Announcement of one PhD position at the Transient Plasmas in Planetary Atmospheres group (TRAPPA)

Announcement of one PhD position at the Transient Plasmas in Planetary Atmospheres group (TRAPPA)

Institute of Astrophysics of Andalucia (IAA - CSIC)

(Granada, SPAIN)

We announce one PhD (doctoral) project for a possible FPU contract (see enclosed call of Nov 6, 2020 of the Ministerio de Universidades) under the supervision of the TRansient Plasmas in Planetary Atmospheres (TRAPPA) group ( at the IAA - CSIC ( in Granada within the context of the recently granted project "CONTRIBUCION DEL IAA A LA EXPLOTACION CIENTIFICA DE ASIM: EXPERIMENTOS, OBSERVACIONES DESDE SUELO, ANALISIS DE DATOS Y MODELIZACION" with Ref. PID2019-109269RB-C43.

IMPORTANT: The interested candidates in this PhD project must apply to the call (before December 11, see WEB link below) by sending his / her CV and marks to Ministerio de Universidades as indicated in the enclosed ORDEN DE CONVOCATORIA. You must have a MASTER or be enrolled in an official MASTER University degree in the 2020-2021 academic year. If you are selected in the first stage, the candidate should select our project for further evaluation in a second evaluation stage as indicated in the ORDEN DE CONVOCATORIA. The PhD candidate to be recruited by our group will be employed with full social security coverage.

Web of the CALL:


The succesful candidate will perform original research on Atmospheric Electricity, Atmospheric Physics and Plasma Sciences in the context of the Atmospheric Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM) succesfully launched April 2, 2018 and already coupled in the Columbus module of the Insternational Space Station (ISS). ASIM is a space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) in which Spain has a significant participation. Our group is part of the ASIM scientific team.

The salary is 1160 EUR per month (with 14 annual payments) during the first two years, 1243 EUR per month the third year and 1554 EUR per month the fouth year. We look for highly motivated students that hold a Master degree in physics, applied mathematics and/or engineering The candidates must have a MASTER degree in physics, applied mathematics and/or engineering and demonstrate a high level of accomplishment and excellence in her/his previous academic experience.

The candidate should have very good programming (Python) and mathematical skills and high interest in data analysis. In addition, suitable candidates for this position are expected to have an excellent command of English and good academic writing and presentation skills. In the selection process, special consideration will be given to candidates with some demonstrable experience with data analysis.



Space-based lightning observations to measure atmospheric ozone

Contact: Francisco J. Gordillo-Vázquez (


The group ( of Transient Plasmas in Planetary Atmospheres of the IAA-CSIC in Granada is a leading research group created in 2008 to investigate Atmospheric Electricty (AE). Atmospheric electricity is an interdisciplinary topic involving a number of disciplines such as atmospheric physics, plasma physics and chemistry, spectroscopy and photometry, meteorology, instrumentation, atomic and molecular physics, computational physics and data analysis. Our group participates and leads European Projects (at the level of H2020 and ERC)  and carries out research of AE phenomena following a triple approach: (1) we develop state of-the-art computational models for deep understading of key features of AE phenomena, (2) we design and build our own instrumentation (spectrometers and photometers) for ground-based observations and laboratory experiments in our own AE laboratory, and (3) we participate in space missions like the Atmosphere Space Ionosphere Monitor (ASIM), launched in 2018, to investigate key fundamental properties of atmospheric electricity phenomena and their influence on the physical and chemical properties of the Earth atmosphere.  Our group has many ongoing international collaborations with groups in Europe and the Unites States. We offer a rich, young and dynamic research environment to carry out forefront research in an interdisciplinary discipline that can offer future work opportunities in research and/or industry (aerospace companies, EUMETSAT, etc).

The PhD research project with title "Space-based lightning observations to measure atmospheric ozone" aims at studying in detail how the presence of lightning and other types of electrical discharges (such as corona discharges) in thunderclouds can influence the background concentration of ozone in the Earth upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Ozone is a key greenhouse atmospheric gas that can be affected by atmospheric chemical species like nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced by lightning and / or nitrous oxide (N2O) produced by corona discharges in thunderclouds. N2O, which is tightly connected to ozone, is the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane, it is a powerful ozone depleting gas and has the strongest global warming potential (GWP), more than 300 times larger than that of CO2.

The prospective PhD candidate will do original research using data of fast photometric observations recorded by ASIM while monitoring thunderstoms. The most significant part of this PhD (doctoral) project will consist in the analysis of data recorded by the cameras and photometers of the MMIA instrument in ASIM. Data analysis will be done in close connection with the modeling of light scattering. This modeling will be completed (a) by using and improving our group cutting-edge light scattering code, (b) by interpreting the results and (c) by establishing original relationships with meteorological and laboratory meaurements, and other micro and global modeling of lightning and corona discharges. The expected candidate should be fluent in English, have good communication skills (both oral and written) and must prove a good knowledge and command of programming languages (preferentially Python).

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