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Are you passionate about space resources? So are we!

The return of human and robotic exploration missions to the Moon in the near future will mark a new era of space exploration. Future missions will rely on resources found in space, for example oxygen from lunar soil, to provide consumables for refuelling, to support human life and to build the infrastructure required. The development of equipment, processes and systems to characterise, extract and use materials produced from space resources is a dynamic and exciting field. This is what we do at ESRIC.

The European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) is a joint initiative of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). ESRIC was formed in 2020 with an aim to become an internationally recognized centre of expertise for scientific, technical, business and economic aspects related to the use of space resources for human and robotic exploration, as well as for a future in-space economy.

As a new initiative, ESRIC has an ambitious vision in an evolving international environment. Being part of a growing team and contributing to building successful activities with ESRIC’s partners is common to all of ESRIC’s positions.


You’d like to contribute as a researcher? Join us!  

As part of the development of ESRIC’s research capabilities, we have received funding from the FNR (Luxembourg’s national funding agency) to build a new research team under the PEARL programme. This multimillion Euro flagship funding will support several postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in novel space resources topics. The programme, SolSR (Solutions for the Sustainable and Responsible use of Space Resources), has a strong focus on enabling technology, circular economy and environmental impact for space resource utilisation. You will join this team, developing world-leading research expertise in a supportive environment.



How will you contribute?

Many processes have been proposed to produce usable materials from the lunar soil (regolith), including extraction of oxygen using reduction or electrolysis, additive manufacturing, and construction using sintering. All of these processes will require a controlled feedstock from the excavated regolith that provides a defined particle size distribution. Separation and sorting of lunar regolith by size (beneficiation) is an area of space resources that has received relatively little attention, but that is a critical enabling technology.

In this project, you will design, test and build a continuous regolith size classification system for the Moon. The size classification system will produce at least two products (coarse and fine particle streams). Required specifications in terms of particle size, equipment size and throughput will be defined based on a review of upstream (e.g. excavation) and downstream (e.g. oxygen production by reduction) technologies. Possible systems include augers and conveyers. Limitations in terms of separation efficiency and throughput will be considered, and a trade-off analysis carried out based on the systems developed. This project will be based on laboratory testing and development, however this will be complemented by simulations using DEM to optimise the design and operating conditions. Separation efficiency will be evaluated using technique from terrestrial mineral processing (e.g. partition curves). Effects of particle type, size distribution and environmental conditions will be investigated, including testing under vacuum. Demonstrating scale-up from bench scale to large scale will be a major element of this project, including the definition of scale-up parameters. The goal of this project is to develop a system that physically separates particles by size that is suitable for continuous operation on the Moon and that can be developed as a payload.


As a PhD student within LIST, you will have the following responsibilities:

  • Follow and advance a research plan in agreement with your supervisor(s)
  • Know the state of the art on the research topic of the thesis to be undertaken
  • Manage the daily research work allowing you to deepen your knowledge of your research field
  • Contribute to the preparation of progress reports on research for funding bodies and key stakeholders as required
  • Contribute to the overall activities of the RDI group and department as required
  • Actively collaborate with other researchers (ESRIC or external) and participate in group meetings, meetings with academic and non-academic collaborators
  • Contribute to the drafting and submitting of papers to peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings
  • Contribute to the creation of intellectual property rights (patents, licences, etc.)
  • Prepare posters and presentations for conferences
  • Present your work at local, national and international meetings with guidance and prior internal review
  • Defend your thesis within the required time frame

must have requirements

Is your profile described below? Are you our future colleague? Apply now!

You hold a Master's degree in Chemical, Mechanical or Civil Engineering, Physics or Geoscience. Yous also have experience of carrying out supervised research projects, experience of working in a laboratory and experience of building or modifying experimental systems and/or computer simulations.

You have shown collaborative skills, initiative, you are results oriented, and you are to work in an interdisciplinary and multicultural environment

Finally, you have excellent command of English.

nice to have requirements

Publications and/or conference papers are considered an asset

We offer

Has this vacancy caught your interest?

Apply online

To know more about ESRIC activities: www.esric.lu

Your application must include:

  • A motivation letter oriented towards the position and detailing your experience;
  • A scientific CV with contact details;
  • List of publications (if applicable);
  • Contact details of 2 references.


Application procedure and conditions:

  • LIST is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to hiring and retaining diverse personnel. We value all applicants and will consider all competent candidates for employment without regard to national origin, race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, religion, age or disability;
  • Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled;
  • An assessment committee will review the applications and select candidates based on guidelines that aim to ensure equal opportunities; 
  • The main criteria for selection will be the correspondence of the existing skills and expertise of the applicant with the requirements mentioned above.

PhD additional conditions:

  • Supervisor at ESRIC: Dr.Kathryn Hadler
  • Work location: Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Belvaux, Luxembourg
  • PhD enrolment: University of Luxembourg, Belval, Luxembourg
  • Candidates shall be available for starting their position in autumn 2022. Please note the university fees are paid by the student (current fees are < €250 per year)



To be considered for this position it is crucial that you have knowledge of the following languages
  • Read B2 Upper intermediate
    Write B2 Upper intermediate
    Speak B2 Upper intermediate
minimum required Education
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