PhD 8 : Monitoring water storage changes with a new portable absolute quantum gravimeter

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The company µQuans and the  University of Montpellier are offering a PhD scholarship on the topic “Monitoring water storage changes with a new portable absolute quantum gravimeter” starting preferably before July 1, 2017.
The project is funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “ENIGMA – EU Training Network for In situ imaGing of dynaMic processes in heterogeneous subsurfAce environments” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission.
ENIGMA is a consortium of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, USA and UK, and will train 15 PhD students in total (Early Stage Researcher, ESR).
This particular PhD (ESR PhD 8) will be based at µQuans with research stays at UM Montpellier, UCPH Copenhagen.

In order to be eligible, each applicant must fulfill the following criteria at the time of recruitment:

  • Mobility: At the time of recruitment, the applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc…) in the country of the host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment.
    Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
  • Qualifications and research experience: The applicant must fulfill the requirements defined for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs): ESRs are researchers who, at the time of recruitment, have NOT yet been awarded the doctorate degree and are in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of the research career.

Project description

Gravity measurements are pertinent to monitor water balance from local to basin scale. This technique can provide an estimation of the water storage spatial variability at kilometer scale with an integration scale of about 100 m. μQuans is developing a new absolute quantum gravimeter (AQG), fast and transportable (sensor ~30 kg). The AQG is a real technological breakthrough compared to current portable gravimeters, which provide relative measurements. It will allow a more efficient and precise mapping of gravity in space and time. The ESR student will perform the field validation of the first AQG against the most accurate gravimeters located at fixed stations (superconducting gravimeters available at H+ Larzac and LSBB sites). AQG will be used in to estimate the contribution of different water storage reservoirs (saturated vs unsaturated) in complement to vertically resolved complementary measurements (ERT, RMP, borehole logging). Coupled soil moisture and gravity measurements are planned at the HOBE observatory (ESR 7) as both techniques complementary for water mass balance.

Principal supervisors are :
Bruno Desruelle, Email: bruno.desruelle(at)
Cédric Champollion, Email: cedric.champollion(at)

Job description
The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) with good results and have good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be given to relevant work experience and previous publications (if any).

Background of successful candidate

We invite candidates from different scientific fields to apply; geophysics, hydrogeology, hydrogeophysics, soil physics or a related discipline. The candidate should have a solid background in geophysics, modeling of hydrological processes and in instrumentation or metrology. Furthermore, the candidate must have excellent personal skills and be able to work in a team.

Terms of Employment

The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. The exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on the country correction factor (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States). The salary includes a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if married). The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months (i.e. EC funding, additional funding is possible, depending on local supervisor).

For instance, for the ESR in France the annual salary will be :
41 425,20€  + 7,200€ (for mobility allowance) + €6,000 (for family allowance, if eligible); this is before any applicable tax and/or deductions

Application Procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically through the ENIGMA website  and must include the following:

  • Cover Letter, stating your motivation and background for applying to the specific PhD project.
  • CV, including list of publications (journal articles, master’s thesis)
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • References

IN ENIGMA, we wish to recruit ESRs that reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

There will be a first round of evaluation between January, 23rd and January, 31st.
There will be two other evaluation processes in March 2017 and in June 2017.
Candidates can continuously apply until June 2017


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor.

Bruno Desruelle, Email: bruno.desruelle(at)
Cédric Champollion, Email: cedric.champollion(at)


Department/Location: µQuans, City of Bordeaux and University of Montpellier

This position has been filled ! Please look at our other PhD positions offers !