As part of a Research and Technology Organization (RTO), the work of the Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department tackles some of the major environmental challenges our society is facing today, such as climate change mitigation, ecosystem resilience, sustainable energy systems, the efficient use of renewable resources, and environmental pollution prevention and control. To this end, the mission of the ERIN department is:
- to conduct impact-driven scientific research and development, as well as technological innovation;
- to support companies in the implementation of new environmental regulations and advise governments on determining sustainable policies for the future, with the objectives of:
- Analysing, managing and exploiting sustainable resources (water, air, soil, renewable energy, bioresources)
- Reducing the environmental impact of human consumption and production activities
Embedded into the ERIN department’s ‘Environmental Sensing and Modelling’ (ENVISION) unit, the ‘Catchment and eco-hydrology’ (CAT) group focuses on pressing questions related to: (i) how eco-hydrosystems collect, store, mix and release water, solutes and matter, (ii) new environmental monitoring tools operating at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales and (iii) forecasting and predicting our water futures, as expressed through floods, drinking water availability, water for agriculture, or ecosystem services. A new line of research is currently developed in the field of isotope hydrology, geared towards a better understanding of the behaviour of water molecules in a lunar environment. For its Catchment & eco-hydrology research group, the ERIN department has an opening for a permanent position for a laboratory technician in hydro-chemistry and analyses of stable isotopes of O and H in water.
What you will be doing
You will be integrated into an international team (10 nationalities) of researchers, engineers, and PhD candidates. Your main missions will be to provide technical support to RDI projects and service delivery activities by carrying out technical day-to-day lab/field/computer activities based on well-defined protocols and by ensuring the proper functioning of the instruments/equipment at hand.
More specifically, you will be asked to:
- Handle water, soil and vegetation samples – covering the entire processing chain from sample reception to delivery of results. Analyses commonly include chemical parameters (pH, alkalinity, anions/cations) and stable isotopes of O and H in water. The main sample preparation techniques consist of filtration, centrifugation, acid mineralization, physical and chemical extractions, and cryodistillation. Analytical techniques mainly relate to ion chromatography, continuous flow analysis, titration, and laser spectrometry (CRDS, OA-ICOS) for stable isotope analysis of O and H in water. New techniques may be added as new projects / activities unfold.
- Implement, calibrate and ensure the good functional status of the equipment at hand for chemical and stable isotope analyses. Fix minor issues with laboratory equipment and organise external technical support in case of major equipment failures. Make regular updates on material and supplies required for a flawless operation of laboratory activities.
- Document your work in order to ensure the reproducibility of analyses and guarantee the quality and traceability of the results.
- Assist a team of scientific experts in isotope hydrology in their continuous strive for improving water extraction techniques from various substrates (e.g. soils, vegetation), as well as quality in the analyses of stable isotopes of O and H in water. More specifically, you shall contribute to build newly designed experimental set-ups and carry out innovative liquid water / water vapour / tree sap sampling protocols, for subsequent analyses of stable isotopes of O and H in water.
- Participate – when required by specific project requirements – in the preparation and implementation of field monitoring and sampling campaigns.
- Be an integral part of the life of the CAT research group, by regularly communicating on your work progress during both technical and scientific meetings. You shall interpret the results of chemical and stable isotope analyses and contribute to the crafting of analysis and/or measurement reports. An active involvement and commitment to ongoing applied and fundamental research projects is expected – with proactive contributions on technical improvements (related to e.g. sampling and/or analytical protocols) being highly valued.
- Attend trainings and seminars for learning, mastering and applying processes/protocols related to the instruments/equipment that you shall use. Along similar lines, you are expected to keep abreast of any potential updates and best practices related to the sampling and/or analytical techniques that you will be in charge of.
- Train potential users on the equipment/instruments/protocols.
- Pay great attention and respect to ‘Health & Security Environment’ protocols in force at LIST and participate actively in the general organisation of the department’s laboratories, including waste management, implementation of safety measures, contact with lab material providers, general maintenance of lab infrastructure, etc.