ICIMOD Atmosphere Initiative PhD Fellowships

Call for Proposals:

Partial PhD fellowships to work with ICIMOD scientists on improving knowledge about emissions sources, atmospheric processes, atmospheric change, and impacts in the Hindu Kush Himalaya Region.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the HKH – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative (AI) was established in January 2013 as part of the centre’s Regional Programme on Cryosphere and Atmosphere. The initiative aims to bring about effective measures and policies for reducing air pollution and its impacts within the HKH region by improving knowledge and enhancing the capacity of partners in the regional member countries. 

Over recent decades, the HKH region has been affected by rising emissions of air pollutants from urban, industrial, and rural sources. This has raised concerns about deteriorating air quality, impacts on health and visibility, changes in atmospheric heating and cooling, changes in cloud microphysics and in the strength and timing of the monsoon, increasing stratospheric pollution above the Tibetan Plateau, deposition of light absorbing substances onto snow and ice surfaces; and increasing melting of the Himalayan cryosphere.

Since its establishment, AI has been able to attract high caliber scientists to work in-house at ICIMOD and has obtained infrastructure to support its mission and vision.  ICIMOD is working with regional partners to establish numerous air quality stations/climate observatories. These facilities will not only aid air quality planners and policy makers of the regional member countries but also provide world class scientific data for new knowledge generation, and improve understanding of the atmospheric processes over HKH. ICIMOD also has state of the art computing facilities to combine regional air quality modeling with observations. In addition, ICIMOD is organizing several field campaigns to study atmospheric phenomena of regional concern such as the persistent winter fog over Indo Gangetic plains and experimental characterization of emission sources.  

The PhD position

As a regional organization, ICIMOD strives to bring regional scientists/students to work together on areas of mutual interest with the eventual goal of fostering trans-boundary collaborations in the region.  We seek high caliber PhD students to work with us in trying to understand atmospheric processes over the HKH region.  Since ICIMOD is not a degree granting institute, we seek students who are already enrolled in PhD programs. 

Research topics

ICIMOD is open to specific research questions/hypotheses within the following broad categories:

  • Trace gases measurement/modelling
  • Aerosol measurement/modelling
  • Aerosol – Cloud / Monsoon interactions
  • Regional and Urban Air Quality Modeling
  • Persistent Winter fog over Indo-Gangetic Plain
  • Emission Characterization and Inventory development
  • Air pollution Impacts on Health, Cryosphere, Agriculture and Ecosystem
  • Remote sensing technology for Atmospheric Science Research
  • Social, economic or policy aspects of air pollution mitigation

Terms and conditions 

  • Each PhD fellow needs to have an ICIMOD scientist serve officially as co-advisor, committee member or equivalent.
  • Data and knowledge products generated under this fellowship programme is subject to ICIMOD’s data policy.
  • Must be based at ICIMOD headquarters or ICIMOD designated sites during the period of fellowship.

Financial support 

  • Allowance of USD 500 per month up to a year while at ICIMOD or ICIMOD designated sites, plus reimbursement of  pre-approved expenses up to USD 2000. 
  • Travel support for the student to present work done with ICIMOD at one regional conference per year.
  • Travel support for student’s supervisor to present work done with ICIMOD at one international conference or USD 1000 conference allowance, whichever is lower. 
  • Publication fee for one open-access peer-reviewed journal paper per year to communicate work done with ICIMOD, provided that ICIMOD scientist is a co-author on the paper.
  • Travel costs for one roundtrip per year from the student’s home institution to ICIMOD.
  • Fellowship is renewable for a 2nd year subject to candidate’s performance and budget availability.


ICIMOD aims to select two thirds of the fellows from among ICIMOD member countries, and aims for half the fellows to be women.  Fellowships will be linked to the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC).

The candidate should meet the following requirements:

  • Citizen of one of the following countries: China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Myanmar; or any international student currently doing research on atmospheric science in the HKH region. 
  • Preference will be given to HUC member institutions.
  • Must be an admitted/registered PhD student. 
  • Candidates should be willing to work in an interdisciplinary team and have excellent analytical, technical and communication skills. 
  • Must be willing to be based at ICIMOD headquarters or ICIMOD designated sites during the period of fellowship.


Applications should apply online, and be sure to include:

  • Cover letter describing the motivation to apply. 
  • Preliminary proposal for research with ICIMOD (two to three pages). 
  • Curriculum Vitae, including information on education, research experience and, if applicable, list of publications. 
  • Letter of support from PhD supervisor or Head of Department.
  • Full-colour digital images of diplomas of higher education (both BSc and MSc or equivalent) and PhD admission and registration documents, certifying current status.
  • Selection and award decisions will be made by selection committee formed by ICIMOD management.
  • ICIMOD management will designate the ICIMOD scientist who will serve as the co-supervisor.

 Application deadline for the first call is 31 August  2015

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