JOB OPPORTUNITIES 15 Early Stage Researcher PhD Studentships (inventWater)








15 Early Stage Researcher PhD Studentships


inventWater: Inventive forecasting tools for adapting water quality management to a new climate


European Training Networks - Innovative Training Network - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Horizon 2020 Excellence Science – European Comission. H2020-MSCA-ITN-2020

Project Lead

Dr Rafael Marcé (Catalan Institute for Water Research - ICRA)

Salary Scale

The MSCA programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €3270/month (correction factor to be applied per country) + mobility allowance = €600/month. Researchers may also qualify for a family allowance of €500/month depending on the family situation. Note these amounts are before local taxes/social payments].


Hosted by one of 10 project beneficiaries as detailed in the project descriptions below: Catalan Institute for Water Research (Spain, coordinator), Aarhus University (Denmark), Dundalk Institute of Technology (Ireland), Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (Germany), International Institute for Applied System Analysis (Austria), Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum (Germany), The University of Stirling (UK), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Wageningen University (The Netherlands), and University College Cork (Ireland)


Fulltime employment contract for 36 months, some projects offer the possibility to extend to 48 months

Applications are invited for 15 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) PhD studentships on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie action (MSCA) European Training Network inventWater (Inventive forecasting tools for adapting water quality management to a new climate) within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. Each vacancy is for a period of 36 months, with a starting date between 1 June 2021 and 1 November 2021 (dependent on individual project requirements - see project descriptions below). Recruitment will be on a competitive basis across all applicants.

We offer Doctorates undertaking cross-disciplinary research working in top European research institutes with high exposure to the non-academic sector, including industry from the water sector, spin-offs, and highly influential international organisations such as UNESCO.


The Project:

The water quality of rivers, lakes and reservoirs is severely affected by long-term climate change, extreme events, and weather variations. As a result, there is a pressing need for instruments that anticipate the impacts of environmental changes, allowing water management to effectively safeguard water quality. Technological advances have led to new meteorological and climate data products and innovative modelling instruments that have enabled reliable predictions for lake and river water quality on regional and global levels. The EU-funded inventWater project will establish a platform that provides advanced cross-disciplinary training to the next-generation of water specialists. The project will offer training in data science, climate, hydrology, and freshwater ecology, focussing on the development and real-world application of inventive water quality predicting instruments that support fast and reliable decision-making and long-term adaptation policies. The administrative EU page for the project is

The consortium consists of Beneficary institutions performing cutting-edge science in the water sector from 8 different countries, and 16 additional partners that will broaden the professional career perspectives of the ESRs.

Below is a list of the 15 ESR projects / PhD positions that are available:

  • ESR-1: A new generation of coupled watershed-lake water quality models operating at multiple scales, Aarhus University, Denmark.
  • ESR-2: Machine learning methods integrating climate and water monitoring data to support modelling future water quality in lakes and reservoirs over decades, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Germany.
  • ESR-3: Improving forecasts of phytoplankton blooms using high frequency satellite observations, The University of Stirling, UK.
  • ESR-4 : Incorporating water management in an Earth System Model for improved climate, impact and adaptation modelling, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium).
  • ESR-5 : Innovative forecasting approaches to assess future trends in pollutant flows from land to water systems for advancing sectoral water quality services, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.
  • ESR-6 : New global indicators for the impacts of global changes on water quality to improve management and policy making, International Institute for Applied System Analysis, Austria.
  • ESR-7 : Assisting decision making with water quality predictions based on short-term weather forecasts, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland.
  • ESR-8 : Producing climate services related to seasonal and decadal prediction for an improved management of lakes devoted to drinking water supply, Catalan Institute for Water Research, Spain.
  • ESR-9 : Combining forecasting tools and adaptive monitoring strategies for fast reaction plans for aquatic ecosystems at risk, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, Germany.
  • ESR-10 : Solutions for existing and future challenges in water governance, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, Germany.
  • ESR-11 : Adaptation strategies against progressing anoxia in lakes, The University of Stirling, UK.
  • ESR-12 : Forecasting the phenology, production, and distribution of diadromous fish in order to enable climate adaptation in fish management,University College Cork, Ireland.
  • ESR-13 : Forecasting feedbacks between the climate system and carbon dynamics in lakes and reservoirs under adaptation scenarios, Catalan Institute for Water Research, Spain.
  • ESR-14 : Forecasting trade-offs between the food-energy-water-environment nexus and opportunities for adaptation, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium).
  • ESR-15 : Adaptation measures based on smart nutrient management at the catchment scale for future-proof water quality, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.



inventWater ESRs come with a number of benefits:

  • A thorough scientific education in the frame of a doctoral training program, with high exposition to the non-academic sector.
  • The possibility to participate in specific international courses, workshops and conferences.
  • A full involvement in a European research project with high international visibility.
  • The possibility to perform research visits to internationally renowned research labs in Europe.
  • A prestigious three-year MSCA Fellowship.
  • A competitive salary including mobility and family allowances.


ELIGIBILITY - APPLICATIONS WILL ONLY BE CONSIDERED FOLLOWING AN ELIGIBILITY CHECK (also see individual project descriptions for individual project eligibility requirements).

  • Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. Applicants cannot apply for an ESR position hosted in a country where they have resided, worked or studied for more than 12 months in total in the 3 years immediately prior to the start of recruitment.
  • Applicants should be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctorate. This 4 year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate in the country of the host institution.
  • The successful candidate must meet host institute requirements for entry to a doctoral programme. Some of the participating institutions require a four year registration before a PhD is awarded. See project descriptions.
  • Proficiency in the English language is required, as well as good communication skills, both oral and written. Successful candidates may need to provide an English test (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge English). You may be exempt if you are a national of a majority native-English speaking country, or have qualifications / degree that has been taught and assessed in English.
  • NOTE: A full EU driving license is also essential for some individual positions.
  • Requirements for the ideal candidate and full description for each of the 15 positions can be downloaded from the links above.


Application process


Applications will only be accepted using the official application forms and following the instructions provided in the projects description available in the links above.

Eligible applications will be acknowledged and forwarded to the relevant supervisors in charge of each project. They will shortlist applicants and conduct interviews for the relevant projects. Shortlisted applicants will be informed of the outcome within ca. three weeks following interview (timelines may vary a little between beneficiaries). Successful applicants will need to prove that they are eligible in respect of the Early Stage Researcher definition, mobility criteria, any English language proficiency, and any project specific requirements.


You can apply to more than one project. For each project, follow the instructions in the relevant ESR project link.

NOTE: contact names are given for further information on each individual project on the relevant ESR Project link.


The initial deadline for applications is 17.00 CET 22nd  April 2021. However, note that the call may be reopened as a rolling call until all positions are filled.

Recruitment will be a transparent and merit-based process in accordance with the 40 principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers.

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