PhD student ENGAGE 02

Context & Job description

Thesis Subject: Development of machine learning methods for data analysis of X-ray diffraction mapping applied to cultural heritage

At the ESRF, you will join a consortium of 10 European research groups (“Heritage BAG”) having shared access to beamtime for the characterisation of artistic materials. You will develop software tools based on machine learning for analysis of 2D hyperspectral X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) maps. Experiments will be regularly carried out with an X-ray micro-beam at beamline ID13, ESRF, Grenoble, but also by means of portable instruments (University of Antwerp) and the future Smart*Light instrument (TU Delft). Applications will be in the cultural heritage field, in particular for the study of historical works of art and the conservation of paintings. The main objective will be to provide the heritage community with tools for fast, efficient and quantitative crystal phase determination and mapping. Further information may be obtained from M. Cotte (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 88 21 27, email:

Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrolment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, materials science or a closely related field of science or engineering
  • A background in computational science as well as programming experience, preferably (but not exclusively) in Python, are highly desirable
  • Knowledge and experience in X-ray crystallography/powder diffraction will also be an asset
  • Interpersonal skills, ability to work with people from different areas of expertise are important
  • Proficiency in English (working language at the ESRF)
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment
  • Eligibility: Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral schools of TU Delft and Antwerp University for a period of four years. During the first three years, the candidate will be hired by the ESRF (Grenoble, France). The contract is of two years renewable (subject to satisfactory progress) for one year. The monthly gross salary will be 2339 €. During the fourth year, the candidate will be hired by University of Antwerp.

The ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity.

If you are interested in this position, please apply via the ENGAGE website (not on the ESRF website) by 21 October 2022


This PhD is co-funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND project ENGAGE (grant agreement101034267), and applicants must follow the associated rules notably regarding mobility (see In particular, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.

Company description

The European Synchrotron, the ESRF, is an international research centre based in Grenoble, France.

Through its innovative engineering, pioneering scientific vision and a strong commitment from its 700 staff members, the ESRF is recognised as one of the top research facilities worldwide. Its particle accelerator produces intense X-ray beams that are used by thousands of scientists each year for experiments in diverse fields such as biology, medicine, environmental sciences, cultural heritage, materials science, and physics.

Supported by 21 countries, the ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity.

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