EUROPAH – Recruitment of PhD Student

EUROPAH is a European Training Network (ETN) funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action. 13 research groups, spread across 10 universities and 3 industrial partners in 6 different countries have come together to train a new generation of astrophysicists through an EU-wide PhD training network.

The joint scientific research goal is to understand the role that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons play in the physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium of galaxies.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are universally ubiquitous and lock-up close to 15% of the elemental carbon in space. They play a key role in maintaining the ionization balance and in the heating of interstellar gas; hence controlling the phase structure of the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies and regulate star formation. PAHs are also central to the chemical complexity of space and the organic inventory of regions of star and planet formation. On Earth, PAHs are pernicious pollutants affecting the atmosphere and aquatic environments. Understanding PAHs and their multitude of roles in the Universe is thus a key question in both astrophysics and terrestrial chemistry.

What is offered 16 early-stage researcher (ESR) positions are available across the EUROPAH network. Each ESR will be enrolled in a PhD program and complete a specially designed training schedule in tandem with performing research and innovation projects at their host organisation. This will be a highly multidisciplinary network that combines astronomy, molecular physics, molecular spectroscopy, environmental science, quantum chemistry, surface sciences, plasma physics and scientific communication. The training program is aimed at developing a research-oriented, creative and innovative mindset and will place you well for a future career in academia or in industry.

Who can apply Details on the 16 individual positions are provided below. To qualify as an ESR in the EUROPAH network you must:

  • have the background and expertise required for the position as described below
  • be in the first four years[*] of your research career, since, e.g., completion of your masters’ degree,
  • not already possess a doctorate degree,
  • be willing to move to a country within the network[†] in which you have not lived for more than 12 months over the last 3 years,
  • be proficient in both written and spoken English.

This information is also available through the EUROPAH website at

What to do Please forward a 2-page CV and 1-page cover letter, listing your favoured projects in order of preference, to by the deadline: 9th June 2017. After this first round each institute will contact successful candidates. You will then have to provide references and may be required to attend interview.

ESR 16 – Innovating in Outreach in a European Network Environment

Host Institute:                   Graphic Science Ltd.

Host Country:                    UK

Start date:                          To be Agreed

The candidate will be employed at Graphic Science Ltd. and will read for a doctoral degree at the University of Bristol under the joint supervision of Professor Justin Dillon and Ben Johnson (Graphic Science).

Project description

The project’s focus addresses the research question: “How can innovative communication practices enable traditionally underserved communities to engage more effectively in citizen participation on complex scientific issues?” In developing a thesis responding to this question, the appointee will: i)Develop a coherent programme of outreach activities with associated training and materials that will allow members of the EUROPAH network to engage EU citizens with the results, processes and wider scientific context of their research. (The activities will be targeted at a specific group defined early in the process, characterised as traditionally underserved, possessing low science capital and being present across a range of European States.) ii)Develop and test a set of robust, rigorous and appropriate evaluation tools to accurately assess the impact of that outreach on both the audiences engaged and upon the researchers themselves, with a view to identifying learning from each side. iii)Disseminate findings and propose a contextually-appropriate framework of best practice for engagement with the the target audiences. iv)Develop mechanisms for embedding further Public Engagement activity into the member institutions of the network with a view to establishing an ongoing legacy of Public Engagement activity. v)Participate in the co-development on new activities including a bid to present at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition.

Host description

Graphic Science is a communications and education agency specialising in taking science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to a variety of audiences. We have substantial in-house expertise in the development and evaluation of new resources. Team members have many years experience using iterative prototyping and substantial audience/user testing. We employ a range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies including surveys, interviews and focus groups, content and discourse analysis. Analytic tools include excel and nvivo.

Ideal candidate

The ideal candidate is an effective and experienced STEM communicator. They should have worked across a range of media, and with varied and preferably under-served audiences. A good knowledge of science in general is essential and a knowledge of physical chemistry or chemical physics desirable. They should be able to demonstrate a good grasp of the cultural and political background to the Public Engagement with STEM movement across the continent of Europe. They must be sufficiently capable in their use of English (IELTS 6.5 minimum) to enable them to undertake effective postgraduate research.

Working conditions and benefits

The appointment will be for a fixed term of 36 months, based at Graphic Science in the South West of England. There will be a number of visits to other institutions within the network. The monthly gross salary will be in accordance with the EC Marie Sklodowska-Curie rates and will be paid by the host organization. The salary will be subject to tax according to applicable UK regulations.


[*] full-time equivalent research experience

[†] you must also be eligible for a working permit for this country

About usContact us