Scientist (postdoc) in Earth Science

Scientist (postdoc) in Earth Science

Published Deadline Location
23 Feb 20 Aug Leiden
Are you an ambitious post-doctoral scientist with strong machine-learning skills and experience in atmospheric remote sensing and data processing? Then you are the person we are looking for!

Job description

You and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research

The satellite mission Sentinel-5 (S5) is set to launch in 2026. This mission is part of the Copernicus programme, using Earth observation to monitor the atmosphere for climate and public health interests. SRON has a co-leading responsibility in the successful TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5 precursor mission that is operational since 2018. SRON has been involved in the development of the Sentinel-5 mission from the science definition, to contributing key elements of the instrument and the data-reduction algorithms. You will work in the Level 2 team at SRON where we apply trace gas retrieval to measure concentrations of CO, CO2, and CH4 in the Earth’s atmosphere. These data products will be used further by modellers to determine emissions estimates. Such data is invaluable for climate change research, and fundamental to informing policymakers to help pave the way toward mitigation and adaptation approaches.


Your position and team

You will be part of our team of eight scientists working on trace gas retrieval in the Earth Science Group (ESG) of SRON. The ESG consists of approximately 30 scientists (permanent, postdocs, PhD students) who work on the data processing and interpretation of satellite instruments as well as the definition of new instrumentation and guiding the development. Our team develops algorithms for trace gas remote sensing, for operational data processing and validation, and gives scientific guidance during the implementation phase of future missions.


Your project

You will work on developing a CO2 data product from Sentinel-5, an innovative project that will be a unique step beyond the current state of the art set by TROPOMI . You will perform this work within our SRON team in close collaboration with our project partners, GRASP for the European Space Agency. Your tasks will include:

•       Using machine learning techniques to improve the data quality through quality filtering and correcting biases between satellite and ground-based measurements.

•       Developing a radiative transfer model to calculate absorption spectra from the atmosphere using  AI tools.

•       Using machine learning to model cloud information from synthetic satellite measurements to improve the efficiency of the retrieval workflow.

You will present your results to the project team, our external colleagues, at conferences, and in peer-reviewed journals.




Position Requirements

We are looking for a person with a PhD in (atmospheric) physics or machine learning. Very good programming skills in Python, C++ and/or Fortran are required, and experience in deep learning is a clear asset. Good English language skills (speaking and writing) and the ability to work in a team and independently are necessary for this position.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 2 year contract with option for extension.

What we offer

The position we offer at SRON is a full-time position in which you will be employed by NWO-I

(The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Institutes) for a period of 2 years. The extension of this period with another 2 years depends on external funding. The salary will be in accordance with NWO salary scale 10 with a maximum of € 5.141,– gross per month on a full-time basis (depending on your level of education and experience). Compensation for commuting expenses will be provided.

NWO has good secondary employment conditions such as:

  • An end-of-year bonus of 8,33% of the gross yearly salary;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross yearly salary;
  • 42 days of vacation leave a year on a full-time basis;
  • An excellent pension scheme;
  • Options for (additional) personal development;
  • Excellent facilities for parental leave;
  • Ample training opportunities;
  • Possibility of flexible working hours;


SRON (Netherlands institute for space reseach)


SRON's mission is to achieve breakthroughs in international scientific research from space. To this end, SRON develops groundbreaking technology and advanced space instruments. SRON promotes societal applications for space technology. We have a strong international reputation as 'excellent in space research'. The quality and societal relevance of our science is considered ‘world-leading’.


About SRON

SRON is the Netherlands Institute for Space Research. Based at locations in Leiden and Groningen, SRON combines fundamental scientific research, technology innovation, and instrumentation development to enable breakthroughs in astrophysics, exoplanet research, and earth atmospheric research from space. In partnership with leading international partners and space agencies such as ESA, NASA and JAXA, SRON provides scientific and technological contributions to international space missions as well as expertise and support to the Dutch and international scientific communities.

SRON is the national base for the Netherlands participation in the ESA science program. On the national level, it works in close collaboration with the Dutch universities, other NWO institutes, and governmental agencies to pursue a cohesive agenda for space-based research.

Additional information

Information and application

More information about SRON can be found at For further information about the content of the position, please contact Dr. J. Landgraf ( ) or Dr. A. Barr ( a.g.barr ). Applications can be submitted on our website until the position is filled.



At SRON we believe that a workforce diverse in gender, age, and cultural background is key to performing excellent research. We therefore strongly encourage qualified applicants of all ages, sexual orientations, gender expressions, members of minorities, persons with disabilities, and potential dual-academic-career hires to apply.


Online interviews may be part of the selection procedure.


Recruitment consultants, please put down the phone. We’ll do the recruitment ourselves so unsolicited acquisition of this vacancy is not appreciated.  


  • PhD; Postdoc; Research, development, innovation
  • Engineering; Natural sciences
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • 2118


Niels Bohrweg 4, 2333 CA, Leiden

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 20 Aug 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).