• PhD Organic Pollutants

Would you like to undertake a PhD developing methods based on GC-HRMS and GC-MS/MS for the analysis of emerging persistent organic pollutants?

The project: Development of a method for the analysis of polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PBDD/Fs) in emissions from high-temperature industrial processes.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are families of toxic compounds that pose a thread to the environment due to their long degradation half-lives, long range transportation ability and bioaccumulation though the trophic chain. Although some of this POPs are well known compounds included in the Stockholm Convention that have been monitored in the environment during decades -like polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans or PCDD/Fs-, there are some emerging new families that have drawn the interest of the scientific community during the last few years, such as polybrominated dibenzo-p dioxins/furans (PBDD/Fs).

PBDD/Fs are a family POPs consisting of 210 different congeners that have not yet been included in the Stockholm Convention. These compounds can be unintentionally produced during high-temperature industrial processes where organic matter and bromine are present. Although there is not as much information on these compounds compared to their chlorinated analogues, some studies suggest that PBDD/Fs might have similar physical
and chemical properties and toxicological effects as PCDD/Fs. For this reason, the main objective of the present PhD project proposal is to develop a method for the analysis of PBDD/Fs in emissions, although other environmental matrices such as water or biota (fish, vegetation) might be explored.

To achieve low detection limits in highly complex matrices, the extraction, purification, fractionation, and concentration stages of the method will have to be optimized for this suite of compounds. The instrumental analysis will be carried out according to the isotope dilution method using gas chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS) and gas chromatography coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS), where performance of the two techniques will be assessed. Profiles of PBDD/s from different emission industrial processes will be studied from a forensic perspective to determine the source of contamination in environmental samples. The final method will be validated (precision, accuracy, linearity, etc.) and prepared to be accredited by the Spanish National Accreditation Agency (Entidad Nacional de Acreditación – ENAC).


Fellowship details

  • This fellowship guarantees 3 years of competitive funding.
  • An April 2023 start will be ideal but later dates may be negotiated.
  • You’ll be part of a dynamic team at IQS Barcelona.
  • We will provide training opportunities, close supervision, and space for creativity.


Your profile

  • An MSc degree is required. The MSc and/or BSc degrees should be in Analytical Chemistry or related disciplines.
  • Previous experience in sample preparation, chromatography and/or mass spectrometry will be considered an asset.
  • Capacity to work independently and in a team, creativity, excellent written and oral communication skills, and fluency in English will be greatly valued.
  • Strong academic record will be a plus.


Applications are welcome until February 28th or until the candidate is found

Please send the following documents as a single pdf bearing your name to
rrhh@iqs.url.edu :

  • A motivation letter explaining your research experience, your main interests, and why you think you would be a good fit for this position
  • CV
  • Academic record