Sektion für Mineralogie, Petrologie & Geochemie




European project VERTIGO (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN)


European project VERTIGO (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN)

Link to the VERTIGO project page:


An EU-funded Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) will start on 1 January 2014. During the four years project duration, 13 ESRs (Early Stage Researchers) will be receiving training through research at 9 hosting institutions in collaboration with 11 associate partners. VERTIGO will be based and administered in Munich, Germany (Project Coordinator: Ulrich Kueppers).

Explosive volcanic eruptions are an unavoidable natural hazard: Volcanic ash, the ejected lethal mixture of crystals, lava, glass and older rocks, is the most far-reaching threat. In April 2010, the ash cloud from Eyjafjall volcano in Iceland, a comparatively small event, paralysed large parts of Europe for up to one week in a manner unique in history. The impact was dramatic: several million passengers were grounded due to closed air pace and decelerated or halted industrial production caused several billion Euros of estimated economic loss. This scenario was largely amplified by the quasi-Babylonian lack of understanding and interaction amongst volcanologists, meteorologists, atmospheric researchers, engineers, private sector and politics.
This eruption was not a singular “accident”: Europe has active volcanoes and is surrounded by others and must be prepared for similar future events. This requires a comprehensive and supradisciplinary approach to allow for an encompassing mechanistic and quantitative understanding of the physico-chemical processes during the lifecycle of volcanic ash: from formation in a volcano, through changes during the dispersal in the atmosphere to the impacts on life and society.
VERTIGO will address this challenging issue with a unique and innovative portfolio of partners from academia, research institutes and the private sector from eight European countries. We will offer an outstanding platform for research and training for highly-skilled students with a background in geology/volcanology, petrology/chemistry, informatics, biology, toxicology, fluid dynamics and/or engineering. The research-through-training projects for 13 students accomplish the EUROPE2020 strategy for a modern system of education. They will be educated in scientific and transferable skills, spiced with experience in private sector applications, to qualify for career opportunities in academia, research institutes, civil protection and private sector.

Full partners:

  1. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, GERMANY (3 ESRs)
    [Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU)]
  2. Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, GERMANY (1 ESR)
    [Johannes Gutenberg University]
  3. Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Bologna, Catania, Rome, ITALY (2 ESRs)
    [Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology]
  4. Université Catholique de Louvain, BELGIUM (1 ESR)
    [Catholic University of Louvain]
  5. Norsk Institutt for Luftforskning, Oslo, NORWAY (1 ESR)
    [Norwegian Institute for Air Research]
  6. University of Durham, Durham, UNITED KINGDOM (1 ESR)
  7. Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus, DENMARK (1 ESR)
    [Aarhus University]
  8. Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, ITALY (2 ESRs)
    [University of Perugia]
  9. Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Oberpfaffenhofen, GERMANY (1 ESR)
    [German Aerospace Center]

Associate Partners:

  1. Lufthansa GmbH, Frankfurt, GERMANY
  2. Schott AG, Mainz, GERMANY
  3. Université de Genève, Geneva, SWITZERLAND
  4. Dipartimento Protezione Civile, Rome, ITALY
  6. Glatt Ingenieurtechnik GmbH, Weimar, GERMANY
  8. Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, SWITZERLAND
  9. Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, GERMANY
  10. Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Montserrat, BRITISH WEST INDIES
  11. Office National D’Études et de Recherches Aérospatiales, Châtillon, FRANCE

The objective of VERTIGO is “to improve career perspectives of ESRs in both public and private sectors, thus adding to their intersectoral employability”. With training-through-research projects on open questions related to volcanic ash we will equip the next generation of European researchers with an innovative, multidisciplinary background for careers in academia, applied research, private sector and risk mitigation entities. The VERTIGO Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will be trained in the physical processes during explosive eruptions, the physico-chemical processes in the eruption plume and the atmosphere, numerical approaches to understand volcanic processes and identify the impact of volcanic ash on various aspects of today’s and future life. Additionally, ESRs will gain insights into how the private sector or other potential future employers (e.g., volcano observatories, civil protection, volcanic ash advisory centres) respond to volcanic ash related questions.
The VERTIGO ESRs will work in close collaboration with each other but will also interact strongly with ESRs and Experienced Researchers in ongoing European projects, as e.g. MED-SUV, MeMoVolc, NEMOH, VUELCO.

The 13 ESR projects:(All projects have a main supervisor and a co-supervisor at another partner institution. All ESRs will perform part of their training during secondments at two or more partners.)

  1. The causes and consequences of volcanic ash aggregation
  2. A new look into explosive volcanic eruptions: integrated shock-tube experiments, field- and laboratory-based high-speed imaging and textural characterisation of pyroclasts.
  3. Airline companies and volcanic eruptions: Approaches to better combine information from different research disciplines (atmospheric measurements, modelling, engineering).
  4. Volcanic ash production during long lasting obsidian lava eruptions.
  5. Modelling aggregation of ash particles in volcanic plumes and the effect on ash cloud dispersion.
  6. Field-based study of volcanic ash via visible and thermal high-speed imaging of explosive eruptions.
  7. Impact of volcanic ash deposits on soil.
  8. Empirical constraints on aero-engine components tolerance following ingestion of volcanic ash.
  9. Environmental and anthropogenic factors affecting the respiratory toxicity of volcanic ash.
  10. Laboratory simulations of gas-pyroclast flows: Investigating the effect of particle concentration, electrification, aggregation and re-entrainment in a recirculating wind tunnel.
  11. Numerical modelling and fractal analysis of magma fragmentation based on grain-size distributions of natural pyroclastic deposits.
  12. High-resolution geochemical mapping of volcanic ash: constraining the effect of syneruptive magma mixing on eruptive style and ash distribution.
  13. Derivation of volcanic ash mass concentration from in-situ and groundbased aerosol measurements.

The VERTIGO homepage will go online in fall 2013. All positions will be advertised officially in early 2014 on, the VERTIGO homepage as well as locally at the hosting institutes. All positions are funded for 36 months. Employment requirements:

  • “Scientific age”: Early-Stage Researchers must (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 not yet have a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is envisaged.
  • Mobility: at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. As far as international European interest organisations or international organisations are concerned, this rule does not apply to the hosting of eligible researchers. However, the appointed researcher must not have spent more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment at the host organisation.
  • The recruitment of each individual Early-Stage Researcher will be supported for a minimum of 3 months and up to a maximum of 3 years. - Good written and oral knowledge of English BEFORE starting the contract (TOEFL test or equivalent required)

For further information:
VERTIGO Project Coordinator
Ulrich Kueppers
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Theresienstr. 41/III
80333 Munich