the framework of a European ITN project named PANORAMAM: EuroPean trAining NetwOrk on Rare eArth elements environMental trAnsfer: from rock to human involving 15 PhD positions.

This PhD. Project will be performed under the supervision of Dr. Fidel Grandia, Project Director and Leader of the Geochemistry Group in Amphos 21 Consulting, and the co-supervision of Dr. Carlos Ruiz Cánovas from the University of Huelva. The ESR will be enrolled in the Doctorate program of Environmental and Industrial Science and Technology at the University of Huelva (Spain).

The ESR will follow a training program that will include mandatory secondments (1) at the University of Huelva, from month 7 to 10, for completing the field work; (2) at SCK.CEN from month 17 to 18, to determine the state-of-the-art of the REE data in existing thermodynamic databases review; and (3) at the University of Rennes from month 12 to 15, to train on REE concentration and speciation analysis. Additional short visits to other academic institutions within the Panorama ITN network can be anticipated.

The PhD student will be also involved in scientific/soft-skills meetings and in research activities conducted in other laboratories/companies from Europe and associated countries.

An important component of the training will be the participation to 3 main major training events:

WS1-(December 2020) REE as emerging contaminants: Properties, uses and dissemination –Germany-fundamental REE biogeochemistry and currently known anthropogenic REE inputs into the environment

SS1 (May 2021) - AMD and REE contamination mitigation - Portugal-Management and remediation solutions of AMD in old mining areas and Management of WEEE, recycling areas

WS2 - Colloids and nanoparticles as REE vectors -France- Structural characterization of colloids and nanoparticles by innovative and fine spectroscopic and scattering techniques: X-Ray absorption fluorescence and scattering, light scattering. REE interactions with bearing phases.

SS2 - (Eco)toxicology of REE –Germany- Eco)toxicological concepts and approaches, Physico-chemical properties of REE for bioavailability, ecotoxicity and environmental risk

In addition to these major milestones of the program, the PhD students will 1) continuously develop their core research skills via their own research project locally and within the network while at secondments and conferences, 2) receive a mandatory amount of hard and soft-skills training specific to their own doctoral school, along with mentoring by joint supervising bodies, 3) use conferences both as dissemination events for ESRs results and network events for progress reports and evaluations, and 4) collaborate into practical activities aimed at network-structuring legacy deliverables.

PANORAMA's research objective is to elucidate the man-induced environmental dissemination of REE and the associated effects on the environmental health. For that purpose, interdisciplinary approaches are required combining geochemistry, ecotoxicology, hydrology, chemical analysis and coupling field monitoring, original in and ex situ experimental set-up and modelling from the element speciation to the environmental impact

PANORAMA’s key aim is to set-up an optimal scientific and non-scientific training to the understanding and forecasting of the environmental impacts of new emerging pollutants such as REE.








With indicative financial conditions of the research project (in local currency)

  • 3-years full-time employment contract
  • Attractive salary tuned to living standards of the hosting country. Brut salary, and excluding family and mobility allowance will be around 2900 euro.
  • Conditional family allowance of 350€ per month (potentially subject to taxes)
  • Net mobility allowance of 600€ per month (potentially subject to taxes)
  • Based in a leading SME in I+R in Applied Geosciences in Europe, with expert staffs in modelling and friendly working conditions.
  • Possibility to collaborate with a large network of international research groups engaged in the ITN

Eligibility criteria


Recruiting is in accordance with the European rules for Marie Curie Initial Training Networks. Early-stage researchers (ESR) can be of any nationality. They must be, at the time of recruitment by the host organization, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. The research career starts after the degree that enables a student to proceed with a PhD (usually, the Master degree).

Selection process

How to apply

Send your complete application before September 15th to both contacts below (application will remain open until position is filled).

A single pdf file needs to be submitted including:

  • a cover letter, stating your research motivation and interests; including relevant background and career plan (max 1 A4 page)
  • a Curriculum Vitae, including academic background, previous research and/or industrial experience (max 2 A4 pages)
  • Degree transcripts (with marks)
  • English language qualification certificates (or equivalent)

Reference letters:

  • at least 2 confidential reference letters from academics (including name, position and email address of the referee) (max 1 A4 page, with substantiated assessment of the applicant’s technical skills, creativity, innovation ability, working capacity, efficiency and level of independence) must be sent directly to the contacts below.

Additional comments


ESR Supervisor:

Fidel Grandia, PhD, Project Director,

Geochemistry / Waste Management Dept.


Human resources head:

Natalia LUENGO


Recruitment committee: to be completed after the kick-off meeting

Project website: Created by Cordis when grant agreement will be signed

Offer Requirements

    Environmental science: Master Degree or equivalent



  • The candidate should be in the first four years of their research career. They should not have a doctoral degree and fulfil the eligibility criteria and mobility rule (see below)
  • The candidate should hold a bachelor in geology, engineering or environmental sciences, or related disciplines. Applicants must provide documentation of either a recently completed MSc degree or confirmation of completion of the MSc degree prior to starting the position (Oct 15th 2020).
  • Ability on numerical modelling. Experience with geochemical modeling codes (PHREEQC, PFLOTRAN…) will be appreciated.
  • Broad understanding of concepts and applications in environmental geochemistry
  • Advanced skills in the evaluation of hydrogeochemical systems (data analysis and visualization).
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to synthesize complex technical and scientific information.
  • Ability to work in a consulting environment, handling multiple project assignments with strict deadlines.
  • Fluent written/verbal communication in English.

Specific Requirements


Recruiting is in accordance with the European rules for Marie Curie Initial Training Networks. Early-stage researchers (ESR) can be of any nationality. They must be, at the time of recruitment by the host organization, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. The research career starts after the degree that enables a student to proceed with a PhD (usually, the Master degree).


At the time of the recruitment by the first host institution, the ESRs must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their first host institution for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

Map Information

Job Work Location Personal Assistance locations
Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Amphos 21
Carrer de Veneçuela, 103,

EURAXESS offer ID: 515909


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