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Fully Funded PhD Researcher (f/m/d) in Machine Learning and Environmental Science - Ref 22-16

Campus Belval , 11, Porte des Sciences, L - 4366 Esch-Sur-Alzette , Luxembourg

  • Ref 22-16

  • Full time, 40 hours/week 

  • 36 months fixed-term contract, renewable up to 4 years

  • Work contract at LISER, department of Urban Development and Mobility (UDM)

  • Candidate should begin the PhD between September 2022 and January 2023

  • Deadline for application: 15th August 2022

  • Start date: as soon as possible


LISER invites highly motivated applicants for a PhD position on the broad topic of “Population exposure to air pollution and health effect in Europe”. The doctoral candidate will work within the framework of the Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) Deep Data Science of Digital History (D4H). This interdisciplinary DTU coordinated by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) focuses on multiple challenges at the intersection between the disciplines of history and data science. The C²DH is a research centre for the study, analysis, and public dissemination of contemporary history of Luxembourg and Europe, with a particular focus on digital methods and tools to enable innovative historical research.

The D4H DTU involves the C²DH, the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM), the Institute of History (IHIST) of the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE), the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER). For a detailed description of the conceptual framework and the training program see: https://dhh.uni.lu/d4h. The DTU will include 18 PhD positions, all of which will be formally enrolled in the University of Luxembourg.

Under the supervision of LISER Research Scientists Hichem Omrani and Olivier-Fahed Abdallah, the candidate will develop a PhD project on population exposure to air pollution in Europe and its effect on health. There are very few studies of population exposure to air pollution in Europe. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) as the world’s largest environmental stressor for human health recognizes air pollution. Globally, more than 4 million people die in each single year due to air pollution. To quantify air pollution, existing studies use either satellite data, ground-based measurement or even mobile-based measurement approaches. The ground-based stations (i.e., fixed sensors) provide reliable data for monitoring the air pollution in specific selected geographical locations. However, current environmental data from ground-based measurement is spatially scarce and biased (e.g., mainly along the main roads and around the airport). The scarcity of data is also due to the high cost deployment of monitoring stations in large cities. On the other hand, satellite data (e.g., Sentinel mission-S5P provided by the European spatial agency-ESA) have a very high coarse resolution (3.5 × 7 km) but with continuous spatial coverage at regular time steps. Satellite data alone are not effective to quantify local variation and need to be refined (downscaled or improved). Yet, we do not have this kind of data at a city/country scale. In addition, air quality data are missing in past and future decades for population exposure assessment. Therefore, in this study, we will use ground-based measurement (sensors), remote sensing data (S5P) and land use regression models to predict air pollution (at a spatial resolution of appr. 100m2) over entire Europe for past and future decades (e.g., 1900, …, 2050). This will allow us to study, for the first time, the spatial and temporal changes in exposure to air pollution across European cities and over several decades. Findings will help decision-makers to formulate policies towards a healthy urban living for the next generation.

Hichem Omrani (https://liser.elsevierpure.com/en/persons/hichem-omrani), Ph.D. is a research scientist at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) hosted at the Urban Development and Mobility department. Dr. Omrani received his habilitation-HDR (2019), a full ADR (autorisation à diriger des recherches, 2018) from the University of Luxembourg, PhD (2007), Master (2004) in Computer Science from the Technology University of Compiegne (UTC-France). He has supervised several Ph.D. and Masters students. He serves as a reviewer for several international journals. During his LISER funded scientific leave (2016-2017), he served as a Senior Visiting Researcher at Purdue University (USA), working jointly with Dr. Bryan Pijanowski, an internationally recognized specialist in the field of land change science.

Dr. Omrani conducts research in the framework of several competitive projects supported mainly by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). His research focuses on data science, complex systems modeling based on cellular automata, multi-agent systems models, multi-criteria decision making in complex, dynamic and uncertain environments, human mobility and transportation, policy evaluation, and urban studies and planning. He has published more than 100 scientific publications among them more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of GIScience and Remote Sensing, Environmental Modelling & Software, Ecological modeling, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Environmental Informatics, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Expert Systems and Applications, Computers & Industrial Engineering, and Applied Geography.


Your Role

– Prepare a PhD thesis in machine learning and environmental science;

– Participate in DTU and LISER training activities and research workshops;

– Present papers at academic conferences;

– Publish peer-reviewed journal articles.


Your Profile

– A Master’s degree in data science, machine learning, computer science or environmental science;

– Good digital literacy:

– Excellent command of English and French. Knowledge of Luxembourgish or German will be considered as an asset.

LISER particularly encourages female researchers to apply.


We offer

– A highly competitive salary for the full-time PhD position plus a generous annual training budget;

– Ad-hoc training and career development as well as access to a wide range of courses and seminars offered by LISER and the University;

– A dynamic and stimulating research environment with top-tier and many other PhD students;

– An exciting multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities to exchange with scholars from related disciplines at both LISER and the University;

– Personal workspace at LISER and excellent work equipment.


About LISER and the University of Luxembourg

LISER is a publicly funded research institute in Luxembourg devoted to applied research in economic, social, and spatial sciences. The institute has about 180 employees and 100 researchers. LISER excels particularly in the fields of public and labor economics, urban planning and mobility, being among the top 10 institutions worldwide for research on migration (IDEAS). Interdisciplinary is at the heart of the institute, which creates a stimulating and innovative environment. The working languages at LISER are English and French.

Founded in 2003, the University of Luxembourg is a modern institution aspiring to be one of Europe’s most highly regarded universities. With less than two decades of existence, the University of Luxembourg already ranks among the best 300 universities in the world (THE, 2022). It is structured around three faculties and three interdisciplinary centers with a distinctly international, multilingual, and interdisciplinary character. In 2021, the university’s staff included 270 professors and about 8,000 students, 52% of them foreigners coming from over 120 different countries.

The institute is located on the new Belval campus in the south of Luxembourg, which hosts the University of Luxembourg and a substantial part of the country’s publicly funded research facilities, i.e. LISER, the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) cross-national data center, the Luxembourg institutes of Health (LIH) and of Science and Technology (LIST).

Information for foreign researchers interested in Luxembourg research is accessible via the national EURAXESS platform http://www.euraxess.lu/


About Luxembourg

Despite its small size, Luxembourg is one of the most dynamic and diverse countries in Europe. It mixes modern culture and tradition, a majestic capital city, and breathtaking nature. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Luxembourg offers excellent health care, education, and amenities, including a variety of cultural activities such as museums, music venues, theatres, etc. Located between France, Belgium, and Germany, the country is superbly connected to other major cities like Paris or Brussels, which can be reached in 2-3 hours by train. Luxembourg is home to a large international community, with close to 40% of its population being foreigners. The official languages are French, German, and Luxemburgish, yet given the high number of international people, English is widely spoken throughout the country.


Application process

Please submit your complete application through our online system: https://jobs.liser.lu/jobs :

  • Motivation letter (max. 1 page);

  • Sketch of PhD project (2/3 pages or so);

  • Curriculum vitae;

  • List of publications (if available);

  • Copies of diplomas;

  • Two letters of recommendation (to be uploaded with the application documents or sent separately to recruitment@liser.lu mentioning the reference 22-16).

Deadline for applications: 15th August 2022.

Interviews will take place in early September for shortlisted candidates.

For PhD related information, please contact Hichem Omrani : hichem.omrani@liser.lu (no applications).

For administrative matters, please contact recruitment@liser.lu


LISER is an Equal Opportunity Employer