Early Stage Researcher (PhD Student) position in Analytical Chemistry and Bioinformatics
Environmental Institute

Application deadline (EXTENDED): 31/05/2020
Employer: Environmental Institute, s.r.o.
Town/city: Kos, Slovakia
Title: PhD position in Analytical Chemistry and Bioinformatics
Full-time/part time: Full-time
Employment: Temporary
Percentage of work time: 100
Positions: 1

Duties and responsibilities

Environmental Institute (EI) and the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) project “Best chemical risk assessment professionals for maximum Ecosystem Services benefit (PRORISK)” offer an Early Stage Researcher (ESR - PhD Student) position with focus on “Bridging chemical exposure with effect assessment”.

We are looking for a highly motivated Early Stage Researcher (PhD candidate) with an excellent academic background in analytical chemistry focused on the use of chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry techniques, bioinformatics and environmental sciences who seeks an opportunity to conduct research in an international inspiring and collaborative network.

The duration of the PhD contract is 3 years.

PRORISK (www.prorisk-itn.eu) is a European Training Network funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 859891. The consortium comprises of 18 universities, research institutions, enterprises and partner organisations in nine European countries and Canada creating a novel platform for training a network of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the field of advanced Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA). Research and training provided through PhD study, PRORISK training programme and secondments in international multidisciplinary intersectoral teams in academia, industry and regulatory bodies will enable ESRs to address exposure, ecotoxicology, ecosystem services, as well as assessment and modelling of risks and socio-economic impacts. The ESRs within PRORISK will gain synthetic skills allowing them to develop and implement innovative ERA concepts and tools to link the effects of chemicals at different levels of biological organization to ecosystem services and to determine the socio-economic values of related environmental impacts.


The main tasks of the ESR (ESR 3) are to:

  1. Bridge chemical exposure with the effects at higher levels, addressing individual biological quality elements and overall ecological status, using quantitative target and non-target screening of environmental and biota samples; prioritise chemicals responsible for exceedance of the ecotoxicity threshold values.
  2. Test suitability of various prioritisation schemes for regulatory purposes at the local, regional and river basin scales.
  3. Validate the novel prioritisation concepts with existing datasets of chemical, biological and ecotoxicological data in the Danube River Basin and Black Sea region and establish links between the exposures to large number of chemicals and the ecological status using advanced statistical analysis.

For further information about the scientific content please contact the principle supervisor: Dr. Jaroslav Slobodnik (slobodnik@ei.sk).

The ESR will be a part of EI’s research group and will closely work with other researchers in the group as well as with national and international collaborators within the PRORISK project consortium. EI performs research in development of advanced methodologies in environmental analytical chemistry, effect-directed analysis, design of environmental databases, processing of ‘big data’ and development of chemical and environmental exposure, hazard and risk assessment schemes. EI’s experts are frequently involved in the development of River Basin Management Plans and implementation of various aspects of the EU water legislation (e.g. WFD, MSFD) at the national, river basin, sea region and pan-European scale.

The candidate will work at EI while also participating in a 3-year full-time doctoral degree programme at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic and take part in research stays (secondments) in other PRORISK partner laboratories.


The qualified candidate should hold a master’s degree (or equivalent) in environmental analytical chemistry, (eco)toxicology, biochemistry, bioinformatics or similar fields. Proficiency in oral and written English is a prerequisite. Experience with processing ‘big data’, databases development and computational approaches within bioinformatics, programming skills, as well as experience in environmental risk assessment are considered advantageous.

Eligibility Criteria for ESR positions:

  1. Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity in Slovakia for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment.
  2. Applicants must not have been awarded a doctoral degree and must not have more than 4 years (full time equivalent) research experience at the date of their recruitmlint. This is counted from the date they obtain the degree that would let themlistart work on a doctorate.
  3. These eligibility requirements are non-negotiable and ineligible applicants will not be considered.
  4. Eligible applicants can be of any nationality.


The candidate should have relevant experience in the use of liquid or gas chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry and related data interpretation. Experience and knowledge in hydrobiology or (eco)toxicology and skills such as in vitro bioassays, biostatistics and bioinformatics, and programming are considered advantageous.


The successful candidate needs to be proactive, independent, creative and cooperative, and wishes to work in a broad scientific group in an international research environment. The ability to conduct good teamwork and share resources with other researchers will be important.

What we offer

The ESR will receive a contract of employment as a full-time researcher for the relevant period of their appointment, which will include applicable benefits in the host country. They will complete a comprehensive personalized career development programme, with targeted training measures and participate in a range of network events. The ESR will benefit from interdisciplinary cooperation and interaction within the network, providing them with the best preparation for a successful career in either academia or industry.

MSCA fellowships for ESRs provide salaries in line with H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019 call. Additional allowances for mobility and family (if applicable) are also provided. Further information is available on www.prorisk-itn.eu.

EI will provide access to the state-of-the-art research infrastructure in the stimulating and diverse work environment and a possibility to establish links with other researchers within NORMAN Association, a network of more than 80 organisations dealing with all aspects of contaminants of emerging concern in environment, of which EI is a founding member.

Applications and selection process

Applications must be submitted by e-mail to the address glowacka@ei.sk with a copy to slobodnik@ei.sk. Applicants should provide the following information in their application in English:

  1. Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project. Please indicate if you have applied for other PRORISK PhD fellowships (possible to apply up to three positions; indicate the preferences).
  2. A detailed CV including technical and analytical skills and publications if applicable.
  3. All academic level certificates (BSc and MSc) including university grades itemized by each course. Foreign documents should be sent as certified English translations.
  4. A synopsis (abstract) of the BSc and MSc thesis if applicable, or any previous research project.
  5. At least two professional referees (Name, address, telephone & email).

Deadline for applications is on 31 May 2020. A review of applications will run continuously as they are received. The short-listed applicants complying with the requirements will be invited for personal or Skype interviews foreseen in May/June 2020.