PhD position in Autonomous University of Barcelona

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PhD position in Autonomous University of Barcelona

Postby villamen » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:54 pm


Institute of Environmental Science and Technology ICTA-UAB

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is a university centre that promotes academic research and postgraduate education in the environmental sciences. It aims to improve our understanding of global environmental change, and the nature and causes of environmental problems. In addition, it studies policies, strategies and technologies to foster a transition to a sustainable economy.

ICTA-UAB researchers devote much attention to climate and global change studies, following a transdisciplinary approach that ranges from the Natural Sciences to Engineering and Social Sciences. ICTA-UAB stands out among the environmental science institutes in Spain and Europe, in that it has achieved a rare balance of Natural, Social and Engineering Sciences in studying the various dimensions of climate and global change and climate policy.

The ICTA-UAB was accredited with the highest institutional recognition of scientific research in Spain (‘María de Maeztu’ Unit of Excellence 2015 (MDM-2015-0552)) by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Currently, the ICTA –UAB is the only research center in environmental sciences that is accredited with this title. It is implementing a strategic research programme (2016-2019) intended to consolidate its scientific capabilities, contribute to the leadership of Spanish research and act as an international pole of attraction for talent.

The ICTA -UABis offering two masters and one doctoral (PhD) programmes within the postgraduate education system of the UAB ( The PhD programme offers the opportunity to start an environmental science research career in a stimulating, dynamic, international, inter-disciplinary and highly qualified working environment. It is adapted to the new European Higher Education Area (EHEA), leading to an EU officially-recognized doctoral degree. The PhD programme has been awarded the official quality label of the Spanish government.

ICTA-UAB PhD practical training courses are specifically devoted to PhD students and early-career postdoctoral researchers, covering topics such as team building and team collaboration for research, scientific writing, effective communication, planning your academic and non-academic career.


Campus UAB, "Z" Building, Carrer de les Columnes, 08913 Bellaterra, Barcelona


Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering Panel


Dr.Gara Villalba

-Research Project / Research Group Description:

Urbanized regions are responsible for a disproportionately large percentage (30-40%) of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, despite covering only 2% of the Earth’s surface area. As a result, policies enacted at the local level in these urban areas can, in aggregate, have a large global impact, both positive and negative. World-wide, municipal governments have realized this fact and, understanding that they possess some control over large emitters through urban planning, permitting, municipal operations, and local ordinances, have implemented GHG reduction initiatives.

Due to the offsetting effect of the urban biosphere, resulting from the photosynthetic uptake of CO2 by plants in the urban area that are often well watered and fertilized, the precise impact of urban emissions on the global burden of GHGs is challenging to quantify. Green-space initiatives that increase the vegetative coverage of the landscape, and therefore the productivity of the urban ecosystem for sequestration of CO2, are often proposed as GHG reducing strategies, despite there being very little quantitative evidence for the effectiveness or efficiency of such strategies. This PhD thesis proposal aims to improve our scientific understanding of the impact of the urban biosphere on the net flux of CO2 from cities into the atmosphere.

To do so, the candidate will use the atmospheric Weather Research Forecasting model (WRF) and gas transport model WRF-Chem or STEM in order to simulate GHG emissions at urban scale. The metropolitan area of Barcelona will serve as a case study (or any another European city for which observed data for certain gases are available). The work will entail applying certain methods to disaggregate fossil fuel CO2 emissions from the total CO2 emissions observed and/or simulated, so that photosynthetic uptake of CO2 can be quantified. Furthermore, the validation of the model runs and the results from the analysis will serve to validate/compare with bottom-up approaches of GHG accounting methods based on energy use.

-Job position description:

The candidate is required to have a bachelors degree in engineering, computer science, applied mathematics (or equivalent); and a Masters degree in environmental engineering, applied mathematics, computer science or scientific modelin with knowledge of physics and chemistry principles applied in the engineering field. Knowledge and experience with the following will be greatly valued: Weather Research Forecasting model (WRF) and WRF-Chem, programming in fortran, python, grpahics software such as Grads or NCL, Geographic Information Systems software such as ArcGIS.

The candidate is expected to participate in other projects that are being developed by the research group, to complement his/her learning experience and project management skills. Furthermore, participation in an International institution for the period of three months or more will be encouraged in order to collaborate with other researchers and obtain the European Mention in the PhD degree. Other activities that the candidate will participate in are: communicate results in an International conference, present a seminar to the UAB scientific community, and disseminate his or her research to the non-scientific community. It is also expected that the candidate is responsable for his/her career development plan and actively seeks advice when needed, knows how to work independentely and in a group, and is respectful and helpful to others.

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