Doctoral Student in Atmospheric Science at the University of Gothenburg (MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS)

Reference number PAR 2024/690

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract researchers and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.


PRISMAS - PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron experts and is co-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme. As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state-of-the-art tools that will lead to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden. With a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree.


The Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology conducts high-quality research and education in chemical sciences and molecular life sciences. Our research and education focus on a deep understanding of chemical and biological processes in cells and in the environment. We address important societal issues such as antibiotic resistance, cancer, brain diseases, environmental problems and climate change. In this way, we contribute to achieving the UN's global goals for sustainable development in the areas of good health and well-being, sustainable energy for all, sustainable cities and communities, and combating climate change.

The department is an international environment with interdisciplinary collaborations in both research and education and contributes strongly to the University of Gothenburg's top ranking in life science.

The department is responsible for postgraduate education in the subject area Natural Sciences with a focus on chemistry, biophysics, biology and educational science. In addition, the department hosts educational programs in molecular biology, genomics and systems biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry, as well as prescription education. The department collaborates with various societal actors such as schools, business and authorities. The Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology has around 200 employees. We centrally located on Campus Medicinareberget in Gothenburg.

The Division of Atmospheric Science within the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology takes fundamental molecular approaches to quantifying transport and reaction processes in the atmosphere. A unifying research theme is the study of atmospheric aerosol, and the research activities range from theoretical studies of chemical reactions and particle phase transitions, to applied work including field studies of fundamental atmospheric processes. The research themes are united by their importance to key issues of environmental importance, including climate and air quality. 

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. By supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.


Find more information on the research and group leaders here:


General information about being a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg can be found on the university's doctoral student pages: 



The primary objective of this project is to conduct pioneering experimental research in surface chemistry, utilizing cutting-edge synchrotron-based techniques. The role involves extensive travel to international synchrotron facilities in Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, and France for collaborative experiments. Additionally, you will engage in experimental work at the home laboratory at GU.

A significant aspect of your role at the MAX IV facility will be to collaborate with a local co-supervisor to design, develop, and test a new cryogenic sample holder. This development is crucial for advancing future experiments. The research will focus on atmospheric science; therefore, applicants are expected to have a background in chemistry and atmospheric sciences, emphasizing their relevance to the project’s goals.

Despite their significant impact, the fundamental understanding of basic surface processes in atmospheric chemistry, such as trace gas uptake and surface reactions, remains underdeveloped. This project aims to address these gaps by investigating the detailed processes and chemistry occurring on aerosol surfaces, employing techniques such as ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS) and controlled chamber experiments.

In the APXPS experiments, the uptake, chemical transformations, and depth profiles of relevant species on aerosol particles will be characterized in-situ. The experiments will be conducted under a wide range of experimental conditions. To facilitate these conditions, this project will support the development of a new cryogenic surface holder at MAX IV beamlines.

Complementary chamber experiments will also be conducted to validate the surface processes identified using APXPS. These experiments are essential for understanding the role of surface mechanisms in atmospheric chemistry and will help provide a more comprehensive view of atmospheric dynamics.

The work during the doctoral period shall result in a written and defended doctoral dissertation that is in accordance with the rules for a dissertation at the University of Gothenburg. Education at third-cycle level comprises four years of full-time study, and leads to a doctoral degree. 

As part of your employment as a doctoral student, you may have departmental duties corresponding to up to 20 % of full-time employment, distributed throughout your study period. Departmental duties usually consist of teaching at first- and second-cycle levels, but may also include research and administration.

The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialised courses at different universities to complement your knowledge. A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.

The position is a full-time, fixed term employment for four years, foreseen to start on 1/1/2025. Admission to the doctoral studies takes place at the respective University.

The holders of these positions have a primary obligation to successfully fulfil their postgraduate (third cycle) education ending with a doctoral degree (PhD).


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements: A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programs if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification,
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must: (i) have a second-cycle (advanced-level) degree in a relevant* subject area in the natural sciences, or (ii) have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or (iii) have completed a corresponding program of relevance to the planned third-cycle program, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious candidate with a MSc degree in Chemistry, Physics, Atmospheric Science or a related discipline. Experience and interest in Physical Chemistry or Atmospheric Science are seen as highly beneficial, in addition to a willingness to learn new techniques and procedures. Ability to work independently and as a part of a team as well as excellent communication skills (both verbal and written) and ability to document research results in English are essential for the position.

To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during the period 2021-08-30 to 2024-08-31 for work or studies as main occupation.

By the employment date (before 01/01/2025) you must have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, have been awarded a Master´s degree or have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

  • In addition to the criteria mentioned above, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field.
  • You are eligible for the PRISMAS programme if you qualify for a doctoral candidacy, i.e., are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

Assessment criteria   

The selection of applicants who meet the basic and specific eligibility requirements will be based on the ability to assimilate the education at third-cycle level.   



Once you have been admitted for education at third-cycle level, you will be employed as a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg.   

The provisions for employment as a doctoral student can be found in ordinance SFS 1993:100.    

Initial employment as a doctoral student may apply for a maximum of one year, and may be renewed by a maximum of two years at a time. A doctoral student may be employed as a doctoral student for a maximum of eight years, but the total period of employment may not be longer than the equivalent of full-time education at third-cycle level for four years.

The University applies a local agreement on salaries for doctoral students.   


Contact information 

For more detailed information on the position or the research project, please contact:

Xiangrui Kong,


If you have questions on the selection process, please contact:



Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here:   



Applications must include the following documents:

  • CV in Europass format
  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications as well as the prioritization in case of applying to several PRISMAS positions.
  • at least one reference letter
  • an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level)
  • Copy of academic records, including marks for all coursework with a transcript of diploma in English,
  • and any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)

All documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded.

The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience.

Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (


If you are planning to apply for more than one (up to 4) PRISMAS position (independently on the host University), please state below priorities (1- highest priority) for positions you are interested in.

Further details on the projects and descriptions of them can be found here: Research projects – MAX IV (


You can apply to be admitted for education at third-cycle level via the University of Gothenburg’s recruitment portal.   

It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete as per the vacancy notice, and that the University receives it by the final application deadline.   


Applications must be received by: 2024-08-31



Information for International Applicants 

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit: 


The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.